We’re all familiar with the process of Goal Setting. The New Year is the traditional time to contemplate our future and decide what we want to achieve over the next 1, 5 and 10 years …
Sadly, this is often as far as people get.
The end of the year draws to a close and they are no closer to achieving their ideal lifestyle.
Goal Getting is the problem. We Set and Forget. Instead of Set and Get!
Goal Setting is:
– having clarity – knowing what you want
– investigate what it will take to have it – what action steps do you need to take?
Goal Getting is:
– taking the action steps towards your goals and
– reviewing your progress and updating your plan.
It’s this last bit that I’ll be covering today – how I go about planning and reviewing my goals.
I have battled with finding a system that works for me. So this year, instead of looking for something out there, I decided to create my own system. Work out what works for me. It will be a work in progress. Something I will evaluate and tweak on a weekly basis, based on my experience in the previous week.
I’m sharing with you what I’m currently doing and I’m encouraging you to take from it what works for you and leave the rest. Work with it and make it your own.
I’ll openly admit that I’m a planner and list creator. I love having a written plan to follow. It gives me direction.
If the thought of having a “To Do” list fills you with horror, and is too restrictive – don’t do it! Find a system that lights you up and gets the job done!
Instead of using a journal which I find limits the organisation, this year I have opted to use a lever arch file with dividers for my planning. That way I can add pages where I want and move things around without any restriction.
1. Start with the end in mind.
I like to start with an overview of the year.
I take 12 sheets of paper (1 for each month) and the first thing I schedule is “time out” time – a break from work. It doesn’t have to be a holiday where we go away, it can simply be time out at home relaxing and recharging your batteries. A combination of different breaks over the year based on what YOU need and enjoy. If you don’t allow for this first, work will expand to fill the time available and you won’t have any time for yourself. Not recommended.
Maybe you don’t get the timing quite right with your time off – that’s ok – you can adjust your plan for time changes. What you have done is factored in the fact that you will not be working 24/7/365. As much fun as your work is, everyone needs time out. Non-negotiable.
This year I am planning on a break of at least a week every quarter. Time when I know that I can chill out and relax. Drop the guilt of not working. Knowing that I’ve planned for it gives me the incentive to do the work that I plan for so that I have the freedom to just be (even though I aim for that every day!)
I then take the list of goals that I’ve created and I start writing down what I’m going to do in each month to bring me closer to my goal. I know when I want to achieve my goal by as that is part of the goal setting process so I take that time deadline into account with the planning.
I remind myself that I DO NOT have to start working on all of my goals in January.
By having the 12 months in front of you, you can see where you have a heavy load, and where you don’t and you can adjust accordingly.
It also allows you to see whether you are being realistic with your expectations or not.
We all want everything now and don’t allow for a lifetime of growth. Be happy with incremental growth and improvement.
Remember – if you do achieve your goals quicker than initially planned, you can always add more. But I’ve found by initially being over zealous, we tend to block our success and achieve less. We very quickly get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of action that needs to be taken and challenges that we meet when we have too many goals.
Make sure you are allowing for development in both your business and personal life. Ensure that you have some form of balance in your life. Balance is never a perfect equation. The amount of time devoted to different areas in your life adjusts to where you are in your life.
Being single and no children allows you to focus on your career more.
Having children and family brings additional relationships that need attention to the fore.
These all affect how much you devote to each area of your life. Do make sure that each area is attended to.
2. The 90 Day Plan
People overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in 10 years.
~ Tony Robbins
The planning that I do for the year is a general plan. I don’t go into the finer details for each month. There are too many unknowns for me to plan too far ahead. However much I may like my lists!
I prefer to look at a 90 day period and do a tighter plan around that time period.
I have an overview for what I want to achieve over the year.
I have plotted out the basics of what I’m going to do each month to work towards those goals.
Now I can start getting more detailed.
I take the goals that I’m working on in the next 90 days and I plot out what action needs to be taken each month for those goals. These action steps need to be more detailed as these are going to be plotted into the forthcoming weeks and days. You need to have an idea of how much time each step will take to complete. Overestimate the amount of time as I have found that things take longer than you anticipate! This gives you a buffer for unexpected delays as well.
