HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Can you believe how quickly last year flew? Can you also believe it’s already time to set goals for the new year? I sure can’t. 2017 was full of so many incredible adventures – our honeymoon to Atlantis in the Bahamas, swimming with the pigs in Exuma, dogsledding in Breckenridge, snowmobiling to the continental divide, wedding dress shopping for my sister, our first family vacations, and the list goes on. I’m so grateful and blessed to have had such an incredible year.
Despite one of the most epic years of my life coming to a close, I was beyond excited when we counted down the last 10 seconds of the year – TEN… NINE… EIGHT… SEVEN… SIX……………………………………………….
THREE….TWO…ONE. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! The noisemakers, horns, excitement and energy completely filling the room around us made me more excited than I’ve ever been for a clean slate! This is going to be my year!
New Year, New You!!!
Enough about me – let’s talk about you. You know what they say… “New Year, New You!”
Girly, have you set goals yet? If so, are they something like this?
- Lose 20 pounds.
- Land a better job.
- Volunteer more.
- Go on a vacation.
- Make $10,000 more dollars this year.
That is how I used to set goals. Most of my friends seem to set New Year goals and resolutions in a similar fashion. You know what I have to say about goal setting??!! Out with the old, and in with the new!! I want to help you set goals and tactics to reach those goals unlike you have ever done before. Consider trying some of the goal setting tips I’ve laid out below. If you do, I guarantee this year will your most productive and fruitful year yet.
Tip #1: New Year Focus Word
Earlier this week, I posted a selfie with my word for the year. Yep, I totally went there (thanks to my mentor Nellie). I picked a word that I am going to focus on for the entire year – Intention. I want to do everything that I do with intention: intention to take action and get closer to my long term vision.
Have you come up with your word for this year yet? If not, I strongly encourage you to take a few minutes and visualize where you want to end the year. Then, sit there and think about powerful words that will get you to where you want to be. A few words that might hit home for you are commitment, freedom, self worth, consistency, and relentlessness. There are no limits – with a little brainstorming I have no doubt that your word will pop into your head and click. You will know when you find the one!
Tip #2: Break Goals Down into Quarters
When going into the new year, so many of us say – “I’m going to earn $X amount of dollars this year.” Great, you’ve set a goal, but a lot of the time what new years goals and resolutions lack is a set of tactics and tasks that are going to get us to our goals by the dreaded deadline. I have been through the corporate goal setting process for several different companies since graduating from Ohio State in 2009. All of the corporate annual goal setting processes that I’ve ever been a part of have one thing in common – a lack of planning. You see, in order to execute, annual goals must be broken down into manageable chunks, so we are not all in a scramble during the last couple of months of the year to hit our annual targets that are now so far out of reach.
What do I mean by manageable chunks? I mean – if your goal is to earn $100,000 during the course of the year, you break that down into measurable mini goals. This year, I decided to set 12 Week Goals. With 52 weeks in a year, I have my goals broken down into four 12 week targets, giving myself a one week break in between each of the 12 weeks.
To go back to our $100k example: If I was following this 12 week goal setting plan, I would say in the first 12 weeks of this year, I will earn $25,000. Instead of focusing on that $100k figure, I’m going to figure out what I need to do during only the first 12 weeks of the year to get myself to that $25k. At the end of the 12 weeks, I can assess my results – figure out what worked and what didn’t, and readjust my plan for the next 12 weeks. You see, this is more effective then failing week after week after week for 52 weeks in a row until it’s time to set goals again for the new year.
Setting a goal is one thing, but executing on that goal is another, which brings me to a few more pieces of advice.
Tip #3: Only Focus on Three or Four Key Goals at a Time
If you choose to take on much more than this, you will quickly realize there is not enough time in the day to actually execute on your goals. You’re probably saying, but wait – this year I want to read 12 self development books, lose 50 pounds, start that business I’ve been thinking about, plan the wedding of my dreams, dominate the world, run a marathon, annnnd volunteer 20 times. Those are all great goals, but do you realize how much time, focus, and energy losing 50 pounds really takes? Eating good and working out today is great, but not having the time tomorrow due to volunteering, or the next day because of wedding planning is not going to get you there.
Besides money goals (earn $X, save $X, pay down $X, donate $X) and daily personal development reading, I only have three 12 week goals set for the first quarter of this year, and girlfriend, you better believe that’s more than enough to focus on outside of my 9 to 5 job.
