How to Set Goals for Your Best Year Yet
The New Year has begun and most of us are starting our first full week of work for the year, myself included! Can you believe, I still don’t have my goals for the year properly worked out? I know, I know, so unlike me, but it’s not for a lack of trying, I promise. I’ve worked out most of my business goals and projects- that is usually the easy part for me in my goal setting process and how I spent a majority of my work time in December, but on a personal development level, I’m struggling to make heads or tails of what I want to come for the year. So, I’m going back to basics this week, breaking out my You Got This Workbook, and following my streamlined procedure for setting my goals! You’d think I’d have this process down by now, but realistically, goal setting is only something I do on a yearly basis so it’s helpful for me to have the goal setting process codified as a system to review, even if I DID right the book on it! If you don’t have my You Got This Workbook, it’s my Strategic Goal Setting and Planning Guide to Help You Achieve Your Goals and Organize Your Life and you can get your copy of this digital PDF workbook here. If not, today I want to share you with you the simple process outlined in the book to get you started working out how you will make this Your Best Year Yet!
Step 1: Figure Out What You Want
The first step to goal setting is always understanding what you want, and I will warn you, this is one of the hardest parts of the goal setting process for me, as well as many others I’ve spoken to! While some of us wake up knowing exactly what we want from life, others find identifying their passions or desires difficult. It’s no surprise really, we live in a world of immediate gratification, where hustle and busy-ness are hailed as the pinnacle of human achievement. Identifying your passions and true desires requires stillness and quiet time in reflection to get outside ourselves and see a big picture for our lives. Does this mean you will need to plan out everything for your life long term? Certainly not, but the more you can identify about the life you want to live, the more inspiration you will have to begin designing your ideal life and identifying the specific goals and projects you will set to make that life a reality.
TRY THIS: Meditate on your life, taking inventory of your current life, what you have and don’t have, and what lifetime achievements you’ve hit or have yet to meet until you can make a list of the goals you are interested in achieving.
Step 2: Focus on Timing
Once you have identified what you want to achieve in your life, for either the near future or long term, the next step in the goal setting process is to get focused on what you will do this year to move your goals forward. After step 1, you most likely have a long list of things you want to do or achieve and the worst thing you can do is take the list as-is and start on everything. In order to achieve goals and success, you need FOCUS. This means you will need to take that list of goals you have and deciding when in your life you want them to happen. According to renowned success coach Tony Robbins “most people overestimate how much they can do in a year and underestimate how much they can do in ten years.” Although you may approach your goal setting process with a sense of urgency, you need to be realistic about what you will be able to do in the coming year. Take it slow and steady, choose the essential goals that you can realistically achieve this year and then break out your other goals and dreams into time frames for your life. There is a time and a place for everything in life, so think about where your goals belong in terms of the order you should achieve things and which time period in your life would be the best time to achieve which goal.
TRY THIS: List out your goals into a logical order of events. Don’t worry yourself too much about expectations in terms of when people “normally” achieve x in their life, unless age is truly a factor to consider. For example, for a woman having children can only occur within a specific time frame naturally, unless you are open to adoption which widens that scope. Achieving a college education can happen at any age of life, but it would be necessary for you to achieve a specific degree before you can reach a specific career goal related to it.
Step 3: Make a Plan
Now that you have identified what you will focus on for this coming year, the next step in this goal setting process is to make a plan for how you will achieve the goals you’ve set this year. Keep in mind that you can very well start on goals this year that you don’t intend to finish this year, as some goals (like going to college) take years to achieve. In order to achieve anything, however, you need to make a plan for how you will get from where you are right now to success with your goal. Personally, I try to keep my plans as simple as possible. Another common mistake I see people make with their goals is that they try to throw every solution at the goal and do more than is necessary, which ends up leading to overwhelm and failure to achieve the goal. If you have no clue how to achieve something or how to simplify the process, find someone with experience and ask them how they did it! They will most likely be able to give you feedback on the steps and direction you should take with your goal and give you information on things they did that was a waste of time for them. The more research you can do to make a simple plan to achieve success, the more likely it is that you will reach your goals!
TRY THIS: Turn your goals into project plans and break out as many steps as you can think of to track your goal and progress. This will be a customizable roadmap you can use to stay on track. You Got This includes key project planning pages you can use to break down your goals and detailed instructions for completing this process but you can also use my project planning bundle if you want to keep your projects in your planner as I do!
Step 4: Make a Change
Many goals we set for ourselves require us to make some changes in our life to support them. For example, if you set a goal for weight loss, it means you need to make lifestyle changes that help you avoid temptation and stay on track with healthy habits. For each goal, think about what changes you need to make in your life to support the success of that goal. After all, our habits define us and it’s the little things we do or don’t do each day that determine if we will be successful in practically everything in life. Don’t think you need to change your whole life and every habit or routine, but evaluate how changing your actions could support the achievement of a goal.
TRY THIS: Consider what one change you can make in your life or habits right now that will support your success with one of your goals. If you can think of more than one, really focus in on choosing one essential change that will make the biggest impact on whether or not you are successful.
Step 5: Execute!
Now, the hard part (second only to step 1) actually making it happen and executing on your plans. The easiest way to achieve anything in life is to have a good plan and solid work ethic- other than that, there really aren’t many shortcuts you can take. Before you achieve anything in life- any goal, any project, anything worth having really- it seems impossible, but don’t let the work ahead of you scare you. Small steps accumulate into significant progress. If you can commit to doing something everyday to move you closer to your goal, even just a simple little task, before long you will see progress. The best advice I have for you at this point is to focus on the next task on the list, instead of reviewing the whole list on a regular basis. If you can focus on what you are doing next, instead of worrying about the next ten things after that, you are less likely to loose motivation and actually get the work done!
TRY THIS: Build yourself an arsenal of motivation and inspiration. Follow specific accounts on Instagram or Twitter, put inspirational quotes around your workspace or make a vision board! Whatever you can do to keep yourself focused on the outcome and not the work, the more likely you are to achieve that big, scary goal!
It looks like it’s time for me and you to get started setting our goals for the year! I hope this post has been helpful to you for getting started, and if you need any additional assistance, I’d recommend picking up the You Got This workbook here in my shop!