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The New Year is almost here. So what do you plan to achieve in 2017? Have you had the time to think about it yet? Experts recommend that you do the planning well ahead of time. This gives you and your mind time to get used to an ambitious agenda for the next year if that is what you want to do.
The answer to this question can be very subjective depending on your current mood as well as what preoccupies you at the moment. That is hardly what you desire, isn't it? What you want is a balanced plan for the New Year—an actually realizable plan that you can b
e proud of having achieved as 2017 draws to a close.
Your life will be balanced, and happy only if all key areas have been addressed. When we think of plans and goals, let us think in terms of the key areas of our lives.
To ensure you capture all key areas, we recommend asking three questions:
These three questions may look like they overlap. You are right, sometimes they do; but not always. However, unless you do pay attention to getting ahead in all three, your life will be lagging on one front or another.
Whatever it is you wish for, first make a list. This can be long. But what you think of first may not necessarily be the most important. So a long list is good.
Next, pick the top three priority items and begin working on them from right now.
What do you have to do to achieve those priority goals? Does it take spending time, money, effort or something else?
For example, you may need to develop and exercise better leadership skills if you want a promotion. Or you may need to complete a qualification or gain a membership? Or maybe it is as simple as having a chat with your boss and expressing your desire to get more responsibility, or a different role?
Whatever it takes, it won't happen unless you get the ball rolling. So list down three things you need to do to get things moving on each of your three professional priorities.
Of course, remember, no one can run multiple races at the same time. You cannot develop your new business, complete your Masters and tend to your growing family while also asking for more responsibilities at work. It is amazing how many people try this kind of juggling. But in reality, very few actually get there. So unless you consider yourself Superman or Superwoman, don't get involved in too many races. It is much less stressful and more productive to pick and choose which races to focus on this year and which can be postponed to next year.
It is wonderful to be inspired by quotations like this from Sir Richard Branson.
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
Such things do have a role to play in life, provided you are at that right moment to actually say YES and grab the opportunity. But what if it ends up hobbling all your other plans?
We'd like to offer you another encouraging quote from Sir Richard Branson:
"Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming."
And that applies to opportunities in other spheres of life as well.
Quite a few things really. But if you look at things in a realistic way, you'd realize that the most important things that get in the way of your progress over the year has to do with you. Mostly. We are not saying other things don't stop your progress. But they are externalities. And have to be dealt with in some way or another.
When you ask people what is keeping them from achieving their goals, most of the time the answer boils down to their own attitudes, mindset or behaviour.
Sometimes they are self-imposed, or imaginary limitations. And these are the hardest to breach.
As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe noted "The man with insight enough to admit his limitations comes nearest to perfection." And we know how that perfection comes. It comes from acknowledging the limitation and acting upon it.
If you really want to go all out to ensure you really achieve your professional goals try doing a personal SWOT exercise. We know, they are so overrated. But if you can really take each key goal and list down the following for each, you will know what really needs to be done. That is half the struggle.
The whole process will get into your head and help you think more clearly about your personal, professional and family future. And that is a great thing to do, in planning for the next year.
Use a format like this for each of your key goals.
Most people just list their strengths and weaknesses. Don’t do that.
This is why we say to use one sheet per goal.
Write down in the middle the answers:
What is the goal? By when do you need to achieve it?
And then, for THAT GOAL, list down what specific weaknesses in you can get in the way. Which of your strengths can help you achieve it? Focus on RELEVANT strengths and weaknesses. The fact that you don’t have too many friends or a girlfriend may be a weakness in the great scheme of things, but it is probably a great weakness to have if you have trouble passing exams. That is because less of a social life means more time to study (at least the way we see it.)
Once you focus on specific weaknesses and strengths this makes it clear to you what you must do or avoid to go and achieve your goal.
This is why you must pay great attention to that.
Then focus on threats.
If for example, your immediate supervisor does not like you, say, and that can prevent you from getting a promotion you deserve, try answering the question: How to counter the threat will get your ideas flowing?
List all possible actions you can take such as seeking a transfer to another division, finding opportunities to work with your bosses boss for example will help you get noticed. Finding a mentor might help.
We've just addressed the issues on how you can deal with your key goals on the professional front. You can, over the holidays, work by yourself or with your family on deciding on what are the family goals and how they can be achieved during 2017.
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