I’m a sucker for goal setting.
Near the end of every year for the past four years I’ve gone through the same goal-setting process that has allowed me to gain clarity and alignment on what I’m pursuing in my life in the coming year.
While there is definitely a part of me that subscribes to the ideology of ‘You-don’t-need-anything-outside-of-yourself-in-order-to-be-happy’… I also know that I feel fantastic when I’m making progress on my most soul-aligned goals on a daily basis.
Here is the three-step process that I lead myself through, every year, some time in December.
Your Best Year Ever: The Ultimate Goal Setting Protocol
First off… settle in. Get comfortable. This exercise can often take anywhere from 1-3 hours if you give it your undivided attention.
Also, write it out on paper. It’s different than typing and uses your mind more fully.
Write out your answers to these questions. Give yourself at least 10 minutes per question to really squeeze the juice out of them fully. A lot of the value of these self-reflections comes to you after the initial rush of obvious answers come spilling out. So sit with them. Give your answers some time to percolate in your mind. Easy does it with this process.
Ready? Here is the first round of questions.
Step 1: Stir The Pot
1. What was good about this past year? Really sit with this one. Fill the whole page. Big wins and smaller wins all count.
2. What wasn’t good about this past year?
3. What did you spend your time on this past year that you wished you hadn’t?
4. What are the biggest things you would like to learn more about in the coming year?
5. Is there something you wished you would have done this past year but didn’t do?
6. Where do you personally most need to grow in the coming year?
7. Looking forward to the coming year, what’s one thing that, if you asked for help with it, your life would become exponentially easier?
8. How could you be less of a consumer in the coming year?
9. How could you be more of a producer in the coming year?
10. Who do you need to spend more time with next year?
11. What do you know that you need to do more of in the coming year?
12. Who do you need to help more in the coming year?
13. How can you take better care of yourself in the coming year?
At this point in the process, you will likely have started to see a few trends in the responses that you’re writing down. This is totally fine. If you see commonalities between your answers, this is simply pointing to a high leverage/potent area of opportunity for your growth and expansion in the coming year.
Step 2: Select The Winners
Now that you’ve spilled your big ol’ brain dump on to the page, it’s time to select what matters most to you.
Go through all of what you wrote down with a highlighter and highlight the things that make you feel the happiest/most alive/most excited.
When you try on the thought, you’ll either feel a tightening of misalignment or a softening in your gut/stomach/heart. This physical sense is like an emotional preview. Your body is trying on what that thing feels like.
For example, if one of your goals says ‘go to law school… because my parents want me to’ and your stomach tightens up in resistance, then this is a fairly good sign that it isn’t really your goal for yourself, but someone else’s… and is therefore out of alignment with your highest and best good. If, however, you re-read the words/goal ‘travel to Paris’ and your stomach/heart/gut softens/relaxes/expands, then this is a fairly certain sign that yes, you do want to do that.
So go through your responses… highlight the most exciting things… and then compile the most excitingly aligned things into a shorter, more condensed list.
For example, your final list might have categories such as the following:
– What I Am Amazing At
– What I Am Going To Stop Doing Moving Forwards
– What I Most Want To Learn About In The Coming Year
– How I Am Committing To Asking For Help Going Forwards
– How I Am Going To Help People More In The Coming Year
Once you have your major/most exciting and aligned goals written down in a short-hand format, it’s time to reverse engineer what it will take to accomplish these goals by turning them from outcome goals into process-oriented goals (aka not the end result, but the ‘how’ of your goals).
Step 3: Step Up Into Your Greatness
For every outcome goal that you have written down, brainstorm anywhere from 1-5 process oriented goals that you will need to do in order to achieve your ideal outcomes.
The outcome goal of ‘I want to lose weight’ would have the process goal of ‘I am going to work out with a personal trainer twice per week for the next six months.’
The outcome goal of ‘I’m going to double my personal income in the coming year’ could have the process goal of ‘I’m going to put out three new products/books/services to the market that I serve within the next twelve months.’
The outcome goal of ‘I want to find the love of my life’ could have the process goal of ‘I am going to ask out two men/women per month that I’m not in a relationship.’
Whatever your outcome goals are, believe me, there is a way to chunk it down into something smaller, less intimidating, and more manageable. Results come from processes. Work on your habits, and your results take care of themselves.
If you hit a roadblock with coming up with any of your process oriented goals, ask a friend for help. No friends who are currently available or whose advice you trust? Let’s chat.
I wish you the biggest and best year of your life. You deserve it (if you work for it).
Dedicated to your success,
Ps. If you enjoyed this post, you’ll likely also love reading:
Pps. If you need help navigating this process, I am always available to speak with you.