The New Year brings with it a bag of mixed emotions. Excitement, anticipation, renewal, ambition, and revived energy to name a few. But many of us also experience some negative emotions as we enter the New Year. We may feel trepidation as we don’t know what awaits us; regret that we didn’t do more last year; overwhelmed as we get back into the work and school routine; or worry that we won’t make any real progress in 2016.
I admit that some of those negative thoughts have crossed my mind and I’ve had to talk my way out of them. I received a little help when I came across the inspiring lyrics of the song The Best Is Yet To Come, made famous by Frank Sinatra:
You think you’ve seen the sun, but you ain’t seen it shine
Wait till the warm-up’s underway
And wait till you see that sunshine day
You ain’t seen nothin’ yet
The best is yet to come
My message to you (and myself) is simple: if you are a leader of others, you must first lead yourself. That starts with having an optimistic view of the future. Worrying about the future won’t do you the slightest bit of good. Just plan for it the best you can and good things will come your way.
Planning for the future involves visualizing what you want to accomplish by the end of 2016 and making some goals to help you achieve your positive vision of the future. Here are a few tips to help you set effective goals:
- Make sure that your goals conform to the SMART goal format: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.
- Use a goal setting form that allows for all the components of the SMART goal format. I have created a Goal Form Template that you can download here.
- People often ask me “What’s the difference between attainable and realistic goals?” Attainable goals include a plan to achieve them. As the old saying goes: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Realistic goals, on the other hand, consider likely obstacles you may encounter. When you anticipate likely obstacles and develop contingency plans for them, your goals become realistic.
- Keep the number of goals manageable. Effective goals require some serious thought and sufficient detail. However, if you have a laundry list of goals, the thought of putting that much effort into writing each one may be too overwhelming, and may deter you from finishing them. Establish your absolute priorities for the year ahead, and focus on the three to five most important goals.
- Block off time in your calendar right now to think about, create and formally record your 2016 goals. You probably won’t be able to complete them in one sitting, so set aside enough time.
- Set a reoccurring monthly calendar appointment to review your goals and measure your progress to date. You will be far more likely to accomplish your goals if you discipline yourself to review them regularly. Keep your eye on the ball.
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
I wish you the best in 2016. I hope that these tips and the goal form I have provided will help you in your efforts to proactively determine your future. I truly believe that the best is yet to come for you and for me, and that you ain’t seen nothing yet!