2021 is almost here. Plan ahead and focus on your goals for the new year ahead.
Determining your wants, needs, and areas of improvement (whether personally or professionally) are imperative to making the new year as fruitful and rewarding as possible. In fact, Harvard studies show that those who establish their goals are 14% more successful than those who do not.
So, if you’ve got plenty of ambitions for the new year, below are ways to actively stick to and accomplish them – starting with the “SMART” method.
What are “SMART” goals?
Establishing “SMART” goals provides you with greater clarity and incentive in achieving them. Using this method gives an accurate, measurable overview of your objectives – and the time and resources you’ll need for success. The tool is used for both personal and business goals alike, helping you develop strategic, actionable plans.
“SMART” stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Your goals are evaluated under each metric to determine your desired outcome, your limits, and their big-picture relevance.
- Specific goals are necessary to keep you focused on the when, what, how, and why of your objectives. These details outline any other people involved, what you hope to attain, and the required steps towards success.
- Measurable goals help keep track of your progress and whether you’re meeting your scheduled requirements.
- Achievable goals determine the feasibility of your objectives. Are you able to realistically achieve them with the timeframe, budget, and resources you currently have?
- Relevant goals fall in line with your values and long-term plans. This helps you decide whether your goals are truly worth pursuing in the current time.
- Timely goals are those with an achievable completion. Without setting reasonable deadlines for yourself, it can be hard to stay on track. End dates are thus mandatory to keep you accountable.
Once you’ve assessed your goals, it helps to write them down. Studies show that those who do are 42% more likely to complete them.
With mid-January fast approaching, be sure you’ve got your “SMART” goals down for these key areas in your life.
Setting your career goals
The average person spends over 90,000 hours of their lifetime at work – making it a mandatory avenue for goal-setting.
To start planning for your future career progression, your first step is to assess your satisfaction in your current role. This helps you come to terms with your job-related wants, needs, and whether your current position engages or rewards you sufficiently.
Whether you decide to keep to your job or seek out a new one, determine what you hope to achieve from your career in the year ahead. Is it to make more money? To seek out a better work-life balance? Perhaps you’d like to actively strive for that promotion, or pursue a long-time passion.
Whatever they may be, take note of these desires, and discern their attainability (turning them into achievable goals). Of course, try and challenge yourself by taking on professional tasks and projects that, while out of your comfort zone, are more than doable.
It can also help to keep updated on trends in your industry. Online web journals, newsletters, blogs, and other forms of digital (or physical) publications help you stay informed on your field with the latest developments and opportunities. You may even benefit out of attending events – such as networking parties or conferences – to connect and learn from other like-minded professionals.
Additionally, find ways of “future-proofing” your career path; preparing for technological advancements and obsoletion of specific roles. Over the next 30 years, automation is set to affect every job in Australia, so if you need to upskill – look to how you can relevantly incorporate this into your career plans.
Setting your financial goals
Determining your budgetary needs, limits, and spending patterns will help you set accurate and attainable financial goals – making money a smooth sail for the year ahead.
In no particular order, be sure to address the following: credit, taxes, savings, and debt.
If you’re an avid credit card user, check up on your credit score and the factors affecting it. If it’s lower than expected, establish steps to improve it – such as paying off your bills on time (and not just credit card bills, but rent, utilities, your phone bill, etc.) and keeping your credit card balance low.
You’ll also benefit from getting your taxes done early, rather than waiting until the last month (or week!) to get your required documents together. Make tax time a less strenuous experience by routinely organising all the necessary records for when the season rolls around.
For predicted expenses in the months ahead, set yourself a budget and a savings goal. An accurate, detailed budget can help you monitor where your money goes – whether its necessities, recreational activities, savings, or investments. Once that’s established, you can then set a measurable, achievable goal for the amount you’d like to save per month, or by the end of the year.
Finally, take time to examine your debts and work towards paying them off. Bad debts such as those involving credit cards or personal loans can obstruct and future financial goals – thus, the earlier they’re off the table, the better.
These same principles apply as a business owner. If you’re running a company, be sure to check up on your Profit and Loss (P&L) statements to gain an overview of expenses made, profits earned, and how to better manage your overall budget.
Then, forecast your profits for 2021 – creating sales and expense targets to aim for. This helps you make clearer, more accurate financial decisions; making room for any necessary costs (such as new recruits) and maintaining sales quotas to ensure monthly growth.
Setting your personal goals
Lastly, be sure to focus on your personal life – and your health, relationship, and growth-related needs.
Examine your current lifestyle and any room for improvement. Have you fallen into any bad habits, mentally and/or physically? What are your current health statistics? Be sure to outline these and how they affect your relationships or every day tasks; creating goals for positive change if necessary.
Pay attention to the current state of your relationships – whether with friends, romantic partners, family, or professional contacts. Perhaps its time to reconnect with a distant family member or colleague, to establish new traditions, or to practice a little more daily gratitude. You may even wish to plan to grand holiday getaway, and rekindle that spark with a long-time spouse or partner.
With professional relationships, you may benefit out of offering to help more – such as providing your knowledge or talents when necessary, or connecting your contacts with others who may value their expertise.
Personal development will likely play a key role in your goals, so take time to establish any new skills you hope to learn or master. These may be for recreational reasons or to benefit your current job; whichever the case, research on the activities, workshops, or courses available to successfully upskill in your desired field(s).
Upskilling has become a staple trend among two-thirds of Australian employees (particularly among the millennial generation), with numerous registered training organisations (RTOs) offering quality, nationally-recognised training in the industry areas of your choice.
Level up for the new year!
Having clear-cut goals sets you down a steady, smoother road to success – and what better way to kick off the new decade than by levelling up your career, relationships, and financial position?
As mentioned, personal development is a likely staple in anyone’s 2021 goals, with plenty looking to upskill in their current industry (or step foot in a new one).
For current IT employees and curious tech-heads alike, The Australian Institute of ICT (AIICT) offers nationally-recognised courses to enhance your knowledge and practical skills in the world of information technology. Explore skills in website development, cyber security, or general ICT training – future-proofing your career and equipping yourself with modern skills for a flourishing role in the industry. Each course is delivered 100% online, helping you study according to your personal needs and schedule.
Build on your skills for the digital future, and enquire with us on a course today.