Happy New Year!

January is a time when you can get excited about the new year ahead. If you haven’t already spent some time thinking about your goals for this year, dedicate a few hours in the coming week to get some clarity about where you want to be by the end of the year.

I usually spend about a week every January doing this stuff. The process below offers what I’ve found to be some of the most important considerations to help you set your own goals for this year. Spend as long as you can on each point.

Start by identifying your values

What is important to you? It’s no good spending the next 10 years devoting all your energy making money if your top values are your relationships, your health, or making a difference. Be careful of being too influenced by other peoples’ definitions of success. If you begin the process by identifying what’s important to you, your goals are more likely to be congruent with your values, and your life will become your own definition of success.

  • What are your top 5-10 personal values?

Establish your long-term vision

For some people long-term will be three years, for others, it will be ten. The principle is the same – start with the end in mind and work backwards.

So, thinking down the line – what will define success for you? Think both professional and personal goals. Learning goals, adventures, travel, creative goals, health and fitness, financial independence, how you are spending your time?

This long term vision can of course change over time, but it’s valuable to get some clarity on where you want to be going. Think big, be ambitious and give yourself permission to dream a little. The more you engage with the process emotionally, the more valuable it is like to be.

  • What will define success for you in the long term? How do you want to be spending your time in the future? Spend as long as you can on this step.

Decide your 3 – 5 priorities for this year

You can’t do everything straight away, and to attempt to make progress on too many things at once will mean that you make no meaningful progress on anything! You now need to decide on your key strategic objectives for this year. I would encourage you to aim for three but will allow (you high achievers!) up to five.

  • What are your 3-5 key goals/projects/priorities for this year?

  • What progress will you have made on each by Dec 31st?

Set your quarter goals

Now it’s time to get clarity on your next three few months. This step is so important and so often overlooked. The progress you can make in three months is substantial – but you need to be clear on what you’re focusing on first, and for that, you now need to pick your three priorities for your quarter. As Jim Collins eloquently puts it, “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any”

  • So, what are your 3 priorities for this Q?
  • What specific progress will you have made on each by end of next Q?
 Spend some time on this step, write your goals down and make these goals visible.

What next?

Now for an entirely different approach to planing your year, and that we’ll discuss in the next post: How to design your days, weeks and months.


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