A Guide To Goal Setting

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I love writing lists. My favorite part, of course, is checking things off my list. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel after successfully completing a task. Each task or chore finished brings me one step closer to reaching my goals.

While I normally do my goal setting in the fall, things have gone better than I could have ever thought, so I need to set some new goals!

Because I get such great feedback and a lot of questions about my goal setting process, I am going to share my goal setting process with all of you. This process isn’t exactly unique.  While I have always approached my personal goals and work projects like this, you will find this process on other parts of the Internet. Some people may even charge you for a goal setting workbook. Or you may even see this type of planning in a project management course in your MBA program.

Visioning/Self Exploration

You will be tempted to skip this first step. You make think it isn’t relevant or that you already know what you want. I challenge you to do it anyway. You may be surprised at the results. I know I certainly was.

  • Visioning/Self exploration
    • What would you like to change?
    • How can you make those changes?
    • If you could do anything, what would it be?
    • What is keeping you from that thing? What is stopping you?

Year Overview

In the next step, you will be paving a road map for your year. Go through the months and write down major events, holidays, trips, and seasonal items.
  • Year Overview
    • Go through each month and write down tentative deadlines and events, plan backwards if needed
    • Example
      • January Whole 30
      • February Ski Trip
      • March Birthday Celebration
      • and so on….

Quarterly Focus

Now that you have a basic road map, the year is going to be divided another way. Sometimes it takes longer than a month to make headway. By diving your year into quarters and focusing on one thing, you can make real progress.
  • Quarterly Focus
    • Break your year down into quarter segments
      • I do mine with the season, but you could do 90 day segments if that works better for you
    • For each quarter focus on one thing
    • Brain storm/ brain dump goals
    • Create  2-3 goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time bound

Projects and Tasks

Here is where things start to get a bit more specific. You will take each of the quarterly goals and come up with projects to support those goals. Then you will break it down father into tasks for each project.
  • Projects and Tasks
    • What projects do you need to do to complete these goals
    • What tasks are needed to complete the project


With everything planned you are on your way to achieving your goals. However, writing down a plan isn’t enough. You have to focus on your plan and commit to sticking to it.
  • Focus/Commitment
    • Make a commitment to yourself and your goals.
      • Stay focused on one thing at a time
      • Plan out your work
      • Find accountability
      • Eat your frog first each day, do your hardest 1-2 tasks first each day
This five step goal planning process can be used for more than personal goals. It is great for work goals, project management, and event planning. Also check out this post on reevaluating your goals.
A Guide To Setting Goals
Want to crush your yearly goals? Check out this step by step guide on goal setting. #goaldigger #goalsetting

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