Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Goal setting is an exciting activity and one that should be reviewed regularly throughout the year. I’ll go into the “why”s” throughout this post. But, the reason goal setting is so important is to provide purpose, structure, and answers. In essence, it helps you set yourself up for success.
Goal setting helps with strategy: in life, career, and business.
What’s your goal with life? We get one life, so we should really live it and get the most out of it! But, living the life you want takes knowing what you want, making decisions, means, and action.
That’s where goal setting comes in.
I always had “goals” but never really turned them into an action plan, schedule, and tasks to do until the last two years. It’s made a massive difference in my life – health, career, activities and much more. I’m more productive now but in a strategic way versus just being busy.
Let me tell you, going through my day feeling on purpose and heading in the direction I want feels amazing. I want to help you with goal setting, too!
Don’t have time to read the post right now?
Hit the button below to get my goal setting process template. The ultimate guide to effective goal setting all on one PDF!
Goal setting 101
So, you may be thinking, “yea sure, that all sounds great, but what exactly is goal setting?”
Goal setting is a process. You take time to decide what you really want to accomplish (think Spice Girls, “tell me what you want, what you really, really want), know your “why” for this decision, then devise a plan of action to achieve your desired result.
Then, you take your plan of action, break down the big buckets into smaller chunks, and schedule them into your day-to-day actions or tasks.
Now, planning is great and all. But, I don’t just want you to be a great goal planner.
The 12 Month to Nationals Community members are goal achievers.
To be an effective goal achiever, you have to do what you say you’re going to do. In short, keep the promises you make to yourself. This is the implementation phase.
It’s not always going to be necessarily easy or fun and there will be times when you have to push yourself.
When you do, it’s so worth it.
The goal setting process
Now that goal setting is defined, we can move onto the process piece.
Deciding what you want to accomplish can be a challenging exercise – at first. If you’re looking to go more in-depth, this is the planner for you! I’ll break down the basics in this post, too.
The important thing to remember for the goal setting process is that you’re working backward. We’re starting with the desired end result then building steps to get there. Creating benchmarks to track your progress is a great idea, too.
Pick an area of your life you want to focus on. Sure, you can say “all of it.” And, you should want to focus on every part of your life to create an amazing life.
In goal setting, each aspect needs to go through the goal setting process. So, while you may only start with one area right now, that just means you go through the process again with the next area.
In short, only pick one area right now.
Step one – what is the goal?
Let’s go through an example of the goal setting process.
Career is always a great area to set goals for. This can be for your current job or for deciding what step to take next in your career such as asking for a raise or for sponsorship.
First, ask yourself what you want to achieve in your career. Think big!
Do you want to run a Fortune 500 company? Become a principal at an elementary school? Lead the marketing department for a global e-commerce company? Have your own talk show?
Now is not the time to be humble or to allow ourselves to shrink our dreams, regardless of what society says or thinks.
At this stage in the goal setting process, it’s time to dream big. If your dreams don’t scare you, dream bigger.
So, ask yourself, and answer truthfully, what do you want to achieve in your career? Also, this can and will likely change over the years, which is totally fine, but start big with your current dream.
Step two – why is this the goal?
Why do you want to achieve the goal you’ve identified in step one?
This is not meant in a judgemental way The "12 Months to Nationals" Community does not judge).
Knowing your why is what’s going to push you on the tough days, on the days when you feel like giving up. Without a strong why, it can be tough to push through.
Note, there’s no wrong answer here. Just make sure it’s a strong answer.
If your why doesn’t compel you enough to take the next step and schedule everything out, or if it doesn’t get you excited about achieving your goal, keep searching for a stronger why.
Step three – how will you achieve this goal?
By now, you should have your what and your why. Time to turn that into a plan, the “how” step of the goal setting process.
At first, this can seem like a daunting step because it involves timelines, scheduling, and task-making. This will become a liberating exercise once you get the hang of it and start implementing because you’ll be moving through your days with purpose and clarity.
First, create a realistic timeline for when you want to achieve your goals. If you want to win a National or International title, become CEO of a Fortune 500 company, that may not happen overnight. But, it can happen with consistency, hard work and determination!
Write it down.
Then break up how you will get to the ultimate goal. Will you need experience managing teams or leading a division? Do you to gain specific experience or learn certain skills before that? Map it all out from where you want to be to where you are now.
Even if you’re not thrilled with where you are in your royal journey or career right now, knowing where you want to go, why you want to go in that direction, and mapping out how you will get there can drastically change mindsets and how situations are viewed. In every job you have, it’s good practice to ask yourself “what can I learn from this job?”
Your map will turn into tasks, smaller achievable action steps, that get scheduled onto your calendar.
Step four – schedule tasks for the goal
Scheduling can be a bit overwhelming in the beginning. I recommend taking your shorter-term goals from your map above and working them into your schedule.
Perhaps a goal is to study leadership styles. One example would be to read books on the subject of leadership.
Below is what it looks like to schedule that goal.
List out 5 books you want to read on the topic for the next year.
Pick the months you’re going to reach each book.
Put the book name in your calendar as an all-day event for the timeframe you’ve set for yourself to read the book.
Block off 30 mins, an hour, whatever time amount you decide, on a daily basis to read.
Maybe it’s an hour before bed. Maybe it’s on your lunch break. Putting it on the calendar serves as a reminder when you have choices before you: watch TV in the evening or read the book you said you were going to read.
Make a task for the book where the due date is set for the last day you’ve given yourself to read the book.
Marking a task as complete is an incredible feeling, but creating a task is totally optional.
Here’s an example:
Five books on leadership style to read this year (the following are examples):
The months I’ll read these five books:
January – Know Your Value
October – How To Win Friends and Influence People
Specific timeframes for each book:
January 1 – January 15 – Know Your Value
On the calendar – daily time blocks for 30 minutes in the evening before bed to read
Task – Read Know Your Value, due date January 15
There will be multiple tasks for each goal and many of them will be repeated often, if not daily.
If you need to take courses or trainings, schedule time to research trainings and courses related to the specific skill you’re looking at.
Ready to ask for a promotion?
You can schedule and plan and do everything in your power to get the results you want. Life will happen. A family emergency may come up so you miss out on a task you created for yourself. That’s okay. Maybe you catch a bad cold or have a friend call you that you haven’t spoken to in a long time and your schedule goes out the window. Know that it’s okay when these things happen and take it in stride. Control what you can, know what’s important, and get right back on schedule at the first chance you get.
Set goals, make a plan, achieve results
To become the person you want to be, you have to do the things you say you’re going to do. This means sticking to your schedule and honoring the appointments you made with yourself. It’s all in the decisions you choose on a regular basis.
Essentially, make your plan, stick to your plan.
You may notice an increase in a sense of purpose in your daily life. When you don’t feel like writing that article you said you were going to write, you’ll be able to ask yourself “why did I set time aside to write?” and you’ll be able to answer confidently with your why.
Ready to start goal setting?! Get comfy for 30 minutes or so. Grab a notebook. Have your calendar handy. Download my goal setting template. Let’s do this!