It’s that time of year again; resolution setting and goal planning to map out your year ahead. Whether you call them goals, resolutions, or intentions, January 1 is a completely arbitrary reset and yet is a convenient reminder for us to re-evaluate and take stock. Anything that results in us reflecting inward a bit more is a pretty good thing in our book as long as you are kind to yourself along the way. Often we try to use our January goals to make up for the year we just had, and while that’s optimistic (and the optimism behind the “new year” trend is something I love), it’s not always the most effective plan.
We want to help set you up for success with your goals, by making them something you can stick to. I asked our co-founder, Jodi Wellman, to help clarify the best way to stick to your goals and why it’s important to bring other people in on it with you. With her advice and the free downloadable tool at the end of the article, you are already two steps closer to your resolutions this year.
1. What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to setting goals?
I think the key is to try not to let them make us crazy. So many of our clients dread goal setting because it’s often code for “another thing to fail at.” What if goals could be motivating and energizing? The only way to tap into that good stuff is to spend time focusing on what you want out of the goal… why it’s so important to you in the first place. Keeping your eye on the prize of the end result is what keeps us engaged– like imagining how you’ll feel when you’ve reached the President’s Club in 2019 at your company, getting up on the stage to bask in the glory. Or the feeling of getting that promotion, or acquiring seven new clients, or being more vocal and building your confidence in meetings.
And if setting goals still feels suffocating to you, then skip them and focus on how you want to feel instead (like how Danielle LaPorte suggests)… what five feelings do you want to have by the end of 2019? Inspired? Successful? Confident? Calm? Energized? Present? Leader-ly? You get the idea.
2. Why do you think it's important to develop an external support system for your goals?
Goals are hard to set, let alone stick to. Asking people you know to help hold you accountable can make the difference between achieving the goal and feeling badly about not even coming close. Announcing your goal to a group can make it real and put you in a position to have to deliver. Good intentions can go awry in a hurry when you don’t have someone who cares about whether you’ve achieved that important thing or not– like taking that extra class or starting that development program or talking to your boss about ways to advance. Even if you have to pay that person to care, like coaching, it’s so much more impactful than going solo.
3. How can you use the people you already have in your network?
Don't be shy-- ask friends, colleagues, and even your team if you're a leader. One of our Happy Spectacular clients just told his team about his goal to be prepared and on time for every meeting, so it’ll be kind of hard for him to waltz in 5 minutes late without an agenda for his Monday status meetings. They’ll hold him to it. Stick is an app that some people like, if you don't mind being harassed. If you’re worried about asking for help, offer your assistance as well. Offer to be accountability buddies so this doesn’t turn into a one-way relationship. As your partner starts to succeed on their goals, it might even be the extra push you need to keep you going.
4. How can you find and connect with new people to help you, and how do you approach that?
Find another eager person, who you know has an ounce of ambition, and offer to become accountability partners that meet by phone or text or email each month to report on what you accomplished, and what you want to be held to for the next month. Pitch the idea by sending an email that says, "Does this interest you?" If it doesn't, who cares? Onto the next person, maybe someone with two ounces of ambition this time. (Winn Clark, one of our amazing coaches, did this exact thing when I had just met her. Thankfully I said, “Hell yes!” to her, because it has been remarkable.)
5. What is the best way to use people to help you reach your goals? Should they be accountability partners? Editors? Cheerleaders?
Any of the above is great. Partners works well because everyone wins. Sometimes you need a bully to call you on your excuses, so it's less about the role the person plays and often more about the style you need.
6. Any last goal thoughts?
Like in business, where every goal needs to align with the master plan/ strategy. Make sure your goals make sense in the broader picture of your life. Your Big L, life master plan… your life strategy. If you’ve identified that you want a mindful, zen-ish life that’s centered around working at a slower pace, then maybe you need to refine your goals if they’re all about achievement and action, and a lot of Soul Cycle classes. My theme for the year is about intensity, boldness, and action, so I’m taking the goal to meditate five times a week off my list. I might regret that, but I can always reevaluate my goals in March and edit as needed. That’s another thing—goals can change. Edit ruthlessly in the pursuit of feeling spectacular!
Feel free to use this downloadable SMART goals worksheet to help you break down your goals into bite-sized pieces that are more manageable:
Do you have any more specific questions about how to reach your 2019 goals? Share them in the comments, and one of our coaches will respond! Or, if you feel like you need more one-on-one help, fill out our contact form here.