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 your 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.
OK, so we’ve established your long term, year and quarter goals, based on what is important to you. Now it’s important to examine your life from a different angle – your ongoing experience, or your lifestyle.
Goals are important as they help you become more self-directed. They help you design the life you want, live more in accordance with your values, and gain greater agency over how you spend your time. But there is a risk in being too goal orientated. You can lose sight of the present, and forget that the ‘good life’ is more about the journey than the destination. Besides, it’s no good achieving your goals if you spend most of your days unsatisfied, or unhappy.
All too often I notice people not spending enough time doing the things they love. Busyness is often to blame, but perhaps its because we’ve not yet acknowledged how important these things are?
- Look again at your values. What is most important to you? What do you love doing and how do you want to be spending you time?
Now design your ideal day
I’m not talking about a perfect day ‘off ’ – I mean, based on what’s important to you, what would a great day look like? Some food for thought: Do you currently start your day looking at your phone? What’s your morning routine? What do your lunch breaks look like? Are you still checking email after 8pm? 10pm? How do you spend your evenings? Are these all things you’ve chosen?
- What will your days be like?
Design your ideal week
Now what about a good week? What are the activities that you would like to do every week? Include professional and personal. Professional might include team coaching or 1-1s, planning, working on key clients, nurturing relationships.. personal may include time with people you love, evening with friends, going on dates, going to the gym or yoga, time spent reading, being creative..?
- What will your weeks be like?
Design your ideal month
You get the picture – what are the things you’d like (or need) to do each month?
Travel, adventure, experiences..?
- What will your months be like?
See how this ‘bottom up’ approach also provides a valuable perspective? It also ensures that while you have clarity on your goals, and are making progress towards the things you care about, you are also living your days, week and months in accordance with what is important to you
Putting it all together
You now need to consolidate it all – and this won’t necessarily be easy.
– Review your values again
– Check on your long term vision, year goals, quarter goals.
– Check on your ideal day, week and month.
- Now with a mix of realistic thinking and creative problem solving, make it all work together.
Have fun and enjoy the process, and I look forward to seeing you in the next video.
3 point review
- Establish your values
- Decide your LT, Y and Q goals, then define your ideal D, W and M
- Make it all work together