2020 is here and in full swing, friends. I don’t know how YOUR 2019 went but I do know one thing: if you’re thinking ‘new year, new me’, then you better have a plan. No plan in sight? Then it’s more like ‘new year, same you’. 

Ouch, right?

Truth hurts, baby. But don’t worry, I come in peace—and actually I come bearing gifts: a fool-proof 7-step plan to goal setting.

Why Should I Set Goals?

Now you may be wondering, “what’s the point?” right?

Well, science doesn’t lie, friends —–> People that take the time to set goals are more successful.

In fact, a 2015 research study showed that when people wrote down their goals, they were 33% more successful in achieving them over people who simply thought through the outcomes in their heads.

Ready to set… and hit… goals like a pro? Let’s do this!

How to Achieve Your Goals

I should probably smack a big old DISCLAIMER on this section—and if I could I would attach bright red blinking arrows. I can’t do that, so read this part carefully: If you were to Google “steps to goal-setting”, you would be inundated with information and theories of how many steps it actually takes. I’ve read some with 10 steps and others claiming 3 is the magic number. As for me, I fall somewhere in the middle there.

So, combining my own personal experience and the brains of some of the top experts in the world, I’ve distilled the steps into the following 7 actionable steps for effective goal-setting. Plus, I just like the number 7.

Setting Goals In 7 Steps

Step 1: Take Stock of Where You Are Currently (And Where You Want to Achieve)

This first step here CANNOT be overlooked. Don’t just skip ahead to writing down your goals without truly taking the time to assess where you are in life currently. I highly suggest scheduling some time away just for yourself without distractions. 

From there, you can linger in your thoughts a bit before you write out different parts of your life you need to see change in. For example, you could set the categories to be: family, health, work, friends, personal development. Then write a number from 1 (the lowest) to 5 (the highest) indicating how satisfied you are with each of those areas.

Step 2: Write It Down

Now with your areas of focus prioritized, start writing down goals for each of those areas. Don’t overthink this part as we’ll refine in the next step. Simply start listing everything you feel you need to do, or would like to do, to improve each area.

Step 3: Dial In

Next it’s time to dial in to each goal. In this previous blog, I wrote about bucket lists and how setting hard and fast goals helps us to remain focused, over losing momentum and attention with vague goals.

The 3 things you want to make sure of is that each goal is:

  • Focused 
  • Measurable 
  • And, Realistic

Step 4: Make An Action Plan

You’re doing GREAT! Now that you have specific goals outlined, it’s time to make a game plan for how you’re going to accomplish them. Leaving it open-ended or without a strategy is only setting yourself up to put them off or forget about them completely.

As an example, if you have business goals that include increasing your community and/ or strengthening brand awareness, then a marketing strategy that outlines how and when you’re going to market your services or launch new ads would be a concrete action plan.

Step 5: Overcome Limiting Beliefs

OK, now for some tough love. Unless you have the mental fortitude of a Jedi (can you tell that Star Wars is rather popular in this house full of boys?), you are likely going to hit a snag in your journey thanks to limiting beliefs. These are things we say to ourselves—even if we don’t know we’re saying or thinking them—such as…

  • “I’m not smart enough to…”
  • “No one wants to hear about my…”
  • “I don’t have the skills or resources to accomplish…”

So on and so forth. Basically it’s the mean girl inside your head… and we need to kick that catty chica to the curb, y’all.

So here’s what I want you to do: write out ALL THE REASONS YOU THINK YOU WILL FAIL—and then write down all the reasons why YOU ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT. Maybe doodle all over that first list … draw a mustache and devil horns on it. Then decorate that second list with lots of hearts. And smiley faces.

You’ve got this!

Step 6: Set Check-In Dates

With your action plan in mind of WHEN you’re going to accomplish your goals, set interval times to check in and assess your progress. For example if you have a one-year goal of quitting a bad habit, then a monthly check-in at the beginning of the month could be beneficial. If you have a one-month goal however, you’ll likely need to check in with your goal once a week. And while the thought of this might make you feel uneasy, I promise all it takes is one acknowledgement of progress to get you feeling pretty amazing.

Step 7: Remain Accountable

Finally, it’s important to hold yourself accountable… but also to seek support for accountability. The check-in’s from the previous step will already help to provide self-accountability but try getting outside folks to help, too.

For example you could…

  • Get an accountability or pacing partner and check in at predetermined times.
  • Share your goals on social media (you may even inspire others)!
  • Get a group of friends together to hold one another accountable and/or have a fun competition to see who hits their goals first.
  • Join a program that holds regular meetings so you feel supported on your ventures.
  • Set milestone victory awards for yourself so you have something fun to look forward to. Hello, how fun is that part?!?

The biggest piece of advice is to just start. Not next year. Not next month. TODAY.

Alright. It’s go time, y’all. Let’s go ahead and set those goals, girl!