Forget the Resolutions: Strategic Goal Setting for Your Best Year Yet. No BS.
We are officially halfway through January - so you’d think those resolutions would be in full swing, right? Nope. As of Friday, also known as “Quitter’s Day”, the majority of those who set resolutions have already begun to notice a falter in motivation, and many have quit altogether.
I’ll start off by saying I hate new year’s resolutions. Call me a Debby downer I don’t care. They simply don’t work! Just look at that date - January 12. That’s barely two weeks, even less if you factor in the first few days of the new year when people are still recovering from the festivities. Every single year I see people make these HUGE (and let’s be honest, un-attainable at times) goals, go balls-to-the-wall, and then just stop. They return to their former habits, and somewhere inside fester self-hatred and negativity. It’s a really unhealthy cycle! And when it’s said out loud, it sounds pretty damn miserable, don’t you think? While I don’t like to set new year’s resolutions, I do however practice strategic goal setting all throughout the year. My mindset is that each day is a new opportunity for growth. Growth can be learning something new, practicing a new habit, working towards a promotion at work, trying a new food, overcoming challenges, even failing at a goal and learning from that failure. This alternative way of setting goals (or resolutions if you’d prefer to call them that) is not only much more sustainable, but also keeps you on-track all year long, grows with you as life changes, sets you up for success, and promotes self-love and success rather than self-loathing and failure. New Year’s resolutions are sexy and Instagram-worthy, sure. But they just don’t work. If you're reading this and thinking, “fuck that I love setting resolutions each year and always crush them” then good for you! Keep killing the game! Ignore me. I’m generalizing here, but this generalization relates to the majority of the population. I promise. If your reading, be honest with yourself. Really, truly, honest. Do you even remember what your resolutions were last year? If you do remember them, were they repeats of years before? Are your resolution this year the same as the last one’s because you didn’t achieve them? If you can relate and are sick of this frustrating and out-dated cycle, it might be time for a shift in mindset. That’s where strategic goal-setting comes in. I strongly believe in strategic goal setting, not only because I personally do it and love it, but because it actually works, and I see positive results when my clients use it. It keeps you on-track with your passion, vision, and long-term goals. It is sustainable. It meshes with any lifestyle. It is customizable to each and every individual. It promotes success. And like wellness, it helps to connect “separate” areas of life.
There are just a few simple steps to start strategic goal setting: Imagine your ideal life 1-5 years from now: career, relationships, finances, health, wellness, hobbies, home, how you feel, what you do, how you spend free time....anything you want! This is your vision.
Now we get into the goals. There are three basic kinds:
Long-Term Goals Medium-Term Goals Short-Term Goals
For your long-term goals, pick one big (but reasonable) goal for as many areas of your life as you want. I like to use the 8 dimensions of wellness as a guide (emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual). If there is a dimension that you don’t think you have any goals in regards to, just skip it. You may have only one or two long-term goals at a point in your life, or you might have five or six. This is completely up to you. The beauty of this process is that it can change and meld with you throughout life.
Next, list your long-term goals at the top of a large sheet of paper, or give each long-term goal it’s own sheet.
To derive you medium-term goals, look to your long-term goals, and brainstorm a few things you can do throughout the year to get to that goal. For example, if you have a long-term goal of landing a promotion at work: what are three important things you can work towards this year that will help you get to that goal? Medium-term goals generally span anywhere from 1-6 months.
Finally we get to the short-term goals. Where long-term is more on a 6-month to yearly basis, and medium-term is on a monthly basis, short-term goals are geared towards individual weeks and days. This is where everything starts to connect and contribute to your daily life. Personally, I like to set monthly short-term goals, usually with a theme in mind, and then based off of those themes, set even shorter-term goals on a weekly and daily basis. This may sound excessive, but the process is highly effective. Not only does it help you to stay on-track with your goals and vision throughout the year, but is an incredible way to reflect each day and ground yourself in a chaotic world. When you start to master the process, you will notice how these “separate” goals start to mesh and work together in your life. It’s beautiful. While the structure of strategic goal setting is rather rigid, there is so much flexibility and creativity built-in. I like to use a brainstorm pad, and then transfer the results over into my planner for weekly and daily goals. For long-term goals and visions, vision boards are a fantastic tool, especially if you are artistic or creative. Have fun with it, and make the entire process specials and unique to you. If you build the habit of taking the time to define your goals and strategically break them down, you will have the most productive and satisfying year of your life. I promise.
If this model is confusing or overwhelming to you, please reach out! Wellness coaching is a great tool to get some guidance and build off of these kinds of processes for even further success throughout every aspect of your life. I can’t wait to hear from you, and wishing everyone a very happy New Year!
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