Ah that January 1 feeling of flipping open to the first page of a new planner. If you’re anything like us, putting pen to paper and making plans for the new year is the most exciting feeling.
We’d like to think we’re pretty good at this process so we’re dishing our five steps to planning for a new year. But not in the kind of way that you don’t remember what your goals are come March. Keep reading for all of our tips for goal setting that actually works!
1. Set Priorities
It’s easy to get ambitious with goal setting when the year ahead is a blank slate. But before you go full steam ahead, spend some time setting priorities to make sure you’re working toward goals that are actually important to you.
Maybe you’ve got some business or career goals you want to act on this year. Or maybe this is the year you’ll focus on your personal goals. Whatever it is, be as clear and specific as you can be.
There are lots of different methods to do this but we like the SMART method where you set a goal that’s:
This helps make sure you’re pursuing goals that you actually want to achieve!
And just as important as figuring out what is a priority is knowing what is not a priority. A “not to do list” if you will. In order to make something a priority, you’ll need to let go of some other projects or ideas you may have. Accepting this limitation can be really difficult so be aware of the things that could distract you from your priorities and remind yourself that you don’t have to do it all. In fact, you’ll probably be more productive if you focus on a small handful of things at a time.
2. Work in Sprints
We’ve all heard the famous Desmond Tutu quote, “There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” And this is especially true when setting out to accomplish your goals.
Looking at the endpoint or the span of twelve months can be daunting. But breaking things down into smaller tasks over a shorter period of time will make the process much more manageable.
We like to split our year into 3-month sprints and focus on just a couple of steps toward the bigger goal during a shorter period of time. You’ll see at the end of the year, that all of the small steps can get you big results.
At the start of the year, spend some time identifying the stepping stones in your goals and setting yourself up for your sprints.
3. Schedule Quarterly Evaluations
It’s only natural that as the year goes on, the clarity and focus you felt when you set your goals at the start of the year may fade. And that’s totally normal and okay!
To make sure you stay on track, we recommend setting quarterly check-ins. For bonus points, set those on your calendar at the start of the year so you stay accountable to yourself. At your check-in, review your goals and evaluate whether you’re on track. It’s a great time to reset and tap back into the excitement and motivation you felt in January.
4. Stay Flexible
While it would be nice to have a Magic 8 ball telling us exactly how the year will go, that’s not the case. Sometimes we need to change the plans, take a pause, or start over. So yes, set out with the plan you’ve set and show up consistently, but know that as the year unfolds, you may need to pivot. This is a natural part of the process.
5. Work Smarter
So you’re fired up to achieve your goal, but where do you find the extra capacity to do the work? A critical piece here is delegation. If you can, hand off the things you don’t like to do or the things that somebody can do as well (or even better) than you. This will leave you with time to do the things that excite you and that only you can do.
A virtual assistant is a stellar sidekick to take care of day-to-day things like managing your inbox, coordinating logistics, and onboarding clients while you focus your energy on making your moves toward your 2024 goals.
We’re so excited to embark on a new year, here’s to crushing our goals!
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