How to Gear Up for Goal-Setting Season

I hate the thought of “goal-setting season” because it implies that goal setting and goal progress check-ins are only important once a year. If you have ever struggled to reach a goal that you only focused on sporadically, you could probably attest to the fact that goals are much more effective when they become a part of your every day life.

But, there is no denying that goals get the spotlight at the end of the year as we start to think about flipping the calendar to January. Then, it seems, the pressure is on to develop a plan to make the next year phenomenal.

While alone this isn’t exactly the most effective way to set and reach goals, it is successful in getting us thinking about the future. And if you can use the goal-setting season mentality to jump start an ongoing goal-oriented mindset, it can be a major bonus. So, here are are a few ways to get yourself ready for the end of the year and the start of a new way of thinking about goals.

Start with a Fresh Slate

Do you have a dozen half-baked goals floating around in your head, on sticky notes, or in your email? I do, and I have found that these “big” ideas often slow my goal-setting process because they distract me from my real goals.

Try removing all of your brainstorms from your daily view by migrating them into a central location where you can review and analyze them quickly. You may find you have a common theme that lends itself to a great goal, or you might decide to ditch them and start fresh.

Get Prepared

There are a lot of different methodologies when it comes to goal setting, and one is not necessarily more effective than another. The trick is to find the process or combination of processes that works best for you. A straightforward way to start is with SMART goal setting.

Set a Daily Goal

If you are overwhelmed when you consider the end game, you could probably benefit from chunking down your big goals into bite-sized pieces. Each long-term goal should have smaller, measurable goals along the way — yearly, monthly, weekly and even daily. The shorter-term the goal, the smaller it should be and the easier to accomplish. This will keep your goals front and center, help you feel like you’re moving forward, and give you a way to stay motivated.

Plan a Two-Month Check-In

If you start your goal setting process now, when December rolls around, you’ll be ready for a goal check-in instead of a resolution setting session. You can use the end of the year to check on your progress and make modifications to your short-term goals. This will help you start the new year at a sprint instead of having to build up momentum.

Line Up Support

Support can take the form of a coach, mentor, friend, family member or even a goal setting tool or application. Figure out how you want to track your progress and who/what will hold you accountable. This will help you wrap up the year feeling ready and capable of accomplishing everything you want to accomplish.

Your Turn

Goals for me are definitely an ongoing process, but I do feel the pressure at the end of the calender year to situate myself to accomplish big things the next year. I try to use the turning-over-a-new-leaf feeling to boost my confidence in the goals I already have in the works and the progress I’ve made.

How do you think of goals? Do you find that you focus on them once or twice a year, or do you incorporate goals into your life/work more consistently?

Image credit: djayo

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