10 Goal Planning Tips to Take Your Goals from Good to GREAT!
READ TIME: 11 Minutes
This is an article for the high-achieving goal planners. It’s also an article for anyone who didn’t realize that a plan is part of the goal-achieving process. Either way, take your goals and spruce them up with these 10 tips!
Start with a positive mindset.
Set meaningful goals.
Analyze the roadblocks.
Create a goal plan and WORK IT!
Set up check points.
Envision who you’re becoming.
Make it fun!
Listen to your hero.
Keep your goal plan visible.
Repeat the process.
1. Start with a positive mindset.
Start with positivity, because your goal plan will be based on your mindset.
No matter what you’re going through, there are positive elements to your life. I’ve heard it said, “You have blessings that other people are praying for.”
I get into positive mode by expressing gratitude to God. I start with a praise session — singing worship songs, thanking God out loud for every blessing that comes to mind. It gets pretty charismatic in my home! Then I sit in quiet to hear His directions. There’s a lot less pressure when we realize we’re foot soldiers for the plans God established long before we were born. It’s not up to us to MAKE EVERYTHING HAPPEN, but to walk in the grace of God’s will.
“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
2. Set meaningful goals.
Only set goals that are truly meaningful to you — this is going to take some soul-searching.
I work my goal-plan opposite of most people. Most people start with goals. I start with a value. Here’s one from last year:
I value expanding my perspective. In 2018 I will read 15 books, foster diverse friendships, and travel frequently. When I travel, I will choose to eat different things, have good conversations with locals, and learn the culture of the places I visit.
When you start with your values, meaningful goals pop up organically.
3. Analyze the roadblocks.
If the goal you set is meaningful, why haven’t you achieved it yet? If you recognize your personal roadblocks BEFORE you get detoured, you’ll be more likely to stay on the path.
So what are the roadblocks that have tripped you up in the past?
Focus — You haven’t written down your goals before, which has caused you to lose sight of them. Good for you for doing it now!
Patience & Persistence — Have you previously made progress on your goal but quit before your accomplished it?
Limiting Mindsets — Are you afraid of failing that you don’t even acknowledge your dreams? Do you think you’re bound by your circumstances? Recognizing those limited mindsets is the first step in breaking through them.
Maybe it wasn’t important for you to achieve this goal before. Express gratitude for the way your priorities have changed as you’ve grown. Now, are there any roadblocks you see to you achieving your new goal this year? Jot it down.
4. Create a goal plan and WORK IT!
“If you talk about it, it's a dream;
if you envision it, it's possible;
but if you schedule it, it's real.”
The goal is THE WHAT. The plan is THE HOW.
GOAL: I will lose 10 pounds by July 1st, 2019. I’m currently 150 pounds; I will be 140 pounds.
PLAN: I will learn what nutrition really is through reading articles. I will prep my food for the week on Sunday afternoons. I will research healthy eating-out alternatives to the places I frequent. I will take spin class 3 times per week. If I miss spin due to my schedule, I will go for a run in the park.
Set your goal. Analyze roadblocks. Create your plan.
5. Set up check points.
Every Monday morning, I have a check point for my monthly goals. I evaluate my previous week and decide: “What do I need to do this week to get me to where I want to be at the end of the month?” I plan my days accordingly.
If my previous week goes by, and I didn’t do my weekly task for the goal, I don’t brush it off. I try to figure out why. Do I enjoy the task I’m trying to accomplish? Did I say yes to too many other activities? Did I spend inordinate time on social media? Once I’ve figured out my previous roadblock, I move on to planning to get back on track.
6. Envision who you’re becoming.
Who are you becoming through the goals you’re working on?
I want you to envision the person you will be on December 31st, 2019.
If you’re working on a health goal, envision trying on your jeans and not having to wiggle them up.
If you’re working to start a business, envision saying to a customer, “Yes, I can provide that service”.
If you’re working to become more consistent reading your Bible, envision how you will feel throughout your days when you start your day peacefully reading the Word.
The point is to feel it — really feel it deep in your spirit. When you meditate on that feeling, you’re creating a memory within your brain so that when the going gets tough, you can draw on that memory and say, “I’m doing this, because I know who I am becoming, and I like that person!”
7. Make it fun!
The idea of having fun while pursuing goals is wayyy under-rated.
In their article “What Separates Goals We Achieve from Goals We Don’t”, Cornell professor Kaitlin Wooley and Booth professor Ayelet Fishbach said:
“Immediate benefits are a stronger predictor of persistence than delayed benefits… In one study, we measured the number of minutes gym-goers spent exercising on a cardio machine. We also asked them how much they cared that their exercise improved their health (delayed benefit) and was fun (immediate benefit). Gym-goers who cared more about having a fun workout exercised longer than those who cared less about having fun. Caring more about the delayed health benefits of their exercise, such as staying fit, did not affect how many minutes they spent on a cardio machine.”
Figure out how to make the growth process fun for you! If you prefer growing with people, find a growth group — a Bible study, a workout buddy, an accountability partner. If you feel too much pressure to achieve your goals AND live your life, figure out how to offload responsibilities. If the pursuit of goals feels like holding your breath waiting for a milestone to pass, it’s not going to work. Find ways to make it fun!
8. Listen to your hero.
With the accessibility of information today, there’s no reason why you can’t find a hero & listen to her regularly. Think about this: Who has gone before you on a similar path, and what lessons can you learn from her? If you want to have a loving, supportive marriage, who do you know who’s thriving in one today? If you want to be healthy, who do you know who lives a balanced, healthy life?
(“Know” can be someone whom you personally know, someone on social media, an author/blogger, etc.)
My caveat to “Listen to your hero” is that you don’t listen to too many heroes. We live in an age where we consume A TON of info, but how much of it can we use? A sponge soaks up the same amount of water, whether in a bathtub or an ocean. Your brain can only soak up so much #inspo before its overloaded and can’t focus.
Listen to your hero, but don’t listen to too many heroes!
9. Keep your goal plan visible.
“A Harvard Business Study found that the 3% of graduates from their MBA who had their goals written down, ended up earning TEN TIMES as much as the other 97% put together, just ten years after graduation.”
Annabel Acton for Forbes
When you write down your goals, you create a memory. When you repeatedly look at those goals, you create a habit of focusing on them.
What if we view our goals as habitually as we reach for our phones and open Instagram? #thoughtsfor2019
10. Repeat the process.
Set a bookmark on your browser for this blog post. It’s easy to forget any one of these things, but planning at the beginning of the year will accelerate your growth during the year. If you feel yourself plateauing during the year, come back to this post and figure out how to get unstuck!
Your lifetime is comprised of a series of years. Achieve your goals year after year, and you’ll have built the life you once dreamt of.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.”
Here’s a little reminder for you! If you’re on your phone, just press & hold the graphic below, then select “Save Image”. Voila!
What’s your favorite tip from this list? Let me know in the comments!
Kaitlin Woolley & Ayelet Fishbach: https://hbr.org/2017/04/what-separates-goals-we-achieve-from-goals-we-dont