4 Fundamental Steps to Setting Goals

Have you started setting new goals for 2021? Here are 4 steps from our coaching workshops that can help to bring clarity to your goals, understand what’s driving them and succeed in achieving them.

Step 1: Prepare

Take Time to Make Time

Give yourself an adequate amount of time to do the exercise. Most people find 60 minutes to review the previous year and set goals for the next one adequate. If you set aside too little time, you might be cheating yourself out of valuable self-reflection. Likewise, too long of a space may find you chasing down rabbit holes.

 

Clear the Mechanism

Try to give this your complete attention. Remove distractions and notify others of your intent to not be disturbed. Turn off your phone and put it in another room. Research shows that even the presence of your phone reduces your brain power.

 

Set Your Intention

What’s your purpose for doing this? Who else might benefit from your goals? Connecting to your intrinsic motivations will help you stay focused and balanced. If you want to slay some goals, align with what and who is driving them.

Trust Your Gut

Write down what comes to you and don’t force the answers. If you haven’t spent much time the last year focused on your goals, you likely won’t have much to write. That’s okay. This is where we begin.

 

Step 2: Reflection

If you want to learn from the past, reflect on it. Reviewing the previous year can help you identify areas of success that you want to repeat or grow. You may also discover pitfalls and blind spots that led you to dead ends.

 

2020 Questions: Begin by answering these questions to start thinking about the past year.

1.What were my 5 proudest accomplishments?

2. What challenges did I overcome?

3. What did I learn about myself?

4. What 5 relationships were the most important to me?

5. What did I create?

6. How did I make a difference?

7. Where did I have the most fun?

8. What did not happen? Why?

9. How did I change?

10. What was my 2020 headline? Think of a news headline, book title, song name, or painting name.

 

Step 3: State Your Goals

It’s finally time to look ahead and plan your future. More often than not, this is the fun and exciting part. After all, you get to start picturing your goals and imagine reaching them. However, before you start declaring your intentions, keep these tips in mind to keep your goals achievable.

 

Be S.M.A.R.T.

Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound are more likely to be reached. Why? They aren’t vague. If you know exactly the point of the goal, you are more likely to have thought out the steps to reach it and the driving forces behind it. Otherwise, you may be just lost in a daydream.

Examples:

“Increase my executive presence” is vague. “Pause 3 seconds before speaking at team meetings” is not.
“Get in shape” is harder to reach than “Run a 9-minute mile by Q4.”

 

Balanced

How balanced are your goals to the areas that are most important to you? Goals that are not consistent with your values are more difficult to reach. Even worse, you may reach them and then be left feeling unfulfilled or disappointed.

For example, if your 2021 goals and energy are only focused on career and financial growth, you may find yourself struggling if fun and family are part of your core values. Think of ways to keep all areas of your life moving toward their own goals.

 

Big Picture Thinking

What are your long-term goals, the things you want to achieve in 3, 5, 10 years? Be sure your 2021 goals keep you on the path for the future.
Big picture thinking also means strategically thinking about the world around you. What changes do you anticipate in your industry? How about changes in your personal life? Remember to align with the changing world around you.

 

2021 Questions: Start by answering these questions about the year ahead.

1. What top 5 things do I want to achieve and why?

2. For each of those goals, how will I know I have reached the goal?

3. What challenges do I anticipate? Think external (more capital) and internal (fears/distractions).

4. What do you NEED to learn & grow?

5. What do you WANT to learn?

6. What relationships do you want to grow?

7. What will you create?

8. How will you make a difference?

9. Where & how will you enjoy yourself?

10. What’s your 2021 headline?

 

Step 4: Identify the Steps & Begin

 

Now that you know your 2021 goals, write down the major steps to make them happen. Structure your yearly goal into smaller segments: quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily steps to keep you on track. As you move through your year, regularly schedule time to reflect and adjust your goals.

 

Accountability

Don’t put your goals on the shelf to collect dust. Make yourself accountable to them at regular intervals throughout the year. Find an accountability partner, such as a coach, to help you reflect, restate, and mindfully adjust your goals throughout the year.

If you have any questions, or would like to work with an executive coach to help you through this process, feel free to reach out to Kathyrne Harper at kathyh@endeavorexecutive.com.