I believe that effective Goal Setting is THE KEY to achieving my/your/our dreams.
As we come to the end of 2017… I am personally doing my goal setting to find more effective ways to prepare for 2018. This blog is my way to share that process. It is adapted from a collection of recent Facebook posts where I explored ideas that sometimes get overlooked in setting strong and achievable goals. Of course, I focus on helping people who are buying and selling homes, but you can apply these steps in any area of your life!
IDEA 1: LOOK BACK
First step in setting new goals is to look back to 2017 to see what you accomplished. Take some time in this part of the exercise, because I bet you accomplished more than you think at first pass. It’s so easy to see what we did not accomplish that sometimes we don’t give ourselves credit for what we get done Write your accomplishments down and allow yourself to celebrate those milestones, if only for a minute. We seldom take time in our busy worlds to celebrate the victories. If others were involved, send them an email, or better yet a handwritten note to celebrate your shared WIN!
Then, to set next year’s goals, take some time to look at what you didn’t accomplish that you wish you had, and unpack and explore why it did not happen. Was the goal too big, too vague or something out of your control? Was it based on something you are ambivalent about doing – weight loss or saving money? Or perhaps something bigger, like selling or buying a house? To start to formulate the stronger and more achievable goals for next year, talk to family or friends, or write out what you didn’t accomplish and why. It will help you get a clearer idea of what is holding you back so you don’t repeat the same mistakes next year. And be sure that the goals are specific enough – like “pay off the VISA card” – not just “get out of debt.”
IDEA 2: EXPLORE WHAT HAS CHANGED? WHAT HAS NOT?
1) What has changed? And, what has not? and…
2) What can we control – and what can’t we control?
An example: let’s say I wanted to sell my house in 2017, but other things came up and I did not end up doing it. Before I set my goal to sell the house in 2018, it’s important to look at what has changed.
- What is happening in the market in my local area?
- Is the yard overgrown, did the oven stop working, or did the roof start leaking?
- Is a new highway planned that will bring construction and disrupt traffic during the spring?
- Or, is there a new Wegmans going in up the street?
The second set of questions help me clearly understanding which of the situations I have control to change. I can’t control the market or the county’s roadwork plans, but I can do the repairs and upkeep to my home and property to ensure that they are in top shape and ready to sell. I can get a part time job to pay off the credit cards and save more money for a down payment.Be sure you have great information and support. Some people wait to call in a Realtor until it’s time for the sign to go up. I recommend calling months ahead and work together to develop strategies for dealing with the market conditions, the property’s condition, and identify lenders who can get the best rates and financing products for your personal situation. Working together gives you more information and control in a stressful situation.
IDEA 3: ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
For me, when setting and achieving goals, very important elements are THE QUESTIONS you keep asking yourself. If you ask the same old questions, you will get the same old answers and keep going the same old places!!
I developed the following Three Can Do Questions over several years, and shared them when I wrote my first book, The Can Do Chronicles in 2013. These questions have guided me on paths to places I could never have imagined!
The questions are:
1. What can I do? – this keeps the energy focused on the positive and what can happen, and off the negative and what is, or could be, going wrong
2. If not that, then what else can I do? – it keeps the positive juices flowing, and sets up for Plans B, C and Z, whether they are needed or not
3. And, just because I can, do I? – not everything possible is practical, healthy or a good idea; sometimes the timing is not quite right or there needs to be one more piece in place (or taken out) before it is time to move a project forward
My Three Can Do Questions are designed to keep people focused on the goal, and increase curiosity and creativity in decision-making at all levels. They can be used to make BIG decisions, such as selling or buying a house, or more mundane decisions, like what mover to use or whether to update one of your bathrooms.
One of the great things is that when I have used them consistently, these question help promote robust brainstorming that generates new ideas so my decision making becomes so much easier. I use the questions not just when it’s time to make big life decisions either.
As 2017 comes to an end, I hope they provide a handy tool to set your goals for 2018.
IDEA 4: TAKE INCREMENTAL STEPS – STARTING NOW!!
One of the things that people so often do in setting “new year’s resolutions” is only look at big goals. If you are thinking of selling your house, you might say, “I am going to totally clean out the basement”. If you want to buy: “I am going to pay off all my credit card debt”.
Then in week 3 or month 3, when it is clear that they are not on the path to achieving these big goals, the goals get dropped. “Next year.” “Too much stress right now to make that big a change.” “It’s not that big a problem.” Our rationales for not meeting the goals help us put them aside.
Human nature lends itself to the status quo – the technical term is homeostasis. That is why change is so difficult – it pulls us out of our comfort zone. Small, consistent steps and efforts are what help us get to that bigger goal!
One way to achieve a goal is to set it so it is measured incrementally. Instead of “I am going to pay off all my credit card debt,” say “I will pay off $200 per month.” Then you can see in month three whether your goal is realistic: are you meeting it consistently? Will you do better if you reduce it to $150 – OR – can you do better and increase it to $250?
Same with decluttering: make the process more bite-sized. Can I sort through items for 2 hours three times a week? If that works, then you can increase the hours, or keep going at the pace that has been successful. If not and you know you need to get it done, maybe you can get someone to help you so that you can achieve your goal. (P.S. I know several folks who are excellent!)
Smaller, more incremental approaches help us get where we want to go – AND make us feel so much better about ourselves. That’s a real WIN-WIN!
One last IDEA: Since you don’t have to do it all at once, don’t wait for 2018.
Get a head start today! It will put you ahead of the game on January 1st!
P.S. My mission is to help people reach their goals and achieve their dreams. If you are thinking of buying or selling, or know someone who is, please let me know. I would love to help.