Tip #4: Create 3 to 5 Tactics to Help Achieve your 12 Week Goals
Let’s talk more on the execution of your goals. Having a goal is a starting point, but executing on it is where so many of us get hung up. What we need is a core set of tactics for each goal that we will commit ourselves to sticking to and completing.
For example, let’s talk about losing 50 pounds in 12 weeks. What are some key actions that you can do to help with your weight loss? Some ideas that come to mind are:
- Drink 64 ounces of water per day
- Work out for 30 minutes, 5x per week
- Limit caloric intake to 1400 calories per day
- Get in 70,000 steps per week
These are examples of tactics, actions that you can stick to that will help you make progress in getting the weight off. This example that I’ve given is a pretty basic, bread and butter one. You’re probably thinking duhhhhh – I know I need to work out to lose weight.
What I’ve realized though, is that so often, we are focused on the measuring piece… enough that we are often not doing the actions that create the results we desire. Enter Tip Numero Cinco!
Tip #5: Commit to Completing 3 Key Actions Every Single Day
This is where the execution truly happens. You have your word for the year. You have your goals planned out. You’ve listed out the actions you need to commit to in order to reach your goals. What does that leave? You must hold yourself accountable for completing those tactics. A system that my mentor introduced me has been working wonders for me. At the beginning of each day, I declare 3 things that I must get done outside of my regular job. I write them down in my planner (which actually has a spot for me to write my daily top 3!!!) As the day chugs along, I check each item off as I get it done.
This does two things. It keeps my goals at the front of my mind, and it holds me accountable for getting 3 tactics done every single day. To give you an idea, today, my top three are:
- Write and publish blog post.
- Complete 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of lifting
- Schedule Pinterest pins for the week
Sure, there are other things I needed to get done today. I had to drink 64 ounces of water, trim Buckeye’s hair, and make chicken wings for lunch. However, I typically try to at least knock out my top 3 on a daily basis and cross them out. My top three are the things I really need to focus on in order to reach my goals. If I spend all of my time on things that are not in my list of tactics, my goals just flat out are not going to happen. This method forces me to take action every single day! You see, when we take action, we get results!
Tip #6: Take 20 Minutes on Sunday to Reflect and Plan
The final step to making big strides toward your targets involves both measuring and planning. I have all of my 12 week goals listed out in the first column of an excel workbook. Under each goal is that goal’s list of daily and weekly tactics, as well as one off tasks that I want to get done during the 12 weeks. Additionally, there is one column for each of the twelve weeks, where I can mark each of the tactics and tasks as complete, in progress, or no progress. While I want to get everything in this spreadsheet done every single week, getting 80% done will likely bring me much closer to my goals than I ever would’ve been without this system.
It’s during this 20 minutes of planning that I reflect and measure where I’m at for each of my goals. I try to think about what is pushing me closer to my goals and what just isn’t working. This way, I know where to focus my energy in the upcoming week.
During this planning session, I also plan out my three daily tasks for the upcoming week. To be able to see at a glance, where I need to focus has been very helpful for me.
I also write out a weekly task list in my planner for when time allows me to do more than my daily three. I can just look at that list and get to work on one of those items when I’m able to.
Tip #7: Read the 12 Week Year
Is all of the above clicking? Are you thinking to yourself, “Wow, I really need to start setting my goals and tactics using this method.” Do you set goals but not the tactics that you need to complete to hit those targets? I have a confession to make. I was that girl. As part of the mentorship program I am in for this year, we were asked to read the 12 Week Year. It is a very short read that could be read in an afternoon on the beach. This book completely blew my mind and changed the way that I approach goal setting. In fact, the majority of the tips listed above are takeaways that I learned from the book.
I strongly encourage you to dig into this book if you are set on making a change to how you set and reach your goals.
Remember – The World is your Oyster
There you have it friends. I just wanted to share some of what is working for me right now when it comes to goal setting. I hope you are feeling inspired and ready to knock this year out of the park. You can do whatever you put your mind to, with a little planning and a whole lot of action. Remember, the world is your oyster!
I challenge you to share in the comments below how you approach goal setting. What currently works for you and what have you tried in the past that hasn’t worked so well? If you don’t really have an approach to setting your goals, do you think this 12 Week Year system is something that could work for you?