Goal Setting For The New Year? Here's How I Do It...
Today I want to show you how I set & accomplish goals every year in a low pressure way that's easy to track...
My 2022 Goals
First, here are my goals for 2022 (see if you can find them in this busy screenshot! 😜):
Side Note: Why I Love Apple Notes For Setting GoalsYou'll notice I keep my yearly goals in a note pinned to the top of my Apples Notes app. I love Notes because it syncs across all my devices (iPhones, iPad, Macbook Air, Mac Mini) so I can access my goals anytime, anywhere.
I also like the "checklists" feature because it gives me a satisfying feeling to "check off" my goals from the list all year.
You can use whatever you're comfortable with.
More important than where you write your goals, you're probably wondering...
How Many (And What Kind Of) Goals Should You Set?
I recommend setting between 5-10 goals for the year. You may find that's too few or too many. You can adjust in year 2.
I have 14 total goals for the year. That may be too many, but that's okay.
I've had about 10-15 goals per year for the last several years. I'm comfortable with that number. As long as the goals are realistic, I know I'll hit a lot of them. (We'll talk more about setting realistic goals in just a moment.)
If you're an entrepreneur, it's tempting to set 10 business goals and call it a day! Don’t do that.
I highly encourage you to set some goals for your personal life, your personal development, your mental health, or your physical health. Spend some time with friends or family. Pick up a hobby. Be a well rounded person.
My goals are a mix of investing, traveling, personal development, and business growth. Your goals may shake out into different "categories."
Okay, off my high horse.
Back to realistic goals: Make sure you set goals that you can actually achieve.
My numbers are blurred out in the screenshot above (you don't need to know how much money I make :)
Long ago, I stopped setting goals like "become a millionaire" because they weren't useful for me.
Some people recommend SMART goals. I think it's too formal, and I struggle to stick to all the rules of SMART goals. And if I struggle to stick to something... then I choose a different system. Because I want to actually get shit done. Not squabble over the "right way" to do a thing.
Here is what a typical goal looks like for me:
- Earn $X,XXX per month from ABC business
- Read 12 books
- Visit a new state
Call them "smart-ish" goals. I don't always include numbers. I also don't always include a timeline ("this year" is good enough).
The specific dollar amount is based on my quick mental calculations about 1) how much opportunity there is this year and 2) how my revenue is pacing currently. This helps me set realistic goals that I can actually hit, but that move my business forward.
And that's really the most important part: I can achieve every single goal that's on my list.
They are all realistic. They are all achievable (isn't that the "A" in SMART goals? Hmmm...)
Here is why that's important though...
If you consistently set goals you can't meet, you won't meet your goals. Sounds silly, right? But it's true.
And worse... there is a sinister side to "setting yourself up for failure."
If you set unrealistic goals, then miss those goals, you're highly likely to stop setting goals. You'll slow down, stop making progress, and your self esteem can take a hit (ask me how I know).
So let's fix all that.
First, come up with some *realistic* goals for the year. Then...
Step 1. Write Down Your Goals
My wife always tells me "it's not real unless you write it down." She's right (as usual).
Think about the sheer number of ideas that run through your head every day. Every hour. Every minute! Your brain is racing a million miles per hour.
Sadly, you'll forget nearly everything that you think about during the day. It will disappear into thin air!
...unless you write it down.
That's why this is so important.
If you aren't writing your goals down, odds are you aren't accomplishing your goals either.
Simply: write your goals down.
Write them anywhere...
- On a scrap of paper that you'll keep handy all year
- In a notebook you carry every day
- Or, if you're like me, you could use an app like Apple Notes
Writing your goals down is important because:
- Writing down a goal makes it real. It's a micro commitment. "I'm going to do this thing. I wrote it down. Now I must do it."
- You can assess the length of your list and decide "have I set a reasonable number of goals for the year? Or am I over/undershooting the mark?"
- You can track your progress by "crossing off" your goals all year (trust me, this feels better than a handful of "likes" on your latest Instagram post)
Be consistent. Get in the habit of writing your goals down.
I've been writing down my goals in Apple Notes for 5+ years at this point. I do it every year without fail.
Step 2. Track Your Goals
The next part is easy.
If you've written your goals down somewhere safe, next you're going to... live your life!
You thought I was going to say "track your goals" didn't you?
Well the truth is, after you've written your goals down, I want you to get back to living your life.
Tuck those goals away and remember where you put them.
Next time you're sitting around twiddling your thumbs... or you're feeling guilty about how "unproductive" you're being... pull out those goals.
Look at your list and decide if there is something you can make progress on.
Then get to work! It's that simple.
"I Like To Make A Little Progress... Then I Make A Lot Of Progress" (How To Fight Procrastination)
If you're the procrastinating type, you might find some goals are harder to get started on.
Those big business or revenue goals might seem impossible to tackle. So why bother starting?
That's what your brain says to make you stop making progress.
Why would your brain hold you back like that?
Believe it or not, your brain is trying to conserve calories and keep you safe.
I could tell you all about evolution and how your brain is trying to keep you safe, make you have kids, etc. But that's for another day.
The short story is that you have to FIGHT against your brains signals to "sit idly." You have to move yourself to action.
The best way I've found to fight procrastination is to start with a small, simple, mindless task. Like labeling emails or paying bills.
Then use the momentum to get started on the next task.
And the next.
Let your day slide like that until you've accomplished something.
Do a Google search for the "Pomodoro" technique. I use poms to get stuff done all the time. You may find the technique useful, too.
Abraham Lincoln said “give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
I think about that quote a lot.
I think he was saying "it's important to spend time planning and preparing."
Whenever I'm feeling stuck on a goal or project, I start taking notes.
Writing down the ideas in my head is helpful. Then I start to group my notes together and reorganize things. Then I write a checklist of "to do" items. Next thing you know, I'm busy working.
Works every time.
Again... I love Apple Notes for this.
But I've been using Google Docs a lot, too.
I hope this was helpful. Nothing groundbreaking or earth shattering was shared. But sometimes... the simplest system is the best.
Reuben D. Rock
P.S. - When is the best day to start setting & tracking goals? Yesterday.
The next best day is today. Get started.