The last 2 years have been tumultuous to say the least. You’ve probably heard the saying “we’re all in the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat!” While some of us are in sturdy ocean liners others have been bobbing up and down in a tinny! Whatever your experience during the pandemic, my guess is that you’re looking forward to a new year and perhaps a new you? Perhaps during lockdown you’ve discovered things about yourself you never knew before - a love of baking or how much spending quality time with family was missing from your busy work schedule? Maybe you have a renewed sense of doing things differently in 2022?
And at this time of year, many of us are considering New Year’s Resolutions so it’s a perfect time to consider positive changes you’d like to create or perhaps maintain? Whilst not everyone is a fan of goals, decades of scientific research tells us that setting goals, whether they are personal or work related is an extremely effective way of energising ourselves and helping us achieve what we want in life. However, while many of us have good intentions at the start of the year, we often lack follow through - hence the high fail rate on New Year’s Resolutions!
What are Goals?
Goals are technically defined as “the internal representations of desired end states”.In simpler terms that means goals are our dreams and desires for the future. So we all have goals! It’s just whether we make them explicit or not. Do you write down your goals and share your goals with others? Personally, I love to set specific goals at the beginning of every year, or at the start of every project but I also know many people have broader intentions for being their best selves or living their best lives.
What does the research say?
Decades of research tells us that goals that are SMART have a greater chance of success. That means they’re specific (rather than vague), measurable (how are we going to track our progress), authentic (they’re your goals not anyone else's!), realistic (they can be achieved within a set time frame) and time-limited (we work best to deadlines)!
Research has also found that not all goals are equal! This highlights the important role of the “A” in SMART goals.When goals are authentic, that means goals that we have freely chosen and are pursuing because they’re important to us or fun, we’re more likely to achieve them and we’re more likely to experience wellbeing as an outcome! So when it comes to your New Year’s Resolutions or annual goal setting at work, be sure to use the SMART acronym to set you and your business up for success.
Dr Suzy’s Top Tips for Great Goals
Create authentic goals aligned to your personal values. Most businesses invest time in developing their values, vision and mission but have you done that for yourself or your family? If you’re not clear on your values (the why of your goal), then doing so becomes a priority before you even consider setting a goal! There are plenty of free downloadable values lists on the web or email us for our own list (or consider purchasing a pack of our values cards – firstname.lastname@example.org).Then ensure your goals are aligned to your values and remind yourself regularly of both the what (the goal itself) and the why (the value that’s motivating you to pursue it).
Create Implementation Intentions. Research on “implementation intentions” has found that when we’re specific about how we’re going to pursue our goals, we’re more likely to achieve them. For example, if you’re working on increasing your levels of delegation or improving your teamwork skills, you’ll need to identify what specific situations you’re going to do this in (the what and where). It can also be helpful and powerful to consider engaging a coach to help you stick to your goals. A professional coach is considered a perk in small businesses but in my opinion well worth the investment.
Engage in “If/Then Thinking”. If/Then thinking is a proven scientific strategy to help people accomplish their goals. It’s a proactive approach to identifying potential obstacles to goal success and then planning in advance how you’ll handle those obstacles eg “If [obstacle], then I will [effective action].” This formula ensures that your plan is directly linked to the obstacle. Once you create a plan, you should repeat it aloud and imagine it vividly.
While these strategies are a great start to the new year and a new you, there’s plenty more psychological strategies that can be applied to help you become the best version of yourself and help your business flourish.Have you noticed how it seems every show you watch on Netflix lately has a psychologist featured - eg. Billions?I do hope you’re able to use the tips above and I look forward to sharing more with you in 2022. If you’d like to learn more go to www.thepositivityinstitute.com.au and check out our digital workplace wellbeing program POTENTIAL+ (discounts available if you mention ROUSSOS Recruitment).