Every year around this time, we get our hopes up for the next year to be WAY better than what we just experienced. But inevitably, hope is never enough and another 12 months goes by without any glimpse of the success we dream of.
The good news is, we can put a stop to that vicious cycle right now. By creating a real actionable plan, it is possible to go after the life you want and have your best year ever.
If you’re wondering what steps I take every year to plan my best year ever, this is your ultimate guide. I’m sharing my 7-step process that’s effective and actionable in helping me go after the life I want!
My 7 Step Goal Planning Process
Step 1: Select your main area for growth
For this process, we’ll be focusing on the 7 GATLUW pillars to the life you want:
Assess each of these key areas for going after the life you want and score them based on how you feel you’re doing. Then, choose the one with the lowest score. (Or maybe you know which one is at the heart of your need for self-development. Go with your gut.)
Circle your growth area in your planner or write it down somewhere where you can keep track of it.
Step 2: Define your SMART goal for the year in that area of growth
A SMART goal can be defined as…
- S = Specific
- M = Measureable
- A = Attainable
- R = Relevant
- T = Time bound
Choose your SMART goal in the are you chose. This may take you some time to work out so it isn’t just an arbitrary goal, but be sure that it checks each of the important boxes that make it smart.
This is your #1 goal to focus on for the year. Everything you plan will revolve around making this happen.
Step 3: Write your #1 goal in the corresponding section you circled in your planner
Be sure to keep your goal front and center so you don’t lose your focus!
Step 4: Define your Boss Move
Setting a goal is half the battle. The thing that’s going to actually push you to success is the action you take.
Think about your goal and choose what your #1 Boss Move is to swing the odds significantly in your favor. (I say significant, but the move doesn’t necessarily have to be that crazy. It can be something small that when you do it (or don’t do it) consistently enough, big things happen.)
- “I never use credit cards for food.”
- “I only use credit cards for emergencies.”
- or… just put your credit cards in the freezer and stop using them 🥶
Step 5: Brainstorm additional SMART goals for the year that contribute to each of the goal areas
Remember: The R in relevance must be that it supports the #1 goal!
You’ll notice that there are those other areas still that you may feel you’re doing better in, but still need a little attention. You are going to grow in these areas as well this year, but in a way that is contributing to the #1 goal.
If we try to do too much, we get overwhelmed and won’t get anything done. Focus on the #1 thing, but find other ways to support it.
- Health: Budget only $75 per month for eating out (non-grocery store meals)
- Mindset: Define my morning routine and start every day (at least 5 days per week) on my terms
- Career: Side-hustle $100 per week ($5200 toward credit card goal)
- Relationships: Connect once per month with an accountability partner
- Spirituality: Write a new entry in a gratitude/happiness journal 1x/week
- Legacy: Contribute $25 per month to a cause you care about
Step 6: Define your quarterly milestones
It’s exciting to see a big goal for the year, but you have to make it more real but taking one step at a time. Reverse engineer your quarterly checkpoints so that you can see where you need to be as you progress throughout the year.
Step 7: Schedule your success
Don’t let this exercise live in an unused stack of papers you never look at again. Make sure this information is handy all the time — and make the time to focus on the results.
Schedule quarterly checkpoints and planning sessions for yourself to focus on your goals. During this time, you’ll review your quarterly milestones and plan what you’ll do over the next 3 months to get to that goal. You’ll also review your previous milestones to see if you achieved them.
Your first quarterly session will be sometime after you do this exercise so you can plan how you’re going to go after those Q1 milestones. Then, schedule 3 additional appointments for as much time as you feel you need. (I also schedule monthly reflection time to check on progress and strategize the monthly goals that are going to get me closer to my quarterly milestones.)
QOTD: What goal are you focusing on in 2021?