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New Year, New Goals 2014!


I haven't posted anything for ages, mainly owing to work and life, so thought I'd kick-start my blogging for 2014 with a New Year goal-setting post!  I posted this one last year, but it still has some good mileage in it, so blew the dust off and re-hashed it a bit!

Most of us have probably set New Year goals in the past, but how often have we not seen them through?  Most times, just a shift in focus can make all the difference in achieving what you set-out to do.  This short article explains how to refocus towards what you want to achieve, not what you don't want.

So, a new year dawns and we all make the pledge to make it better than the previous one, to avoid making the mistakes we made, to go on that diet or join a gym so we don’t put on more weight like last year, to not neglect our CPD.

If you read the previous paragraph again, you’ll notice a common theme running through it – it’s all about avoidance, or moving ‘away from’ what we did before.  All the best intentions are there, but notice how the focus is on not doing something – making the same mistakes, putting on more weight, neglecting our CPD.

This where people can often fail in achieving their goals –they are more focussed on avoiding something they don’t want to happen, than on what it is they do want to happen!  Of course, we do need to have clear and specific goals in place, but the right focus acts as the enabler to these (make sure your goals are SMART goals!).

To be successful in achieving those New Year resolutions, start by shifting your focus towards what you do want to achieve, not on what you want to avoid. Re-focussing from ‘away from’ to ‘towards’ changes the opening paragraph examples radically:

Away from:

Avoid making the same mistakes

Diet or join gym

Neglecting CPD


Successful project delivery

Feeling & looking fit, more energy, motivated

Increasing knowledge or skill-sets

Notice how just by shifting focus, our goals become clearer, more outcome-oriented?

Now let’s do some critical reflection of these goals, and ask ourselves what deeper outcomes or benefits could they provide – for instance:


Avoid making the same mistakes

Diet or join gym

Neglecting CPD

Deeper Outcome / Benefit (the 'effect effect')

Intrinsic satisfaction / peace of mind

Long-term health and well-being

Career progression or alternate skill-set

Notice how the original outcomes have now gained much more depth and substance?  Not only will this simple exercise often produce extra benefits you may have missed, but the additional benefits also act as great motivators – all of a sudden there’s more at stake!

So, to ensure greater success and consistency in goal outcomes this year:

1.    Quickly jot down your New Year goals.

2.    Now look again, but think ‘towards’, not ‘away from’ – revise goals accordingly.

3.    Critically reflect on the revised goals to consider deeper benefits.

4.    Take action!

Print-out your goals and stick them on your fridge or office wall, turn them into a screen-saver, or record them as an MP3 and listen to them on the commute to work every day.

“Goals that are not in writing are not goals at all. They are merely wishes or fantasies.”

Brian Tracey

But all goal-setting requires one key component - action!  As Harry S Truman said, "Imperfect action is better than perfect in-action."

So whatever you do, do something!

Have a great New Year!


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