Setting goals for a new year or any time of year can feel daunting and overwhelming. To help you along, I’m sharing these 7 steps you can take to make this year your most successful goal-achieving year ever! Plus get your free Self-Assessment Worksheets to get started.
As you reflect on your year, how are you feeling about the goals that you set last January? Did you make progress? Did you work on your goals throughout the year or did you lose sight of them almost immediately? For most of us, New Year’s goals are set with the best of intentions. We are motivated and maybe even excited when those goals are set, so what happens?
Without a plan or a system for tracking our progress, even well-intentioned goals can easily get neglected in the chaos of our day-to-day lives.
When those goals are important to us, or have the potential of drastically improving our lives, we should treat them that way to make progress.
Achieving your goals requires dedication but, more importantly, it requires a plan.
Step 1: Celebrate Your Successes
Our very first step may seem unnecessary but it’s important to do before we move on. Let’s first celebrate our accomplishments and successes from the past year.
Even if you didn’t hit any of your goals, you still have successes to be proud of. I call this the Highlight Reel. Brag on yourself a bit, be proud of everything you made happen. Write it down and own it!
Step 2: Review Areas of Friction
With that done, addressing the struggles we faced in the past year is equally important. I call these Areas of Friction. Write down anything you struggled with, any roadblocks you faced, or any experiences that caused friction in your life.
Now cross off any of the items on this list that you had no control over as it will not serve you to set goals based on circumstances beyond your control.
Now that we’ve addressed the good and not-so-good from the previous year, let’s set some goals for the new year.
Step 3: Complete a Self-Assessment
Think about the areas of your life that are the most important to you. For example: self-care, family, work, spirituality, finances, etc. Score each from 1-10.
If you feel like this is an area in your life that is going well, rate it a 10. If you feel like it is an area that needs a lot of work, rate that area a 1. Make notes about what is working/not working for each item and what specific improvements you think you could make.
Now, do another brain dump of potential goals you can set around the areas you are struggling in. No need to be neat, you can take those ideas afterward and sort those goals back into your life categories.
For this step, you can download your free Self-Assessment worksheets. Simply scroll to the bottom of this page, fill out the form, and grab the printables.
Step 4: Narrow Down Your Goal Ideas
Now that you have a sheet full of ideas, circle the ones that stand out to you the most. Perhaps it is urgent or maybe important to you on a personal level. If everything feels important, set a starting number of items to circle. For example, if you have a lot on your list, maybe pick 5 or 10 items to begin with. Don’t overthink it. You can always revisit this step later.
Step 5: Prioritize your Goals
Now that you have several items circled, number them beginning at #1 (most important or time-sensitive) until they are all numbered.
Now you have set your priority goals. Congratulations! Now on to the next step.
Step 6: Document your “why”
This next step is crucial and will help keep you focused on your goal if things get challenging.
Write down why each goal is important to you. How will achieving it affect your life? Is it a reasonable goal for this season of your life? Now, give that goal a deadline. Setting a deadline helps to keep us on track and makes goals feel prioritized versus just “winging it”. Sometimes I set a goal deadline even when there isn’t one, the sense of urgency of having a deadline can help you not lose sight of the goal.
Step 7: Make it Achievable
Setting larger goals can feel overwhelming. Breaking down your goals into smaller, achievable mini-goals can keep you motivated and on track.
For example, if I wanted to save $3,000 in one year, I would need to save about $60 per week. Knowing that allows me to make a saving schedule based on when I get paid or helps me to understand where I might need to make adjustments in my spending to meet my goal.
Set specific weekly and/ or monthly action steps to help keep you moving in the right direction.
Step 8: Track Your Progress
You know your goals, your reasons, and the steps needed to get you there but without being able to easily see your progress, it can be easy to lose motivation that is why it’s so important to have a system to track your progress!
Every time you make a step forward towards your goal, make a note of it. Having a way to visibly see your progress will help you feel motivated, excited, and productive. For day-to-day tracking I use a habit tracker, you can get a printable habit tracker here.
Step 9: Prepare for Bumps in the Road
There will be inevitable bumps along the way, but that is okay because you are going to plan for that. Making a plan for overcoming or addressing challenges is part of successful goal-planning. Without a contingency plan, you might find yourself frustrated or confused about how to proceed.
While we cannot plan for every bump in the road, creating a plan for the unexpected can help us feel more empowered and level-headed throughout the process. It gives us a next step when we might feel like giving up.
Step 10: Plan for Accountability
Now that you have your goals set, you’re ready to do the work. Before you jump in find a friend or someone who can help keep you accountable. Check-in with this person once a week or month and talk through your goal. Better yet, make a schedule to meet up with your Accountability partner!
The Association for Talent Development (formerly The American Society of Training and Development) claims that if you meet with your accountability partner regularly you are 95% more likely to achieve your goal.
Grab your Free Life Assessment Worksheets
Setting goals is an important part of our lives. Whether our goals are big or small, having a plan to achieve them makes the journey to success more likely as well as more enjoyable.
To help you take a step toward setting goals for the year download your FREE printable self-assessment worksheets. I’ve pulled these pages out of my new Take-Action Goal Planner to help you get started! I hope you find them helpful!
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