January Jump Set Your Goals

Set Your January Jump Goals


OK, so it’s the New Year and, as usual, there has been a lot of chat about resolutions. But the truth is that resolutions rarely stick (the stats are pretty miserable… ) and most of us have forgotten our well-intentioned resolutions by the end of the first week of January.
Oh, hang on, that’s right about now…

So let’s not make resolutions, let’s set some goals instead!

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Today’s Task

Set Your Goals

Today is our second task: setting your personal goals for the January Jump. This is a key step in the overall Jump process so please read through and then complete the four steps suggested. 

Most of the January Jump tasks are “universal” ones – for everyone to do. However, from time to time, we will use a task session to work on your personal goals, ensuring you make real progress before the end of the month.  So let’s work out what your personal goals will be.

Goals should be big and slightly scary.

Goals should be big and slightly scary.  As a colleague of mine once said, they should be BHAGs (pronounced ‘B-hags’). Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals. Don’t trade down or talk yourself into something that might be more easily achieved. Goals should be life changing, in a positive way.

Broad goals could include:

  • Get a new job I really want
  • Work out what career I want next, then move into it
  • Negotiate a significant pay rise
  • Understand what I need for my next career step
  • Improve on my development
  • Improve my performance
  • Gain key new experience

Limiting your goals to one – or at most two – is ideal. This will keep you focused, and you will not be distracted by trying to do too many things at the same time.

Step 1 – Think Big

Take 10 minutes today, to just sit and think. Be honest with yourself about what you really want to achieve this year.  Don’t worry about whether it’s possible or how you will do it.  We’ll come to that.  Just dream a little. Think about what will make you feel great at the end of this year when you look back at 2018 and realise what you’ve achieved.

When you have one goal (or possibly two goals) in your mind, jot it down and move straight on to Step Two.

Step 2 – Get Specific

Next, you need to translate your broad goals into something much more specific to use them for the Jump. You need to make them SMART, a scientifically-proven way to ensure you achieve them.

There are several different versions of the terms that make up the SMART acronym but these are the ones I think are most relevant for this Jump task:

Stretching – This is another reminder to set yourself stretching goals.  Most of my clients find it a challenge to aim high enough.

Measurable – If you can’t measure it, how will you know you’ve achieved it?  Take a few minutes to think about what you will see/hear/feel when you have succeeded?  Try to link it to something tangible.

Action-Oriented – Achieving almost all goals is dependent on your taking some action.  If your goal is an internally focused one – e.g. “I will be a better manager” – you need to express this in terms of what external action you will take to achieve it, and then go back to Measurable to think about external/tangible results.

Realistic – This is the only moment in this process when I want you to stop to consider whether your goal is actually realistic.  And by realistic, I just mean “not impossible”.  If your goal is to become an airforce pilot but you are colour blind, it’s just not possible.  If you want to become a doctor within 6 months, it’s just not possible. There aren’t many of these absolutes. As long as your goal is broadly “not impossible”, then go for it.

Time-bound – Set an end date.  When will you have achieved your goal? Make sure you put the “by when” in your goal.  I suggest that most goals we set as part of the January Jump will take 2-9 months to achieve.  Most people find it hard to focus for much longer than six months, and most 12 month goals are long forgotten before the year is over.

You will take some significant steps towards achieving your goals over the next few weeks, and later on in the January Jump you’ll plan and schedule the remaining steps you still need to take after the Jump ends.

3 – Stay Positive

My extra criteria, which has made a huge difference with my coaching clients, is to express your goal positively.  The human brain is not wired to “not do” things, so focusing on a negative goal makes it much harder for us to achieve.

Not sure what I mean?  Try this: don’t imagine a pink elephant.  What are you imagining right now?  If you’re like most people, you are now picturing a pink elephant.  Interestingly, for anyone embarking on New Year health and fitness goals the same applies.

Take five minutes now to think about how you can state your goal positively, ensuring it is SMART.

4 – Commit to Your Goals

Once you have your goals defined, the next step is to write them down.

Then put your written-down goals somewhere that you will see them regularly. A post-it note on your diary, or a paper note that you can stick onto your bathroom mirror or on your wardrobe door, or use them as a bookmark in the book you are reading.   Put them somewhere you can’t help but see them every day.

Research shows that the best way to make sure goals are achieved is to write them down AND tell people about them. So let’s do that too.  Please tell at least one person about your goals, ideally today but otherwise do it over the next couple of days if that’s more practical.

If you’d like to share your goals with us, please do so in the Comments below. You might inspire someone else! Or share them with your partner or a friend who will keep you accountable and help you to stay on track.

Stay tuned this week for… breaking your goals into manageable steps, everything thing you need to know for a great LinkedIn photo, and more.

Find out more about the January Jump, and see previous posts, on the January Jump homepage

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If you would rather ask your question or comment privately, email us with the word “private” in your email title.  We aim to answer all questions publicly (because someone else will probably be wondering the same thing) but we can do so without using your name.

Sorry we cannot provide legal advice or bespoke career advice as part of the Jump.
Please contact us separately if you would like to enquire about these services.

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