I absolutely love this time of year! There’s something about the end of December, beginning of January that gets me in the mood for reflection and goal setting. It’s a time to evaluate what worked well over the last year and what didn’t. To set goals for the new year. To start fresh. I use this time every year to set goals for myself personally and professionally.
Here are my 7 tips for successful goal setting
“Lose weight,” “Read more books,” or “Build an email list” aren’t specific goals.
How much weight do you want to lose? How many books do you want to read? How many people do you want to add to your email list?
Do you tell yourself every year that you want to lose weight and then don’t do anything about it? Do you commit to reading a certain number of books that you don’t realistically have the time to read?
Think about what you really want.
Ask yourself: do I really want this? Am I ready to make the commitment to do what’s needed to accomplish this? Why do I want to accomplish this? What has worked for me in the past? What didn’t work? (Be honest with yourself.)
In order to be successful in your goal crushing, you need to set goals that are in line with your core values as a person. Sure, I’d love to run a marathon someday or, better yet, an ultramarathon! Am I ready to commit the time and energy that it would take to train for either of those this year? Nah. I’ll focus on other goals that are higher priority for me right now.
Think outside the box
Spend some time reflecting on your life.
Where do you want to be 3 years from now? 10 years from now? 25 years from now?
What are the things you should focus on now in order to be where you want to be?
Small changes in the here and now can make a huge impact on your life in the long term. Let’s say in 25 years from now you want to be retired and own a second home on the beach. Will you ever be able to accomplish that goal if you don’t start saving for retirement now?
What can you do this year so that your aspirational vision for your life might look like more of a reality this time next year?
Write it down
“The simple act of writing down a goal increases your chances of reaching it.”John Doerr, Measure What Matters [affiliate link]
Write your goals down in your journal or create a Word Doc, Google Doc, OneNote…whatever works for you. Writing them down makes them real and increases your chances of accomplishing them.
Document where you want to be this time next year and make sure the document is somewhere you can easily find it and reference it on a regular basis throughout the year. I do this weekly which might seem like a bit much, but it keeps me constantly focused on the things I need to be doing every day/week in order to accomplish my goals by the end of the year.
Break it down
Let’s say you determine that you want to lose 12 pounds this year. Or that you want to read 24 books. Or build an email list of 240 people.
Now you can take that goal and break it down into monthly or weekly checkpoints:
- 12 pounds in a year is 1 pound her month.
- 24 books per year is 2 books per month.
- 240 email addresses is 20 per month.
Breaking the goals down gives you something to work towards every month.
“Objectives are significant, concrete, action oriented, and (ideally) inspirational.”John Doerr, Measure What Matters [affiliate link]
Looking at your monthly breakdown, what are you going to do each day, week or month in order to accomplish your goal in small chunks throughout the year? These are your objectives or smaller, bite-sized goals.
- Start working out 3 days per week. Get a FitBit to track steps and walk 10,000 steps every day.
- Read 10 pages per day.
- Add an email subscription box to your blog and commit to blogging 2x per week.
Do the work
Commit to checking in on your goals on a regular basis. Put it on your calendar or checklist to review your goals every week, every two weeks, or every month — whatever is realistic and makes sense for you. As I mentioned, I do this on a weekly basis. This keeps me constantly focused on what I intend to accomplish. It also helps me assess what roadblocks are coming up for me and what I need to do to combat those.
It’s important to be very protective of the time you’ve devoted to reviewing your goals and doing the tasks that you’ve identified are necessary. Not spending adequate time doing the work and reflecting on your progress will ultimately prevent you from accomplishing the things you’ve determined are important to you.
If you’re willing to set aside the time, devote yourself to that time, and put in the work, this year will be your best year ever!