It’s that time of the year again.
The new year is upon us, which means we have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves all over again. People who set clear goals are the ones that have the best shot at achieving them. But clear goals are not enough.
We also need to set the right goals. In this case, we want to set goals that will have the most impact and benefit to our lives.
Before we introduce some goals you should commit to next year, let’s discuss the SMART way of setting goals.
How to achieve your goals by setting SMART goals
The reason why SMART goals are so “smart” is because you have the combination of 3 components that will give you the highest chance of achieving your goals: vision/purpose, action, and a deadline.
Let’s go over how to use each of these letters to help you set more powerful goals.
A specific goal will usually answer the five ‘W’ questions:
- What: What do I want to accomplish?
- Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
- Who: Who is involved?
- Where: Identify a location.
- Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
- Indicators should be quantifiable
An achievable goal will usually answer the question How?
- How can the goal be accomplished?
- How realistic is the goal based on other constraints?
A relevant goal can answer yes to these questions:
- Does this seem worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this match our other efforts/needs?
- Are you the right person?
- Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?
A time-bound goal will usually answer the question
- What can I do six months from now?
- What can I do six weeks from now?
- What can I do today?
For example, if you want to set a goal to learn Spanish:
Bad goal: I want to become fluent in Spanish so I can travel to Spain by next year.
Good goal: I want to become conversation fluent in Spanish so I can travel to Spain by next summer.
Great goal: I will have a 30-minute conversation in Spanish with a native Spanish person over coffee in a cafe in Madrid on July 2016.
Do you notice the difference?
Compared to the first two goals, the great goal is written as if it’s already accomplished (I want vs I will), and includes all the components of the goal-setting formula including deadline, measurability, visually specific, and results oriented.
Now let’s go over some powerful goals you can commit to in 2016.
5 Goals You Should Commit to in 2016
1. Travel somewhere that makes you uncomfortable
Traveling itself can expand your mind, but traveling somewhere that makes you uncomfortable can change your life.
Where in the world can you go that you’ve never been before?
When I travelled to South America this year, I knew zero Spanish, zero people, and zero idea on how I was going to get around. But that experience fundamentally shifted the way I looked at the world. From witnessing some of the poorest people on the planet to building a deep relationship with people I would never have had the opportunity to connect with, these are experiences that will transform the way I make decisions for the rest of my life.
It’s part of the reason why we created the 1% program at Rype, where we donate 1% of what we make and 1% of our time to organizations like Pencils of Promise, who are building hundreds of schools in developing nations for children in need.
The surprising realization of all this is that we often underestimate our capabilities and what we have the potential to overcome, so as scary as it may be to some of us to travel alone to a place like Colombia or Peru, it’s not nearly as bad as we think.
2. Learn a new instrument
Learning a new instrument like guitar can not only help de-stress you, but it’s a great way to improve your mental capabilities as well.
With a little bit of dedication and persistency, there are dozens amazing place to learn an instrument at the comfort of your home, such as browsing around Youtube Music. Or you could find a local teacher in your city, which could be a more intimate learning experience when it comes to music.
If you’re not sure which instrument you should learn, check out this article.
3. Learn a new language
Of course, we have to advocate learning a new language. We’ve written extensively about the benefits of learning a new language, what are the most effective ways to learn, and where to learn a new language, so we won’t repeat them here.
However, there’s no better time to start than the beginning of the new year.
The first step is discovering which language you should learn (if you haven’t already). While we don’t want to set up any limitations, we want you to learn a new language for the right reason, because a weak one will make it easy to quit early on.
Here are some weak reasons to learn a new language:
a. Most number of speakers
When you pick a language for the sake of being able to speak to as many people in the world, this is not a good reason. The reason is, with nearly every language, you’re going to be able to find enough speakers wherever you go.
Let’s say you want to learn Mandarin with over 1 billion speakers around the world, there’s no real benefit of learning Mandarin because of this reason since you will never engage in a personal conversation with 1 billion people in your lifetime.
b. Best for your CV/Resume
Most jobs won’t require you to know another language, so unless you’re planning to join a company specifically for the sake of using a target language, then it’s likely not going to make a big difference.
Yes, it is better to learn Spanish, German, or Mandarin if you have the desire to eventually do business internationally, but is one better than the other? Not really.
c. The one you learned in elementary or high school
You may have some knowledge embedded in your memory from your younger days, but this shouldn’t limit you from making the decision to learn another language. Let’s say you learned French in school.
It doesn’t mean that re-learning this language will be much easier than picking up Spanish or Italian.
Learn what you plan to use
As Benny Lewis, from Fluentin3months says, “Spending all your time with books or courses may help a little, but unless you are willing to make mistakes in front of people you won’t get far on improving your spoken abilities.”
This means that your plan to use the language shouldn’t be too far away. We personally recommend anything below 4-6 months.
Do you have a family member that speaks Spanish? Or are you going to be travelling to France this summer in a few months?
Unless you use it, you’re certain to lose it!
4. Get your health in order
Your health is your wealth. Taking care of your health will not only improve your physical body, but your mental agility as well.
Like any new habit, we recommend starting small and finding something to keep you accountable.
A few examples for fitness could be enrolling into a gym membership, finding a trainer, or joining a kickboxing class. This way there’s something you’ve committed to and you’re much more likely to stick with it.
As for nutrition, you could make the commitment to only drink 1 cup of coffee per day or cutting caffeine completely. Or as simple as the decision to wake up earlier to eat a healthy breakfast each morning. You’ll be surprised how many people miss this step!
5. Spend more time with your loved ones
There’s nothing that can replace the time we have with our loved ones, whether that’s your children, spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend, or your close friends. Yes, we can decide to squeeze in more hours of work on the weekends, but is it worth it?
From history the biggest regret that people have before they die is not that they could have been more productive in their careers, but that they didn’t get to spend enough time with the people they love. This applies whether you’re 17 years old or 50 years old reading this.
We hope that 2016 is a year full of growth, learning, and love.
Share your thoughts
What is a goal you have for 2016?
Do you agree or disagree with some of the goals we suggested?
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