Is your stomach full of excitement right now? Or is it more of a jumble of butterflies?
If you’re anything like us, it’s a bit of both. This time of year brings SO many emotions. From the tantalising joy of the holiday season to countless social distractions. And between it all, these little flickerings of inspiration pop up…
Dreams for the future. Plans for the new year. Ideas that need to be listened to.
So how do you take it all, untangle the web of inspiration and actually make it happen? Cue: your new year goal-setting process. Let’s get stuck in.
New year goal setting step 1: to go forward, first you must look back
It’s so tempting to jump straight into new beginnings. It’s what the world’s telling you to do, after all (hello New Year’s resolution articles in every magazine).
But fun as that is… that doesn’t actually get you your goals.
Because when you put your blinkers on and just look in one direction, you’re ignoring all the lessons behind you. You’re ignoring your past.
Start with your reflection
Before you set any new year goals, set aside some time to reflect and review your last 12 months.
Start with the facts, what happened?
What felt like a win?
What felt like a loss?
What was really hard to achieve?
What do you want to change?
What do you want to keep for the new year?
You can use all these lessons to set your new year goals. You’ll use them to decide what those goals are, when you aim to achieve them and how you hope to get there.
New year goal setting step 2: remove all limits
If anything was possible, what would you want to achieve in the new year?
This might seem like a strange place to begin. After all, there’s a lot of talk out there about being realistic (and we’ll get to that later in the process). But here’s the thing: we’re pretty sure you’re playing it too small right now.
Too often, we restrict ourselves. And we do it without even realising. We focus on the track we’ve always been on, instead of thinking outside the box about what we really want to do.
So first, let your mind wander. Fantasise your limitless year and write it down.
New year goal setting step 3: make it possible
This is the part where you get realistic. We want to turn those big dreams of yours into achievable goals. It’s about finding the balance between being realistic and avoiding playing it too small.
Take a long hard look at the ideas you wrote down in step two. What version of these can you achieve in the next 12 months?
Create three big goals for you to achieve by the end of the new year.
If you like, you can create a series of stretch goals, to be achieved if everything goes to plan. And a series of baseline goals, which feel realistic if things go a little awry. Remember, there’s only so much you can control about your year!
New year goal setting step 4: turn your goals into milestones
There’s absolutely no point in aiming for one giant goal to be achieved over 365 days.
You won’t know that you’ve missed the mark or need to change course until the year’s nearly out. Meaning you're far more likely to miss out on achieving that goal altogether. And that’s not what we want for you.
You (and your goals) deserve better than that.
Instead, turn each of your three goals into a milestone to be achieved each quarter. You’re going to break the goal down into four key stages, and review your progress towards them at the end of each season.
Consider these as your moment to pause, learn and review. You can check out our Power of 3 goal guide to help you with this.
New year goal setting step 5: create a plan to make it happen
You’ve got your goals. You’ve set your milestones to hit along the way. Now it’s time to make it all happen.
You’re not on your own here. This isn’t a case of you stepping outside on 1st January and making all your dreams come true. You can take a toolkit with you.
What support do you need?
What mindset will help you see success?
What tools would you like to take with you?
What resources might make your process a little easier?
What time will you need to make it happen?
What space (physical or emotional) do your goals require?
What energy will you need to stay consistent?
List it all out and create a plan to give those seven things to yourself. They’re going to make your new year so much easier.
New year goal setting step 6: predict the hurdles
Life rarely goes to plan. So much of it is unpredictable. There’s so much out there that we can’t control.
But, when you look back at your lessons from the last 12 months, there are a few things that youcananticipate.
Use your learnings to explore…
What might stand in your way?
What might hinder your progress?
How can you reduce the risk of that happening?
You can’t control it all. But it helps to look at the things that are within your reach.
New year goal setting step 7: go back and review your goals
In the final step of your new year goal-setting process, it’s time to review what you’ve already planned out for yourself.
With everything in mind, with everything you’ve learned, does it still feel possible?
Sure, it might feel scary. You might be saying “omg this isn’t for someone likeme !”. And that’s 100% normal.
Instead, take a look and ask yourself: with all those tools in place, is it realistic?
Make any gentle tweaks you need to your plan. And then, get going! Add your goal-achieving tasks to your diary. And schedule in your first review.