Apple Growth Partners

Your New Year Starts Today

By Sunny Adams, CPA | Manager, Audit & Assurance

Four Tips to Help You Achieve Any Goal

It is that time of year again when everyone is excited for a fresh start and second chances. A time when #newyearnewme has over 1.5 million posts on Instagram. The new year is an opportunity to achieve deferred dreams and make this year better than the last, which would seem to be fairly easy to do in 2021. Nevertheless, I assure you, achieving your New Year’s resolution in 2021 will be just as difficult as it was in 2019 and 2020, if you have simply created a list of things you want to accomplish without a specific plan for achievement. Anyone can write a list of goals. However, the strategy by which to achieve said goals will determine your success or failure.

So, what can you do to help position yourself to achieve lasting success? Having read various resources, including Atomic Habits, Eat That Frog, Organization from the Inside Out, and Principle of the Path, here are four tips to help you achieve any goal.

1. Choose the right goal

“People don’t want quarter-inch drill bits. They want quarter-inch holes.” – Theodore Levitt

My goal is to live a healthy life and for years, I focused only on losing weight to achieve this goal. I reached a healthy weight, but I continued to compare myself to others and to my previous smaller weight. I finally realized that my thoughts were not healthy, so I made a change. In 2020, I redefined health and the path to achieve it to include all aspects of health including physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and financial health. I share this to point out that the incremental goals set to achieve your ultimate goal are arguably just as important, if not more so. Andy Stanley stated in Principle of the Path that direction, not intention, determines destination. In other words, you will reach your target, only if you aim for it.

2. Remember that a journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step

When you input your travel information into any GPS, what do you include? First, the destination, followed by your current location. Both steps are required because you cannot get direction without knowing where you are in relation to the destination. That said, set your goals in the smallest increment of which you can achieve. So often we want to start at the top, but in doing so, we may become frustrated, discouraged and even disappointed in ourselves because we are unable to perform at the level at which we view our personal ability. If you are honest with yourself about your starting point, you will have a greater chance for success.

3. Set a SMART goal

What is a SMART goal? This acronym assists us to make goals which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. Follow the SMART goal setting model below to help create your goals.

Specific: Goals need to be specific. You need to spell out exactly what you want to accomplish. Vague goals can feel overwhelming and unachievable.

Measurable: Successful goals need to be measurable or else there is no way to determine if you have achieved them.

Achievable: When setting goals, it is important to choose goals that you are capable of attaining.  As a 2nd year staff member it is not realistic to have a goal to make partner within the next year.

Relevant:  Goals should be set with a clear purpose in mind. If your goal is to increase your billable hours, relevant goals could include increasing project management skills or increasing hours within the office. These would not include volunteering for local charities.

Time-bound:  It is important to set goals that you actually have time to complete. Be realistic about what you have time to accomplish and set start and end times for completing your goal.

4. Your goals and/or related road map should be fluid not static

If we have learned one thing during 2020, it is that life can be unpredictable. One day it may be business as usual and the next everything is turned upside down. As Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” You may have set a deadline of one year but need to adjust it to a year and a half or your once attainable goal is now out of reach. You cannot plan for every contingency, but you can plan not to give up on yourself. So, don’t quit!

We put so much stock in January 1st which is only one day out of the year. Though it feels great to start fresh with the new year, remember, your new year can start today.