Goal-setting 2020: Tips for a fresh start in the new year
You’ve read the articles, watched the videos, heard the speakers. The key to moving the dial in a positive direction in our lives is setting goals, right? For the experienced goal-setter, the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goal approach has likely added a tool to your personal improvement toolbox. Unfortunately, there’s a critical (pre-goal) step that often gets missed: the personal vision. What better year to focus on your vision than 2020?
Who is the person I want to become?
This is the key question that drives the vision but is often left out of the goal-setting process. We focus in on the “what,” the “when,” the “where” and even the “how,” but we ignore the key question of who we are aiming to become in the process! As a result, we identify goals for ourselves that are based on what friends are doing, or what a TV show or magazine article suggested, instead of the person we are becoming. Then, we get three days, three weeks or three months into pursuit of a goal that sounded good at the time but wasn’t part of a broader personal vision and so there’s really no reason to continue.
We recorded a special podcast episode to talk you through the process of identifying a clear personal vision, which you can access here: https://www.catalystcoachinginstitute.com/podcast/
In the meantime, here are some steps to help you get started. I’ve also included a couple of my own personal themes from the past two years as examples. These are only examples, and what resonates powerfully for me likely will be meaningless for you, but they may provide a starting point.
QuickStart Version: If you’d like to jump right in or you aren’t quite ready to take the deeper dive into creating a broader vision, start with a single word or phrase on which you would like to focus in the coming year. Write it down, reflect on it frequently, and share it with your coach, mentor or friends as you move forward.
If you’re ready to take a deeper dive into creating a 2020 Vision, here are the highlighted steps:
Reflect (generally) on past 12 months. Joys? Struggles? Perceived holes in your process or daily approach? Take some notes (great time to start a journal if you’re not already doing so) and let your mind wander. From here, go through a more specific process called the F5 Opportunity Analysis. Spend some time reviewing the following areas regarding where you’ve been and where you’re heading in your life:
- Foundations (fuel & fitness)
- Family (including friendships)
- Fields of Play (career and hobbies)
The last steps at this point are to consider your current phase of life (e.g., New career? Young children? Empty nest?) and the patterns that appeared from the above reflection process.
Once this aspect is complete, you’re ready to start pulling together your (often very rough) personal vision or theme. Jot down words, phrases, concepts, pictures, images based on what you discovered through the reflection process. Let it sit and come back to add/delete/expand over a week or even a month. Over time, it’ll start to come into focus and you’re ready to put it to use. I’ve never been accused of being anything close to an artist, but I enjoy sitting down at the computer and pulling various images together to represent my vision and provide me with something I can keep with my calendar, at my desk, or as a wallpaper on my phone as a constant reminder of the person I’m becoming in the year ahead.
There are a number of ways you can utilize your personal vision, and we discuss some of these in the podcast if you’d like more information. However, once complete, it will provide a natural, lasting springboard on which you can set goals and make decisions throughout the coming year. Now that’s a SMART way to move forward!