Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Achieve your Goals in 2013

New Year often brings a new focus and in order to develop in 2013, you need to follow a process that will help you achieve your goals in 2013 and beyond. Committing to personal development can mean focusing on improving your self-knowledge, identifying your potential, fulfilling goals and aspirations and defining a personal development plan. Personal Development planning means working through questions such as what do I really want to achieve from life, what are my goals and ambitions, am I taking the right actions to get me there.

In order to create an effective Personal Development plan, the first thing you need to understand is your current situation. To help you understand where you are and set objectives for the year ahead, a personal SWOT will help you to identify opportunities for improvement, and help you to make the most of your personal talents by working out what you are good at and where you could improve. You will understand any threats to you achieving your goals such as needing to move house and the time this will entail, or a partner or relative’s illness necessitating time away from work. Use this template to help you focus on your strengths, appreciate where you need to improve and make the most of opportunities available to you.

Once we know where we are we need to know what our goals are. For some people this may be crystal clear but other people may not be as sure. It can help at this stage to consider methodologies and mind-sets available and self-help books offer a wealth of information. Dr Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People has stood the test of time from when it was published in 1990. Reading this information map will give you an overview on the 7 habits which include being proactive, beginning with the end in mind and seeking first to understand and then be understood. Covey's concept can help people grow, change, and become more effective both in the workplace and in their personal lives.

Now you understand the current situation, it’s time to document your goals and make them visible. Major goals can seem unattainable so sometimes the easiest way to achieve your objectives is to plan them out and start small with little goals to achieve that all add up to reaching your main objectives. You can achieve your goals – but you have to work at it. Make sure you understand what it is you want to achieve and by when? How much do you want this? How determined are you to succeed? What do you need to do this year, this quarter, this month, this week, today to get you closer to your target? What does that mean in terms of action, planning, effort and attainment? Use this Goal Setting template to identify what you need to achieve and how you will do it. Setting goals will help you get to where you want to be.

Now you need to implement the tasks that are going to help you achieve your goals. Maybe you have your own method, but you could also consider a new one such as Getting Things Done™. This is a time management methodology which helps you to manage your time, increase focus and improve personal productivity. It will help you to understand which tasks you need to work on first in order to achieve your goals and which tasks can be saved for later. David Allen, the author of this methodology, uses two key elements, control and perspective and will help you implement a process to ensure you do what needs to be done. Take a look at this information map which outlines the process and includes a template to get you started.

It can be easy to get caught up in activities which don’t help you achieve your goals so regular review points are required to help ensure you stay on track and meet your goals come year end. Schedule these every few months or quarterly and reflect on what you’ve achieved since your last review point. Do you need to change anything to get you back on track and do you need to set any new tasks to help you get there? Are you meeting your short term goals, do you have the skills required to reach the next phase of your ultimate career or personal goals. This template will help you ensure you can achieve your goals by undertaking regular reviews. Following this process should help ensure you meet all of your goals.

All of the maps in this article can be found on Biggerplate.com. If you are not a member of Biggerplate.com, you will need to join first before you can download the maps. Joining is free and will only take a couple of minutes.

Biggerplate are also hosting a mini mind mapping conference on Thursday January 31st in London. Find out more at: http://biggerplatelondon.eventbrite.com/#

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