How to Set Annual Goals you WILL Achieve

Annual goals are a great way to realign your business and personal life every 12 months, and this time of year is the perfect occasion to get you back on track for the achievement that you seek. When done correctly, your annual goals will become the directional compass for your year, trickling down to your monthly plans and daily actions. At the beginning of each new year, you need to set specific, realistic, annual goals which will always be derived from your vision and dreams.

So where do you start? Review your vision statement and dream list.

If you have never taken the time to draft a dream list or really convey your vision, it is imperative that you take the time to do this. Think of it as a fun, creative exercise where there are no limits. Use your imagination! Think of things that you have wanted to have, wanted to do, or wanted to be. I have kept an updated dream list since 1979. Some may think this is a silly exercise, but we attract to ourselves that which we see for ourselves.

After you have completed or revised your dream list, you can move on to your vision statement. This statement should describe in detail a day in your ideal future 5-10 years from today as if it has already been achieved. You should be somewhat realistic, but be wary of limiting your potential. Ideally, your vision statement should be no more than one page long and should evoke strong emotion when you read it. There is something about building your vision statement into a description of a day in your life that brings your vision to life with all the sights, sounds and feelings of reality.

Once you have your dream list and vision statement, you are ready to begin crafting your annual goals. Begin by asking yourself, “What specific goals can I achieve this year that will move me closer to my vision and dreams?” Keep in mind that your annual goals should be

A)   Specific,

B)    Measurable,

C)    Attainable,

D)   Realistic,

E)    Tangible, and

F)    Include a target date for completion.

I recommend that you limit your goals to 1 to 5 big annual goals. The reason I suggest a limit is that the process will require a plan of action for each goal, and the tracking process required is quite involved. Too many goals will distract your focus from the achievement of the most important goals.

Once you have set the goals you want to pursue and decided on your top goals, it is time to put an action plan together. The action plan is the lifeblood of goal setting, for a goal without an action plan is merely a wish! The first part of your action plan is to write out any benefits or losses that you anticipate from the achievement of your goals. Next, write out any obstacles you might face, as well as the solutions to those obstacles. Now you are ready for specific action steps.

For each top annual goal that you have set for yourself, write down the separate action steps necessary to accomplish that goal, making sure that each action step is specific – not vague. Each action step must have a target date for its completion, and the target date for each action step must be recorded in the appropriate monthly calendar. This assures that the action steps transfer to your monthly plans. In the same way, your daily actions should support your monthly plans, thereby bringing you closer to your goals, dreams, and vision for yourself each and every day! You will transform from being a mere goal setter into someone who, through the fulfillment of specific annual goals, has become a master goal achiever.