In the holiday season at the end of each year, I used to set amazing goals for the next year just to ditch all of those great ideas a couple of weeks later feeling completely disempowered and like a failure.
Life got busy again, the circumstances felt unfortunate and I just couldn’t figure out how to make those goals come true, so I ditched them and continued to live my life like before.
I blamed my circumstances and others for the fact that I wasn’t able to reach my goals.
This turned out to be not true.
It took me almost 2 decades to figure out how to actually properly set and achieve my goals.
Today I’m obsessed with planning and achieving goals because it’s much easier than you might think.
In this post, I share with you 9 simple steps to plan your best year.
TABLE OF CONTENT
- Have a vision
- Define your why
- See where you are going
- See where you are now
- Set smart long-term goals
- Set short-term goals
- Set your focus
- Build supportive habits
- Review and adjust
9 STEPS TO PLAN YOUR BEST YEAR
HAVE A VISION
Have a vision for your life which sets you on fire.
Not only think about your past, today, and your tomorrow but have a greater future vision for yourself.
Remember how you dreamed as a kid to have a certain career once you grow up?
Now you are a grown-up. What are your dreams for the future now?
Not only in terms of your career, but in terms of everything!
Close your eyes and think of all the amazing things you want to experience in your life.
How would you love to live your life 5 years from now?
Once you’ve taken a couple of minutes to think about it, open your eyes and jot down your thoughts on a piece of paper.
Go even a step further and create a vision board for yourself.
Meaning hop on the internet and search for pictures matching your future vision.
Print them out, make a collage of all those pictures, and hang it onto your wall.
It’s important to have it in front of you every day to keep yourself motivated going towards your goals even in times when it’s getting tough to do so.
DEFINE YOUR WHY
Why do you want to live that way?
What’s your driving force and your underlying desire to achieve those goals?
Make sure your reasons are strong.
The stronger they are the easier you will go through your obstacles which will come on the way to reach your goals.
Your why is probably heavily linked to one of your core values.
One of my core values, for example, is freedom.
This is an important factor for my decisions and for overcoming obstacles when I’m going for my goals.
I love to have the freedom to travel the world, the freedom to choose how I work, what I do while I work when I work, where I work, and who I work with.
I quit my 9-5 full-time job 14 years ago and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Giving up the freedom I have now and working in the corporate world again as a full-time employee for me personally is non-negotiable.
What’s your non-negotiable driving force when it comes to your goals?
SEE WHERE YOU ARE GOING
Seeing your path is linked to your greater future vision.
By seeing your path I mean defining your future vision more accurately.
How does your ideal future life exactly look like?
I love to specify my future vision by using the following 8 categories:
- Physical Environment
- Personal Growth
You can adopt these 8 categories for yourself or choose other categories you like.
Once you have the categories defined what you’d do is to go over each category and to write down how your ideal life according to your future vision looks like in terms of these categories.
Be as specific as possible so you can turn these visions later into achievable goals.
SEE WHERE YOU ARE NOW
The next step is to review your current life situation.
How does your life look like in these categories today?
Rate your current life situation on a scale of 1 – 10.
As 1 is the lowest and 10 being your ideal life.
In which category do you need the most improvement?
Which category do you want to start to improve and focus your energy on first?
You can’t improve all of these categories at once.
That’s one major reason why New Year’s resolutions don’t work.
Usually, we have too many different goals we want to realize at once.
Realizing goals is work.
Our goals are there to stretch our personality, so we can grow into the person we are meant to be.
We have to get out of our comfort zone and change our habits to achieve our goals.
Having too many different goals at once just makes us feel overwhelmed and instead of realizing one by one we are more likely to not realize any of them.
Therefore I’d suggest defining all the goals but to take them one by one.
SET SMART LONG TERM GOALS
Close the gap between your current life situation and your ideal life by setting smart goals to achieve your future vision.
Smart goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
Go category by category and define your long term goals for each category.
With long term goals, I mean 10 years from now.
If that sounds too scary then just start with 5 years from now.
You have to think big in order to know where you are going long term.
For example category career:
Let’s say you are currently stuck in a soul-sucking 9 to 5 but want to have your profitable, joyful soul-based online business 5 years from now.
What steps do you need to take to make that dream come true?
What skills do you have to learn, what limiting beliefs do you need to let go of?
When, where how are you going to learn those?
What does it take to go from where you are to where you want to be?
Answer as many questions related to your dream as possible.
And write them all down under the category career.
How are you going to measure your progress?
When are you going to know that you’ve achieved your goal?
What will those indicators for success be for you?
Define the success indicators you can use to measure your progress.
Let’s say you have to master certain new skills to build your online business and will take those achievements of new skills as your success indicator.
Is your goal attainable for you?
Do you really want to go all-in with your full heart?
Is your goal realistic? If your goal is to build an online business while living on Mars 5 years from now – forget your goal it won’t work 😉
All jokes aside: your goal needs to be realistic.
What do you think how long does it take to achieve your goals? For example to master your new skillset?
Set a deadline for when you need to know them in order to reach your overall goal with the given time frame from 10 years or 5 years (depending on what you’ve chosen)
SET SHORT TERM GOALS
Take your smart long term goals and break these down into smart short term goals.
In case you have a 5 years plan, what goals do you have to reach 2,5 years from now and in 1 year from now in order to achieve your long term goal?
Go over each category and define which goals you want + need to realize at your halfway-point and 1 year from now.
SET YOUR FOCUS
Look at your future vision and your long term and short term smart goals and decide which goals from those you want to realize within 1 year.
Break your yearly goals into quarterly and monthly goals.
Finally, break those monthly goals into weekly and daily tasks.
Set a focus from 1 category for the entire year and focus your main energy on realizing those.
For example, your main focus for the entire year is from the category career, and in particular, it’s to build your online business as a side hustle beside your 9 to 5.
What steps do you need to take to reach your goal in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarter of the year?
Which steps do you need to take each month, each week, each day to get to reach your goal?
Use the templates from the printable Go For Your Dreams Planner.These templates will walk you through the entire process. All you have to do is to fill them out and to act accordingly.
BUILD SUPPORTIVE HABITS
You’ll need to change your lifestyle and to establish supportive habits to achieve your goals.
Whether it’s to wake up earlier and to work on your goal before you are going to your corporate job or in working towards your goals in the afternoon or evenings.
You need to have supportive habits.
For example, you could weave “working on your side hustle” into your new morning routine.
And make it your new habit to wake up 2hours earlier every morning and do something for your side hustle before going to your corporate job.
In the evening you could again create a new habit and take 2 hours every evening where you skip Netflix and social media and learn a new skill you need to build your online biz.
REVIEW AND ADJUST
Review each month, every quarter, and at the end of each year how you are doing with moving forward towards your goals.
Adjust your strategy if needed but don’t quit your goals.
Note what worked and what didn’t to learn from your successes and from your failures.
Download the free Go For Your Dreams Guide and learn about the steps you have to take to achieve your goals.
Use the templates from the printable Go For Your Dreams Planner and turn your dream into an actionable plan.