By Nicole Tinkham
Let us first begin by saying it does not matter when it is; it’s always the perfect time to start setting goals. We’re writing this blog just in time for the New Year but if you’re reading at a later date, that’s perfectly fine! Goal setting is something you should do throughout the year anyway. Our golden rule is to start setting goals whenever you feel ready to do it! We’ll walk you through goal setting in 7 simple steps (or 7 days) but just beware; you do not want to skip one of these steps. Not following through with the activities on each day could result in you not reaching your goals and just feeling frustrated. We’ll start with a mass brainstorm to figure out what your main goals are, break those big goals into smaller ones, create an action plan, take action, keep the momentum going, and then evaluate your performance. Ready to get started? Read on for your day #1 agenda.
Day #1: Brainstorm
BEFORE you get started today, you should get in your thinking zone. Find somewhere quiet with no distractions. Get away from clutter and straighten up the room if you have to. Turn off your phone and anything else that may distract you during this session. You can listen to some calming music, light your favorite scented candle, grab a coffee, and whatever else comes to mind to put you in your happy place.
Once you get in the right mindset, it’s time to brainstorm everything you would like to see happen in your life in the next few years. Write anything and everything down! We’ll be narrowing down this list later so just go crazy with it. Think about health goals, career goals, relationship goals, and financial goals. Anything that pops in your head should go on your list. It may be difficult to think of ideas at first but once you get rolling, the ideas will flow.
Now that you have a long list going, we’re going to prioritize your goals. Is there one thing on the list that will help you achieve some of the others goals you have written down? This would be your ASAP goal, or the goal you’ll want to get working on right away. This should also be a very specific goal. Ask yourself “By doing this, what do I aim to achieve?” This will narrow down any broad goals even further. For example, if you have “I want to become a painter” on your list, you may end up changing it to “I want to become a landscape painter”. Being clear on your goals will help you in the following steps of breaking it down and creating an action plan.
Before moving on, we want you to start BELIEVING in yourself. If you don’t do this, you’ll be doing this entire goal setting session for no reason. Believing that you can actually achieve these goals is the key to being successful. We know this can be difficult to do especially with those big goals you have written down. Some of them might seem crazy! Keep in mind working on your belief is something that you should do daily and it does take some time to switch your limiting mindset. Based on your goal, write down an affirmation. Something like: “I am an incredible landscape painter with amazing skills”. Repeat this over to yourself for at least 10 minutes a day, every day.
Day #2: Break it down
Welcome to day #2! This is our favorite part because now you’re probably excited about the goals you wrote on your list yesterday. That big goal probably seems pretty daunting though, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, we’ll be breaking that goal down into mid term and short term goals which will make it easier for you to tackle it.
Take that main goal and dissect it into several short term goals. Consider the different phases of achieving that goal. What will need to be done along the way?
Your short term goal should be a SMART goal meaning is should be Specific (clear on what you want to achieve), Measurable (must be able to review progress), Attainable (can you get it done with the resources you have?), Realistic (can it actually be done?), and Timely (must have a deadline). Now take that SMART goal and break it down even further into action steps. What is the process you’ll need to take in order to reach that specific goal by your set deadline?
Day #3: Action Plan
Now we’re getting into the good stuff! This should excite you. You are literally planning for success in reaching your goals. This is where some research comes in. We’ll all have very different goals but you may need to look into different strategies for achieving your goal. Weigh the pros and cons of different ways of doing things to figure out what will work best for you. What exactly do you need to do in order to reach your goal? You may start with learning something about what you want to do. Maybe it’s educating yourself on different nutrition plans or a system for saving money.
Make sure the action items on your list are detailed so there’s no second guessing yourself when doing them. You’ll know exactly what needs to be done. You also want to organize the action steps so you know what you should be getting done first.
Based on your action items, create a daily checklist of what you need to be doing each day. This just narrows it down even further to help keep you on track. You can transfer this to do list to your phone so you always have it on you and can check things off throughout the day.
Day #4: Take action
This is where the magic happens! Without this key step, none of your goals would ever be accomplished. It’s great to have a solid plan in place (what we’ve been doing up until now) but none of that matters if you never get started. We know it can be scary but just start with the first task on your list. Don’t think twice about it, just get it done. There’s no time for procrastination so make this the first thing you get done in the day.
Days #5 and #6: Keep going
Congrats!! You made it through one day following your action checklist. Now it’s time to celebrate your completion. You did an amazing job. Go ahead and do your happy dance 🙂
Now it’s time to move on to the next list. Keep on going!! Each day may only produce small results but those results add up over time. You have to build up your momentum so you can become unstoppable. If there’s ever a time you feel like giving up, remember why you started in the first place.
If you find yourself procrastinating, work on tasks in 25 minute chunks of time. This will keep you focused and little breaks in between will keep you from burning out. Continue to check in on your action plan to be sure you’re still on track and in line with your goals.
Day #7: Evaluate your performance
The final step in this process will determine how quickly you reach your goal. And that last step is to reflect on what you’ve done so far and measure your progress. Without doing this step, you won’t be able to adjust and improve on the areas you are weak in. That’s the whole point of reflecting. To look at the areas in which your strengths lie, where your weaknesses lie, and where your errors were made. From here, you can tweak and improve your action steps. By the way, your action steps are never set in stone. It’s important to update them when something just isn’t working out. It’s ok! Do not give up when things don’t go your way. Make the appropriate changes and move forward.
There you have it; How to set goals in as little as 7 days. But don’t think that your work ends there. Continue to work on your daily check lists and action plans. Keep evaluating your progress and make adjustments when needed. And most importantly keep adding to your list of goals! There’s so much you can accomplish in this lifetime if you put your mind to it. Stop pushing them off thinking they’re too big for you to actually achieve. Following these steps and breaking down each goal makes them more manageable so you can totally do this!