4 Ways to Meet Your Goals in 2013

December is usually when we look back on all we’ve accomplished during the year. More so, it’s the time of year where we feel a pang for all that we wished to accomplish and didn’t.

December is usually when we look back on all we’ve accomplished during the year. More so, it’s the time of year where we feel a pang for all that we wished to accomplish and didn’t. We feel guilty and disappointed about falling short of what we set out to achieve, or, even when we are successful, we wonder what else we could have done if we had set better goals. “I need more time!” we often lament.

Do you need more time—or do you need better methods of setting goals? Because really, it’s all about how you use your time.

The following tips are ones I’ve used—with great success—for myself and when coaching Fortune 500 executives.

The 4 Ways to Meet Your Goals in 2013

ONE: Clarify the goal in measurable terms. If it can be measured, it can be achieved. How can you specify your goal in specific and quantifiable terms? Weight loss is the perfect example of this: Choose how much you want to weigh. Weigh yourself every day. Write it down. Track your progress.

Two years ago I set a goal: I want to reach one million people by 2015. After every speaking engagement, coaching assignment, and program delivery I complete or attend, I jot down the number of attendees. It helps me track my goal, accept larger volume opportunities, and stay focused on contributing to as many people as possible each year.

TWO: Set a deadline. Whatever you set out to do, set a deadline, no matter what it is. What do you want to accomplish by the end of January? Or the end of the first quarter (typically March 31st)? By mid 2013? Think ahead and set a deadline.

You may be thinking about a goal that’s big—really big. Dial it back and ask: What can I reasonably accomplish in a month to move closer to my goal?

If you want to save up ten thousand dollars to take a trip to Europe, how much could you have automatically withdrawn from your bank account into a money market each month? If you save $416 a month every month this year, you would have the money you need in two years. Set a deadline: Each week I need to save $100. Save the amount needed by December 2015.

THREE: Gain accountability. Tell others! Tell as many people who can tolerate you talking about your goals as you can. If you want to join a professional board this year, talk about it. When people ask, “What’s new?” answer, “I’m interested in joining a board this year.” Put it out there. More often than not, you’ll get a call a short time later—months, or even weeks, where someone says, “Weren’t you telling me you wanted to join a board? A friend of mine is looking to add new members to their new venture this year…”

Gain accountability by inviting others into your world so they can assist you.

Several years ago my sister wanted to run the New York City marathon. I agreed to do it with her. The next day I told anyone who would listen, “I am running the NYC Marathon this year.”

“Really?” they asked with excitement. “How’s training going?”

I laughed and said, “It begins tomorrow!” I knew they would ask about training, about the experience of the marathon itself, what my time was, etc. Telling others helps us to be accountable and gets us out of bed to do what we say we want to do.

FOUR: Most of all, have purpose. The biggest challenge people have when setting goals for the New Year, or any other time of year, is that they lack purpose.

Why do you want to achieve the goal? Often, the goal is often a “should” rather than a deep-seated desire to accomplish something meaningful. I should lose weight isn’t going to motivate you as much as I really want to learn how to speak a new language to communicate with others.

So, list your goals, and then write the purpose next to them. If there are any ‘shoulds’ next to them, cross them out!

Here’s to making 2013 the best year of your life.

Shannon Cassidy is the founder and CEO of bridge between inc., a professional services firm specializing in executive coaching, program facilitation and keynote speaking. Her latest book, The Five Degree Principle: How Small Changes Lead to Big Results (January 2013), illustrates how incremental changes in attitudes and shift of focus can ultimately lead to empowerment and career success.

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