Like most people, as you started out your 2016, your mind flashed for at least a brief moment to the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. Regardless of how you feel about them (“Resolutions are stupid.” “I’ve never actually kept one.” “I can’t wait to finish this 2016 ToDo list”) it’s exciting and laden with possibility to metaphorically get a fresh start.

“So Fresh and so Clean (Clean)”
As a networker, entrepreneur, artist, and human, I’ve got some big goals in place for 2016. They’re probably not all that different from yours, as we all have some pretty similar wants and needs in the world. These goals are larger than I’ve ever shot for and even writing them down can seem intimidating. Maybe you feel similarly about your goals, or you’re purposefully setting goals that won’t actually make you happy, that would be a bit easier to achieve so that you don’t get intimidated or feel overwhelmed. Why set goals for mediocre? Why work towards something that won’t actually move your happiness dial forward? Set big, scary goals for the year and work for that. This may sound a bit counter to what you may have heard about breaking goals down into small and manageable bits. I’m actually not saying that’s a bad idea (it’s necessary to have some sense of accomplishment during your goal journey) but it’s not the best place to start.

A lofty goal that you’ve never accomplished before will probably require you try some new things, stretch out of your comfort zone, and explore new ways of thinkings, planning, and being. Let’s start with the planning part.

“Climb Every Mountain”
Imagine climbing a huge mountain. One that requires you pack tons of supplies, hire guides, maybe even bring oxygen along because the air gets so thin towards the top. You wouldn’t just start at the bottom of the mountain and say “Hmm, ok how do I get to the next checkpoint?”. If you did, you’d be dead less than halfway up because you wouldn’t be prepared, and you’d have no idea where you were going. No, you start with crystal clear knowledge of the peak you’re headed towards and you work from there. “If I know to get back down from the peak I need at least 100 Liters of Oxygen…” (Sidebar: I have no idea if that’s true so please don’t plan an Everest expedition off of this article.) “…then I know I can only use 100 Liters of my tank by the last check-point. 90 by the 2nd to last, 80 by the 3rd to last” and so on and so on.

“Slide to the left…Reverse! Reverse!”
As a coach, I always recommend people work backwards from their goals, starting with what they hope to accomplish and breaking that down to where they are today. Imagine it’s January 1st, 2017 and you’ve done that big thing you set out to do. Whee!

What’s your life look like because of that? Do you travel more? Do you have a bigger sense of freedom because you don’t have a debt hanging over your head? Are you more artistically fulfilled? Do you have a new relationship? Did you quit that terrible job you hated and started up your full time Etsy shop? Whatever your goal, it’s a powerful exercise to plan from the idea that “You did it!” rather than “What’s the next step?”.

“That’s the measure of a (wo)man”
Are you looking to “get healthy” this year? Great, how do you measure that? Is it a body fat percentage? Is it how long you can run? Is it a dress size? Is it purely pounds lost? Whatever your “made it” is, make sure you can “measure it”. Then, if you want to accomplish that goal by January, start from there and work backwards. I want to be at 12% body fat by January which means I need to be at 13% by December, 14% by November, 15% by October, etc. etc.

“Shake it Off”
By planning from the future, we shift up our mindset to declare something, rather than just describing it. By saying I will accomplish this thing by this time, we plant a flag in the ground as to where we’re going, and then we can work powerfully toward it. What many of my coaching clients find by breaking goals up in this way is that their goal is way more attainable than they originally thought. “I only have to lose 1% body fat a month and I’ll be fitter than I’ve ever been!” “I only need to get one client a month for 6 months before I can quit my day job!” “I only need to meet 5 people a month to more than triple my network!”

“Hello from the Other Siiiiiiiiiiide”
Whatever your goal may be, it’s almost certain that connection is going to be an important part of it. Whether it be business contacts, personal contacts, client contacts, accountabili-buddies (TM), or simply a stronger support network – it is always easier to accomplish more with some amazing people in your corner. We at Network Under 40 hope to have a hand in helping you make 2016 your best year yet by linking you up with the best people your city has to offer. We’ll see you at the next event! Let us know what your big goals for 2016 are in the comments and what kind of support you need in making it happen.

Strother Gaines
DC Director

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