All I seem to read at the moment is advice about setting goals for the New Year, and instead of just mindlessly doing this I wanted to ask myself: Is there any point?

I’ve written pages and pages of notes, plans and ideas in times gone by. Then put them away, never to be seen again. Pointless.

Spending too much time setting goals can make you over think; it can lead to self-doubt and procrastination. Nothing gets done and life stands still year after year. Thinking gets in the way of the doing. A great idea is worth nothing if it is not executed and goals are no different.

Three weeks ago I thought I’d like to start a blog in the New Year, but why the New Year?!? Why not NOW?

If you want to do something why not just start today? Even the smallest first step is massive…

Once begun – the job’s half done!

Lay your foundations today and throw yourself into the game – there’s no way back now you have to produce and move your ideas forward. Great!

Starting the blog in January would have given me over a month to trick myself into not doing it. I avoided over thinking, I took charge, and just did it there and then.

All that said however, planning is still important. There’s no value in starting something unless you know why you are doing it, and what your ultimate goal is.

So I tend to have plans, but they are flexible and limited. Limited to the absolute essentials and the short term, I just try and get on with what I want to achieve as soon as possible.

Reading about Warren Buffett’s 5/25 rule helped me take this approach…

  1. Write down the top 25 things you want to do in your life
  2. Put them in order of importance to you
  3. Cross out the bottom 20 and never look at them again! (At least until you’ve achieved the top 5)
  4. Now focus on achieving the top 5

This makes sure you are focused on what matters to you. You know where to start, you have clarity of mind, and you have a definite plan. You could then take this a step further and write 5 things under each of these 5 main goals to break your ultimate goals into manageable tasks. Don’t spend too long on this though, a high level view is all you need.

Try this for next year and see what happens. Then once you’re done why not see what you can start today? Take your first step to the new you, maybe you will change your life, maybe you won’t. But you will have the tools you need to begin, you will know what matters most to you. Blend this with motivation, faith and persistence and nothing can stop you.

Just make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T (Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely). Don’t set your sights too high and then moan to me in a few months’ time because Jennifer Lawrence won’t return your phone calls!

– Matthew Brown

Have you set any goals for next year? What advice would you add based on your experience? I look forward to your comments.

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