The New Year brings an opportunity to refocus and revitalize your life. In a way, it’s like a clean slate. Even if last year wasn’t the greatest, this new year holds opportunity in abundance.
It’s why so many men set high goals for themselves, swearing to achieve their dreams no matter what. This is admirable, and it’s where many of the best companies and developments come from each year! You, too, can achieve everything in your New Year’s Resolution if you’re smart about how you set and manage your goals.
The Dream vs. the Starting Point
You’ve likely already got a dream or ultimate goal, whether it’s starting your own business or earning enough money to buy that car you’ve been eyeing. That’s step one! But like a finish line is opposite a starting line, your goal is the farthest thing from where you need to begin.
All dreams and goals are attainable but starting strong is critical. Not only does a set you up for further success down the road, but it sets the tone for the rest of your effort to the end. Naturally, figuring out where to start is tricky, and it’s where lots of men give up before they’ve even begun.
Figuring out where to start to reach your goal simply requires looking at where you are currently. The year has just begun; take a tally of your resources and skills and imagine a line stretching from your current position all the way to your ultimate achievement. Where you are now is, necessarily, your starting point.
Now you’ve got a gauge for the distance you need to go.
Keeping Things Manageable vs. Reaching for the Stars
Too often, would-be entrepreneurs or businessmen will limit their goals to something easily attainable. They do this thinking that it’ll keep them motivated when, in actuality, it cuts their motivation short. Instead, we’d encourage you to reach for the stars whenever possible, so long as it’s actually possible.
For instance, if you’re 20, don’t settle for becoming a middle manager by the time you’re 30. Aim to become a manager or even higher by the time you’re 27. The difference in the goals is almost tangible. Becoming a middle manager is easy and requires you just to show up to work and float until you get a promotion. Becoming a full-time manager or CEO requires drive and initiative.
But while your goals should be high and achievable, take care not to set your expectations up for failure. As an example, becoming a fighter pilot while having to wear glasses is impossible; you simply won’t be allowed to fly, even if you passed the other tests.
Breaking It Down
The line from your starting point to your goal may be long, and you might even see several twists and turns or potential pitfalls in your way. That’s all right. No one becomes an Olympian by only focusing on their progress from beginner to champion.
Instead, the best athletes, businessmen, scientists, and soldiers all progress to their ultimate positions by breaking down their journey. Think about it. The natural progression for an athlete is to first become a top contender in their sport for the region. Then the state. Then the country.
In this way, you too should break down your goal-line into steps or sections. It may help to draw this out on a piece of paper if you’re a visually oriented guy.
Breaking down the route from your starting point to your goal can help you set up a timeline, as well. For instance, if you wanted to start a business, you can set smaller goals at the ends of your checkpoints and more easily estimate when you can get those objectives done.
Breaking down your goal and the journey to your destination is key for motivation, as we’ll explain.
Regular Checkpoints – Smaller Goals and Staying Motivated
Except for all but the most motivated among us, it can be difficult to stay hyped up for our goal all the time, especially if the road is a long one. Keeping up the drive to show up to class each day or work long hours at the office is difficult enough without a small victory here and there.
While it’s important that you have the motivational rigidity to stick with your goals, giving yourself smaller achievements to check off your list can work wonders for maintaining your motivation.
Many successful men will take the natural checkpoints distilled from their goal plans or objectives and allow themselves to celebrate each time a threshold is crossed, or a milestone is reached. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy but patting yourself on the back and reflecting on how far you’ve come is a smart practice.
You’ll find yourself more motivated than before each time you reach a milestone to your ultimate goal. What’s more is that, the closer you get, the more delicious each milestone tastes. The first step in ten feels far. The ninth step in ten feels so close to victory that it’s all but assured.
Even the most successful men don’t achieve lofty goals from momentary inspiration. Instead, they form habits to ensure that they’ll stick with their dreams even when the going gets tough. This is especially true for artistic types, who are often drawn into the trap of waiting for their muse to give them the drive needed to succeed.
This is a false hope. Mature men realize that drive comes from within. But where drive or motivation sometimes fails to show up when needed, discipline is always there to step in and take over the reins. This is because discipline is a choice that you can consciously make each day.
Making a habit of progressing your goals, whether it’s writing a novel or working on a business plan, each day can ensure that some distance to your dream is achieved no matter what your mood is. Habitual goal-progress prevents you from having “zero” days, where nothing is accomplished, and you go to bed feeling like a lump.
Overall, it’s important that you set high goals for yourself this year; it could be the best year you’ve ever had and you might reflect back on how far you’ve come for all that you’ve accomplished by the time December rolls around. But you’ll only reach those goals if you set yourself up for success. Good luck!