I’m really into goal setting.
I always thought of myself as Type B, but I think I’m further on the Type A spectrum than I realized, or running a business has made me that way.
Setting goals works best if you get really specific.
I do this in three phases:
PHASE 1: LOFTY GOALS
I think deeply about what I actually want to accomplish in the next year. This process usually takes me about a week, and I mull it over while I’m cooking or driving or whatever.
When I have really nailed down what I want and why (bigtime thought into the why), I’m ready to get my goals dialed.
I use three pieces of paper. On the first piece, I write “BIG GOALS FOR 2017.”
Here, I list the one or two goals I have for the year. 1. Write a book. 2. Be in the best shape of my life.
These are great, but I can’t stop here because they’re too vague and they don’t have deadlines or numbers assigned to them.
So I grab the second piece of paper and move into:
PHASE 2: Yeah, but HOW.
This is where I get really specific.
I figure out what it will take to write a book— like writing every day and what that will look like and what changes I need to make to create the time and headspace for that. I also give my fitness goals measurable numbers— be able to do 15 pull-ups by December 1st of next year. Do yoga at home 4 days a week and lift heavy at the gym 3 days per week. I even added a category called “Shred Goals” where I detail when and how I am going to get my snowboarding in.
Get as specific as possible, and list all the details you can think of.
PHASE 3: Schedule it.
On the third piece of paper, make a calendar showing the seven days of the week, and schedule all those little details from phase two. You can no longer use the excuse of “I don’t have time” because of course you do if you schedule it.
(Tip: I make goal setting schedules every season because I’m very seasonal activity-based. This schedule accommodates my winter recreation, and a summer schedule will accommodate longer days and mountain biking. That might work for you, too.)
For my winter schedule, I realized I could get up one hour earlier and do yoga every morning followed by making coffee and immediately opening my laptop to start writing without ever touching my cell phone or opening any emails. These two goals will be accomplished before the sun even comes up every week day. I also figured out which evenings are the best for the gym and which days are the best for snowboarding, and I wrote them in. Nothing will change in my work schedule. I’m not giving anything up. I’m just waking up an hour earlier and being a little more mindful with my time. You can do it, too.
Then you just have to do it. Stick to it!
You can have your significant other (or kids or whoever you love in your life) do this exercise, too, and then you can coordinate how to support each other’s goal reaching. For me, that looked like picking one morning per week where my manfriend and I get to hike up the mountain together before work.
I also have a business version of this process where I set goals and milestones for the business, both financially and creatively. I have my employess come up with individual business goals that support the big picture vision of the company goals. And then we figure out how to accomplish them together.
I’ve learned though, to create personal goals first that have nothing to do with work, and get those dialed before delving into the business goals. Making time for yourself is key and having a robust set of interests outside of work is important to cultivate creativity and preventing burnout.
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