Take your weekly schedules (and I deliberately don’t allow too much space on my weekly schedule, otherwise I stuff as much as I can into the day! Smaller space allows me to be more circumspect with my activities.) and again, as with your annual planning, allow for
– “breathing space”
– any other appointments or commitments you have
– only then plot in your tasks towards achieving your goals
Review the week and see how it makes you feel. If you’re going “Holy crap, how am I going to complete all of this work?”, then take a breather and reconsider whether this is resistance, or if you have been unrealistic in your planning. You don’t want it to be a total walk in the park otherwise you’ll never get anywhere, but you also don’t to be so stressed out that you feel ready to throw in the towel before you’ve even started.
It doesn’t take long for my schedule to go from a blank schedule to a very full and cluttered schedule.
Be prepared to give it a go. It’s only a week, and you’ll be reviewing your efforts at the end of the week and planning for the following week ahead based on what you experienced.
To make your life easier, try and batch similar tasks where possible.
3. The Secret Sauce: Regular Reviews
You’ve set your goals. You’ve planned the action steps and you’ve taken the necessary steps forward.
But it doesn’t all end there. Taking action is totally essential, but if you don’t review what you’ve done and where you are, you could be moving totally off course from where you think you’re heading!
Weekly reviews and planning are essential if you want to achieve the goals you’ve set.
Take some time to review your past week and to plan the upcoming week. Try and make it the same time every week. Yes, you already have an idea of what you’re doing, but it may need to be adjusted based on what happened in the past week.
Review your activity for the last week and ask yourself the following questions:
How did I feel during the week? You want to ask yourself this question first as your feelings give you feedback on how you’re going. Maybe you were terrified at taking a new, uncomfortable action, but there is still a feeling of exhilaration at having done it. Maybe you felt overwhelmed with the enormity of it all – do you need to chunk the steps down even more than what you have that you can do bite sized steps at a time that don’t feel overwhelming.
What went well during the week?
What didn’t happen? Why?
How do you want to feel in the upcoming week? Taking into account the above 3 questions, determine the feelings you want to experience (a la The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte), and plan accordingly.
Then look at the week ahead and consider:
– do you have any other commitments to allow for?
– do you have “white space” for time out?
– do you need to change anything based on what wasn’t achieved during the past week?
Really take the opportunity during this review and plan time to evaluate whether you are working towards something you still desire. Sometimes we set goals that aren’t our goals. They are goals that either other people are striving for and you think that they’ll make you happy, or somebody is pressurising you to achieve a certain goal. Either way your heart and soul isn’t into achieving it and it’s going to feel like swimming upstream. And you’re not going to be happy.
I do a similar review and plan at the end of each month. I like to summarise the following:
– what I enjoyed doing
– what I created (and, importantly, not feeling the need to create with a sense of purpose, other than to enjoy myself and experiment)
– what I read
– what I watched and
– what I completed.
This makes sure I’m taking time out for fun and not just focusing on work.
Consider the following questions:
– what did you achieve during the last month?
– how does this compare to what you had planned to achieve?
– are you on target to meet your goals? If not, why not?
– what do you need to improve?
– what do want to achieve in the next month?
– what steps do you need to take to achieve this?
You will already have an idea of what you need to do in the next month, but now is the time to re-evaluate where you are in the process and the steps that you had already planned. Do some steps need to be moved forward?
Add another month’s more detailed planning so that you still have a 90 day plan in action.
Flow through the 3 months that you have outlined and see how realistic your plan is.
Did you over or under estimate your capacity last month for what you could do?
Do you need to adjust according to last month or have you identified your distractions and worked out how to avoid them, providing yourself with more time to take action?
This is not a “tick the boxes” review, this is really feeling into it and being honest with yourself. It is not about beating yourself up because you don’t achieve as much as someone else. This is your journey and you go at the pace that is comfortable for you. Some weeks may be faster than others. Some weeks may produce more results. It is all perfect if you are working in alignment with YOU.
This then becomes a Rinse & Repeat process each month. Always keeping an eye on the next 90 days.
I create checklists of what I want to do on daily, weekly and monthly basis of my regular tasks. At the end of each day I review my day. It is a lot easier reviewing one’s day at the end than trying to recall at the end of the week how each day went. This allows you to make minor adjustments as required. It also assists with planning your next day (which I do the night before). Click HERE for a FREE copy of the planner and templates that I use. Feel free to adapt the templates to suit your needs and to adjust the questions. I am continually changing mine according to the current routine and the results I get. If it isn’t working for me, out it goes.
4. The KEYS to successful planning and reviews:
Clarity of what you want to achieve.
Plan when you’re going to take action.
Review your progress.
CELEBRATE your wins.
Adjust your plans as required.
Rinse and repeat.
Share below any tips you have for achieving your goals!