A step-by-step process that walks you through setting big goals for the year and getting them down on your weekly to-do list.
Don’t have time to read all this? Then download the full guide here.
What is this?? | Introduction
At the start of January, I wrote about the importance of taking a look back at the previous year to help plan for the current year. Now that you’ve reflected on how the year went (AND I’M SURE YOU ALL TOOK THE TIME TO DO IT!!!), it’s time to tackle the challenge of setting goals for this year.
Awwww, do I have to?????
No, you certainly don’t have to set goals for the year. But it sure does help. It helps you prioritize the things you want to focus on this year (and say no to the things you don’t), and it increases the odds that you’ll get it done.
I follow a goal setting process that starts with big annual goals and then breaks them down into more sizeable tasks that can be achieved in my weekly to-do list. This is the process I’ll walk through here.
Let’s do it!
The Futuuuuuuurrrre | Setting your Big Annual Goals
This can feel so daunting, I know. You wonder how in the world can you know what’s going to happen in 12 months’ time, let alone next week?! But there is an easier and more effective way of setting your annual goals.
- Close your eyes. Take a deep breath.
- Imagine you are one year from today; it’s the start of 2018. You’re sitting down to do your “looking back” exercise.
- What do you want to say you’ve achieved in the past year? What do you imagine you’re writing down as milestone moments from the year?
Use the same categories from your looking back activity this year: work, health, finances, relationships, etc.
- Write down the thoughts that come up.
Those things. Those thoughts of potential achievements that put a smile on your face and make your heart speed up a little bit. THOSE are your annual goals.
Now that you’ve captured your initial ideas, it’s important to run them through some filters before you consider them final goals.
Run your initial ideas through these 3 filters before considering them final.
#1 | The Reality-Check Filter
- If you have more than 10 goals total, then you gotta cut some out. It’s not realistic to do all of that in one year.
- Look over your goals and be honest about whether or not they can happen this year. DO NOT doubt what you’re capable of achieving! But do check to see if you’ve written down goals that may take 2 years to complete, or that are overly dependent on factors outside of your control.
#2 | The Deets Filter
- Revise your goals to make sure there are enough details in them so they’re specific. Don’t stop at “exercise more”. Write a goal of “exercise at least 3 times a week” or even better, “exercise at least 3 times a week to get to a weight of 140 pounds by July when I have to put on that dang bathing suit again.”
#3 | The Balance Filter
- Make sure you have at least 2 goals for the most important 3-4 categories of your life. Don’t let them all be about work, or all about hanging out with friends. Balance comes with some effort and starting with balanced goals will help you get there.
By now you should have a list of no more than 10 annual goals that are realistic, full of details, and represent the balanced life you want. As you read through them, they should feel motivating and inspiring to YOU, so that a year from now you’ll feel proud of what you’ve achieved.
Write up the final ones nice and neat, or type them up, and keep them visible in a place where they’ll be regular reminders. To show that I practice what I preach, here are my 2017 goals, pasted right above the light switch to my office.
Wait! There’s more! (Call now, and you’ll also get…)
I created a full PDF guide that includes the information above, plus steps to identify your quarterly activities, make a monthly action plan, and incorporate your big goals into your weekly to-do lists. Everything you need to achieve your annual goals. Download it here.