How to Set Meaningful Goals in a Matter of Minutes
How do you feel about goal-setting?
Some people enjoy the process, but just as many dread it -- or avoid it altogether.
Given that I'm a life coach, you might expect me to have a highly detailed, rigorous process for goal-setting and tracking my progress.
Because that's not what works well for me.
If you take one thing away from this blog post, let it be this:
Pick a goal-setting & tracking approach that works for YOU.
This isn't an instance when one-size-fits-all. You want to set yourself up for success. And that means considering what's most important to you, what motivates you, and how you like to be held accountable.
As for me, I changed my approach because, in the past, I spent untold hours...
Coming up with tons of specific goals for each realm of my life (e.g., relationships, work, health, fun & recreation, etc.)
Setting up goal trackers.
Monitoring my progress, and...
Regularly beating myself up when I didn't reach each & every milestone -- and on time!
Being the proverbial Type A personality, I love to check all the boxes. But I set my goals up in a way that made that impossible. And that was demotivating.
Ultimately, I needed fewer goals that allowed me to be flexible as things changed. I turned over a new leaf and made goal-setting easier and more fun.
If you're not into a rigorous process -- or aren't up for it this particular year -- I have good news for you! You , too, can set meaningful goals in a matter of minutes.
I'll share three ways you can do it:
Method 1: One Goal per Realm
Set one overarching goal for each area of your life.
Method 2: Word of the Year
Select a word that embodies what you most want in the new year.
Method 3: More or Less
Decide what you want more of, and less of, in the new year.
To learn more about these approaches, read on!
METHOD #1: ONE GOAL PER REALM
Simplify your goal setting by selecting a single overarching goal for each realm of your life.
Label the areas of your life in whatever way makes sense for you. Here are the ones I use:
Fun & Recreation
Relationships & Community
For each area, select the one overarching goal that will most enhance it.
Here's what I came up with for 2020:
Continue to invest funds toward the lake house we want to buy.
Fun & Recreation
Invest in training our dogs so they're comfortable & behave well wherever we take them.
Go to the functional medicine practice near me to test all my vitamin, mineral & hormone levels. Follow their recommendations based on the results.
Get the house painted, inside & out.
Commit to weekly Pilates sessions & at-home exercises to help correct dysfunctional movements that developed due to my broken foot & arthritis in my hands.
Relationships & Community
Get to know our neighbors better by being on the HOA board.
Invest more time in studying the Bible on my own (versus a group Bible study).
Inspire more women to embrace who God created them to be through one-on-one coaching, speaking & retreats.
How to Monitor Your Progress
Your plan for tracking your progress can be anything that makes sense for you. Set up a way to monitor your progress on a regular basis (at least monthly, but could be weekly or even daily.)
It can be as simple as:
Asking yourself: Did I move toward this goal this week?
Based on your answer, set an objective for the following week (if needed or appropriate)
You could create a chart to measure your progress in each realm. And even come up with subgoals/objectives if you want.
METHOD #2: WORD OF THE YEAR
This approach involves selecting one word that embodies what you most want to have in your life in the new year.
To uncover your word, set aside a few minutes to get quiet and ponder what's in your heart. Pray or meditate.
You might consider the questions below & jot down notes about what comes to you.
What do I sense God wants for me in the coming year?
How do I want to feel this time next year?
What do I want to keep doing?
What do I want to stop doing?
This time next year, how might things be different (and better)? (Consider things like your relationships, finances, spiritual life, health, work, personal growth)
How do I want to be different?
Look for common themes across what you wrote.
As you answered the questions, what word(s) kept coming up?
What word(s) embodies how you want next year to unfold?
Choose the word that resonates most with you.
If you're not sure what your word might be, take a look at these examples for inspiration...
Example Words for the Year:
How to Use Your Word:
Think of your word as your theme for the year.
When you're making decisions about how to spend your time, ask yourself, Will this give me more [word of the year] in my life?
Keep your word front and center: create a mantra using your word; make it your screensaver; post it in your office, kitchen, car, bedroom; buy a special piece of jewelry with your word; create a vision board...
METHOD #3: MORE OR LESS
Use two key questions to uncover what's most important for you and yours in the new year:
1. What do I want More Of in the coming year?
(Or what does God want me to have more of?)
2. What do I want Less Of in the coming year?
(Or what do I sense God wants me to have less of?)
If you want more structure around the questions, answer them for various areas of your life, like:
Fun & recreation
Health (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual)
Relationships & community
I want more...quiet time, meaning, healthy food, love, weekend trips, money, deep friendships, education, intimacy, confidence
I want less...stuff, drama, stress, house, volunteer commitments, fear, negativity
How to Use Your Lists:
You can use your "more of" and "less of" lists in many ways, such as:
List the things you want more of/less of as general goals. ("I want more quiet time to myself" or "I want fewer commitments.")
Create more specific goals. ("I will spend at least one hour a week doing something for myself." or "I will resign my position with the HOA in February.")
Post the words indicating what you want more of /less of. Look at them regularly & ask yourself whether you're moving toward what you want.
Here's to a healthy & happy 2021!