How To Set Personal and Professional Goals for Self Development in 2020

We are fast approaching a new year and a whole new decade. If you’re not someone who usually sets goals for the new year, perhaps this is the year you’ll make an exception.

Setting goals shouldn’t be about fluffy resolutions which you will never stick to, like losing 10 pounds or taking up a new hobby.  Your goals should be realistic and valuable for both your personal and professional life.  They should help to bring you closer to the life you want to live.

Goal setting can be done at any time of year, but the beginning a new year is a great time for starting your self-development journey. Let’s take a look at the best ways to set real goals for self-development in 2020.

Think About the Things That are Most Important to You

Start by thinking about the things that are most important to you. What aspects of your personal or professional life do you value the most?  Your goals should be directly linked to the big picture items which you most want to achieve in your life. Think about your life’s top priorities: these could be related to a specific career direction, finding a new job or finding purpose in your career, to your health, your finances or relationships. Start with these broader areas and then narrow down to goals for 2020. By having goals which are linked to the areas which are most important you, you will be driven to achieve them.

Have a Balance Between Realistic and Ambitious Goals

When it comes to goal setting, one of the most important things is the balance between being ambitious and being realistic. It is important to be ambitious to some extent: you need to have something to strive for. You don’t want to limit yourself by setting your sights too low, so you should be reasonably ambitious in the goals you set. On the other hand, you want to be realistic, and set goals which are obtainable. If you set goals which are too far beyond your reach it is easy to become discouraged and give up. The best way, therefore, is to strike a balance between being ambitious and being realistic.

Be Specific in Your Goals

Be as specific as possible in your goals. For example, rather than setting a goal “eat more healthy,” your goal should be something like to eat five servings of vegetables every day, or to cut out saturated fat. This means you should take the time to set specific targets for each of your goals. This helps to keep you accountable, and will keep you on track.  Set timelines for each of your goals. Without deadlines, your efforts can drag on indefinitely.  Make sure your targets are a good balance between realistic and ambitious.

Write Your Goals

Once you have set your goals, make sure to put them in writing. Whether on a piece of paper, on your computer or simply as a note on your smart phone, having a written record of your goals will formalize them and make them more real. This will help to keep you accountable to your goals and allow you to check back on the targets you have set. Written goals don’t lie.

Tell People About Your Goals

Accountability is important in goals setting.  Being held accountable greatly increases the chances of continuing to work towards your goals, and therefore ultimately to achieving them. In turn, one of the most effective ways to be kept accountable is to have others involved. For this reason, it’s important to tell other people about your goals. Talk to your partner, friends, family members and colleagues: tell them about the goals you have for your year in 2020. This is not to say they have to monitor you and keep you on track, but having others involved will motivate you to keep going. Once you say something out loud to someone, it makes it seem more real.

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