Continuing our series on goal-setting, this week we talk about a step-by-step process for setting goals.
Tip of the Week:
Don’t rely on your memory. Make it easy to write things down when you think of them, so you don’t have to use energy or attention trying to remember or worrying about forgetting.
Tool of the Week:
Drafts for iOS. A great app that lets you quickly capture any thought or idea and either save it for later processing, or send it immediately to your calendar, task manager, or any of a dozen other places. It’s for iOS only, but there are some Android-friendly alternatives to Drafts.
Topic of the Week: A process for setting goals
- Choose a time (or series of times) when you can spend some undisturbed time focusing on this process.
- Gather some materials – notebook and pen, calendar, beverage of choice, notes from your session spent identifying your key roles and relationships, your guiding principles (listen to episode 2 for more about this).
- Spend a few minutes praying, meditating, or whatever you do to calm, quiet, and focus your mind.
- Review your priorities/guiding principles–the areas you’ve identified as important. Look at the long-term objectives you’ve identified.
- Consider your calendar. Given your schedule, commitments, and obligations, how much time can you realistically devote to pursuing new goals?
- In each of your key roles/relationships, where do you want to be a year from now? Convert the general objective into a SMART goal.
- For each of these long-term (year) goals, brainstorm steps to get to the outcome you want.
- Take a break, then come back and review your list. Which goals to you have the resources (time, energy, enthusiasm, money, etc.) to pursue now?
- Choose no more than 3-5 goals to focus on at a time. Try for balance–don’t focus on one area to the detriment of other priorities, but respect the season of life you’re in.
- Make sure you have a meaningful why for each goal you choose: why this? and why now?
- Save the list of the others; you’ll come back to them later.
- Write them down and keep them handy, so you can review them daily, refine them as you go along.
A helpful resource: The Front Nine: How to Start the Year You Want Anytime You Want, by Mike Vardy.
What about you?
Can you add to or improve the goal-setting process I’ve described? Share your suggestions, or your questions, in the comments.Click here to discover my favorite apps!
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Alison Bryant says
Sorry about the delay! I thought I signed up for email updates about responses, but I must’ve gotten distracted before I did. =) Yes, I do have a partner now for writing goals. In fact, it’s someone I met at the same ACFW conference you and I both attended. It’s helping tremendously!
That’s excellent. How do you work together? Do you check in regularly, or just touch base when you need a “boost,” or . . . ?
We started just this month, but the plan is to check in regularly. We emailed each other at the beginning of the month with our goals for August. We both had a couple of succinct, straightforward goals. At the end of the month we’ll tell each other how we did and set goals for the next month. …And so on. It has already affected my writing for the better.
That sounds great. Something about being accountable to another person just helps motivate, doesn’t it? I’m so glad this is working for you.
Alison Bryant says
Hi, Laura! I enjoyed this podcast episode. Here’s a question: What suggestions do you have for accountability after you’ve set your goals? Do you share your goals with one or two people who will help along the way?
Alison – I’m glad you’re enjoying the podcast. And what a great question. The short answer is yes, I do. I will actually be talking about that as part of the next episode, when I address potential obstacles to achieving our goals, and how to overcome them. Do you have an accountability partner or someone that you look to for encouragement in this area?