5 min read
In yesterday’s post I shared my 2023 goals. Today I wanted to share a bit about my goal setting process. How I decide what I want my goals to be, how I work towards them and how I evaluate my success.
Step 1: Evaluating the current conditions
As briefly mentioned in yesterday’s post, my goal setting process begins with thinking through different categories of life. First, I assess. How do I feel about this particular area of my life? What is going well? What are the problems?
Below are all the categories I have come up with for myself. Some of these might not be relevant or important to you but maybe they are a helpful starting point to start thinking through your own life.
- Faith + Spirituality
- Marriage + Parenting
- Family + Friends
- Church + Outreach
- Blogging + Social Media
- Health + Fitness
- Hobbies + Creativity
- Reading + Learning
- Home, Admin + Finance
- Work + Career
So, for example, my evalution of my “family and friends” category is something like this: In the last year I met lots of great new people, which has been wonderful. I have really enjoyed living so close to my family and seeing more of them. However, I have struggled being quite far away from many of my long term friends, with whom I have deeper relationships. I have found it difficult to keep in touch and I have sometimes felt a bit lonely as a result.
Step 2: Casting vision
Then, I think about my long term vision. What is my dream for this area of my life? What would I like this to look like in 5 or 10 years?
Coming back to the example of family and friends: My dream is to have a group of girlfriends who really know and support me and for who I do the same in return. I want to be a great friend who remembers birthdays and celebrates milestones and gives good gifts and sends cards.
Step 3: Brainstorming action steps
It would be quite easy for me to come up with about 10 different goals for each of my categories, but that would obviously be too much. However, the next step in my goal setting process is to write down all the different goals or action steps that would help me get closer to my vision.
I could invest into my friendships by calling a friend every Wednesday night, hosting dinner parties, pre-buying birthday cards and creating reminders in my calendar, have a budget for gifts, schedule regular coffee dates…
Step 4: Setting priorities
I then look at that list and ask myself which goal I want to achieve the msot right now. My priority this year is to invest into some of my longstanding friendships.
It is very tempting to try and achieve everything immediately. Ideally, I also would like to get better at sending birthday cards. And hosting dinner parties is so much fun! However, if I commit to too many things, I know that something will fall off eventually. And maybe it will be the thing that is actually most important to me right now: to make sure that I keep my existing friendships alive.
Step 5: Goal setting
With the above in mind, I now want to set one actionable gaol for my frinedships. I chose this: call my two best friends at least once every month.
Step 6: Doing the thing
For the most part, setting the goal is the easy bit. After that is where things get interesting – doing the work! Here different things are helpful for different people. I like lists and calendars. In my bullet journal I add “call Y and H” as a task for each month. I then reach out to my friends and schedule a time which I then add to my calendar. This process helps me to make the goal happen.
The same goes for the other areas. I want to swim once per week. For this purpose I have a checkbox for each week in my journal and then schedule a time each week that I add to my calendar.
Step 7: Keep evaluating
The most popular time to set and review goals is around New Year’s Eve. However, in my experience it is essential to evaluate both my progress and my goals more often than that. Checking in to see how things are going and what is working allows me to make tweaks. Sometimes I change or add to a goal, sometimes I abandon one. Goals are a tool to help me live a good, full life. They are not an end in themselves.
So, part of my goal setting process is to regularly ask the questions from step 1: how do I feel? What is working? What could be improved?
I have learned a lot about goal setting from Elise Joy. She has a blog and sells a planner and also wrote a book on goal setting which I can highly recommend. (This is not a sponsored recommendation, just something I wanted to share!)
This is Day 3 of my 100 Day Project. You can learn more about my 100 day project by reading this post.