Happy New Year!
January is certainly the time to get excited about the year ahead, so if you haven’t already spent some time thinking about your goals for this year, make sure you dedicate a few hours in the next couple days and be clear about where you want to be by the end of the year.
Effective goal setting isn’t necessarily a simple process but here are my top three tips or principles to help you get clarity on your year goals and if you spend a bit of time doing each one, I can guarantee you will have a greater sense of purpose, and a greater appreciation of your priorities for the next 12 months.
1. Establish your long-term vision
Becoming completely clear about your long-term vision or goals is the first step. For some people long-term will be three years, for others it will be 10. However the principle is the same – start with the end in mind and work backwards.
Spend as long as you can on this step. At a minimum I would recommend 10 minutes.
Begin with paper and a pen and simply start to write down your long-term goals, or describe your ideal future. Be ambitious, think big and give yourself permission to dream a little.
Consider your career and financial goals, of course, but remember to include your personal goals including health and fitness, creativity, learning and skill development, personal development, lifestyle and how you want to spend your free time.
2. Decide on the main 3 to 5 priorities for this year
You can’t do everything straight away, and to attempt to make progress on too many things will only mean that you make no meaningful progress on anything!
This is where you now decide on your key strategic objectives for this year. I would encourage to aim for three, but will allow (you high achievers!) a maximum of five.
Ask yourself what are the things that are most important for this year and that you feel should be done first.
I expect your long-term vision to have more than 3 to 5 aspects to it – in fact I feel it probably should. But some things necessarily need to be put on the back burner or ‘not yet’. For your long-term vision, you should be strategic about how you make progress towards each of your objectives and right now you should be aiming for complete clarity on the specific things you work towards in the next 12 months.
To do this, the key word is, prioritise. And as Jim Collins so eloquently puts it, “if you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any”
3. Create specific goals for each of your priorities
Ask yourself what progress specifically will you make on each of your 3 to 5 priorities by December 31st of this year. Be realistic and unambiguous – how will you know if you achieve said goal?
Spend some time on this step and write your goals down. The research is clear and unsurprising. Written goals are more effective than goals that stay in your head. Once you can clearly visualise your vision, priorities and year goals I would encourage you to make these goals visible. Somewhere you will see them regularly, like your desktop.
These simple steps, if done well will inevitably give you greater clarity on your goals and make progression towards these goals more likely. But creating specific end of year goals is just one step towards effective goal setting. The next thing is to turn these goals into processes. Think about how you can break these goals into steps, habits or smaller time frames.
Goal setting is clearly important, but arguably of greater importance is your capacity to break your goals into processes because only when you do this do you ensure that you make meaningful and consistent progress towards the things that are important to you.
We’ll discuss this in the next video.
But first get clarity on the three steps above. Have fun and enjoy the process, and I look forward to seeing you in the next video.
Best of luck,
3 point review
- Establish your long-term vision
- Decide on the main 3 to 5 priorities for this year
- Create specific goals for each of your priorities