Setting goals isn’t something you should do because it’s a new year. Goals should be continuously created as you think of them and revised quarterly if not after changes and other impactful moments. Goals do not all have to be new crazy far off ideas. Most of them should be reflections to improve habits and reinforce your ideal situation or vision of yourself and your accomplishments. You can use the new year to re-prioritize and flush out the old though.
Below is an outline for organizing your goals. Context is in italics and examples for topics are underlined. To start, the points under “Guidelines” will help frame a structure for thinking.
Edit away and make it your own. I recommend you keep your goals in Evernote (download on your desktop and the app for your phone and tablet) so that you can reference them weekly. I hand write all of my goals into the front of each new notebook I use (you can print and tape…). Rewriting lets me rethink and edit my goals quarterly, as well as keep them fresh in my mind. Print your work goals out and tack them to your desk and email them to your team. Sharing your intentions will help you be successful and improve communication.
- First think through the past year and specifically the past three months. Jot down what you want to maintain, improve, and change across your Personal Life, Fitness & Health, Relationships, Personal Finance, & Work (feel free to change these, we will call them “pillars”)
- These first notions should be the cores of your goals.
- If you said something like “lower stress” you might translate that into a specific goal that is a fun solution to combat stress.
- If you wrote down “improve communication at work” you might create a specific goal that asks for a bi-weekly check in to keep your responsibilities clear and gain more feedback.
- Ideally there is a rooted reason for each goal you set, as this will naturally allow you to see the benefits of the goal more vividly and thereby help you stick to your goals and achieve them
- Confirm your “Pillars” (default below is Personal Life, Fitness & Health, Relationships, Personal Finance, & Work) and feel free to change the topics underlined below each now and over time.
- Take the larger notions that you want to see maintained, improved and changed from the first bullet point and categorize them under the topics. Then, use the extra topics to remind yourself and percolate on other goals to add.
- After you have general notions that you want to change under each topic (maybe a few under the same topic), make those notions into more specific goals that have quantities, expiration dates, specific qualities, etc.
- Next, make each goal as actionable as possible. You might spend two hours today researching, setting calendar reminders, asking and emailing friends for advice or recommendations, buying a book or two, registering for something, asking a mentor how to change a habit, etc.
- Look at the overall characteristic of your goals collectively. Is there enough adventure and fun? Are there enough true challenges? Do these goals match the time you actually have? Do they reflect who you are and aim to be? Etc.
The point of this outline is to walk you through thinking of the things you’d like, setting a goal you understand that is clear and actionable, and then immediately setting yourself up for success.
Bear with me…
- If you want to be more present in your relationships and work conversations, think about what you need to change to do so, and then what habits you can practice to execute that vision. If there is something to practice, when will you practice it and with who?
- If you want to run a marathon, find one right now, and put a deadline on signing up and coordinating with friends in your calendar, right now.
- If you want to host a wine tasting in June, choose dates and set a google cal reminder to send a doodle as the desired date approaches.
- If there is something you want to learn, write the names of people you know (search for them now) that can be your first point of contact to map out what and how to learn it. Decide how often you will study or practice and where. Think about your schedule and what needs to change or when you are most likely to do this.
An additional tactic to add in below each topic is outlined below:
1) Goal: XYZ
- Daily Action to start toward the goal:
- What needs to change/get cut to make room for success