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Nick Mackeson-Smith
Nick Mackeson-Smith
Chief Curiosity Officer, Founder and Director
December 1, 2023

2024 goals

New Year’s resolutions are so last year. It seems as though it’s becoming increasingly rare that people make solid resolutions and follow through on them - perhaps it’s symptomatic of our new desire to have everything on demand and available now?

Either way, now is the perfect time to be planning ahead for things you want to achieve for the year ahead, and crucially working out how you’ll work to achieve them.  The easiest and best time to dedicate to thinking about your career, your business goals, your personal aspirations (and even your home renovation plans) is when you are still relaxed from a break, the inbox is pretty quiet,  and the daily routine and rhythms are yet to pick up.

This is the ideal week. Don’t waste it!

All of us have written to-do lists, or written SMART goals or something similar before. They are perfectly fine if they float your boat, but I’d like to offer an approach that offers you more scope to be adventurous. My wife and I have had a plan like this for our family for the last 7 years or so - we set ourselves 3 big things to achieve each year and we’ve been able to tick off every single goal we’ve set our mind to each year thanks to the clarity of focus that this approach has brought us.  I use it to help the people I coach or mentor to help them understand what a better future might look like for them. I use it with business leaders to help them plan out their long term strategy and identify priority initiatives to turn the strategy into action.

Start with the end in mind

Describing what done looks like is the most important part. What will you have done? What will you have achieved? How will you know you have been successful? What will the results be once you’ve achieved your goal? It could be something like:

  • quantifying a sales target
  • getting fit and healthy and shedding the kgs
  • achieving a career move
  • learning something new and applying that skill/knowledge
  • buying a house or significant asset
  • hitting a KPI
  • anything at all

I’m a big believer in having 2-3 bigger goals than having a laundry list of 10+ nice to have things, so try to be choosy about what goals you set yourself and prioritise ruthlessly to avoid the mental clutter.

Try to stick some numbers against things where you can… “get better”, “do more”, or “do less” are such woolly goals, that you could probably achieve them with minimal effort.  Things like “Improve revenues by x%, or to $y” is much more tangible to aim for, and actually measurable.

Set a date by which this will be your reality. The trick here is to give yourself enough time to actually be able to achieve the goal, but not too much time to mean that you take your foot off the gas or procrastinate. Goal setting in January has a really nice natural end date…. go for “By 31st December 2024”.

Generally, the further ahead in the future you set the date, the more achievable to goal is. If you are just starting out in business, setting yourself a goal of being a CEO of a listed company within 6 months is pretty challenging - within 10 years, sure!!!!

Identify the gap - Be honest about where you are at today

Everyone has to start somewhere, and the truth is, if you already were where you wanted to be, then there’d be little point for setting new goals for growth or change. Be honest with yourself about your current reality as it relates to each and every future goal you have set yourself.

Think of the areas you think you can realistically focus on to close the gap

This is all about defining the actions you’ll take to close the gap between your current situation and your future goals. Here is where you go to town. Spend as much time as you can answering these questions - and coming up with ideas of your own about what you’ll need to do to make the progress you want.

  • What might you need to learn?
  • What resources will you need? Where will you get them from?
  • Who might you need to connect with?
  • Who else can help you?
  • What new skills might you need to develop?
  • Where will you need to be to be successful?
  • What order will you need to do these things in?
  • What are you already doing that you are going to have to stop doing?
  • What beliefs do you have that you’re going to have to discard?
  • Where will you need a new approach?
  • What qualifications, licenses or accreditation will you need?
  • Who do you already know who has done this? What can you learn from them?
  • How will you know you are done?

Commit to action

You want it? You’ve got to do something about it. Take action. Send emails. Make calls. Build connections. Reflect on your performance. Ask for feedback and do something with it. Go new places. Read books. Change habits. Go for a run.

Whatever. It. Takes.

All of it is about proactivity. Put yourself in the driving seat and actually drive. Don’t wait for someone else to come in and wave a magic wand for you. You’re going to have to apply effort….. and lots of it. If you’ve set yourself a meaty enough goal (like buy a house…. that was a fun one), then the effort will totally be worth it when you move in to your new place. :)

Get a gym buddy

Intentions are just like joining a gym in January after a month of excessively eating all the mince pies and ham. Joining a gym won’t get you back to fitness - GOING to the gym will. Turning your intentions into habits by creating a sustained behaviour change will make things happen for you.

Get someone who can hold you accountable to your plan - someone who will (metaphorically at least) turn up in Lycra at 6am every morning and drag you along to that gym! You are MUCH more likely to succeed - 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

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December 1, 2023
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