Updated: Apr 13, 2021
A guide on how to set goals for the rest of the year
This year has made us reevaluate our values and visions, so why wouldn’t we reevaluate how we focus on our goals in the same way?
It’s now July. Do you even remember what goals you set back in January?
If you can actually remember -- how are you doing? What actions have you already taken so far this year? No need to judge yourself! Now’s the time to re-align or reestablish what you want to accomplish.
Setting goals has permeated all aspects of our lives. One of the most commonly used systems for setting goals, one that I also use and teach on my website, is the SMART goal system. If you’ve never used them before, SMART goals are goals that are:
S — pecific
M — easurable
A — ttainable
R — elevant
T — ime bound
But there’s more to accomplishing goals than just setting SMART goals. We all know that “goal setting” goes well for about the first 3 weeks after we set them and then the “shiny-ness” wears off and we lose focus. One of the most difficult things about setting goals is maintaining focus so you can stay motivated to accomplish them.
Let’s get the most out of our SMART goals by bringing more awareness to the process. Goals truly are helpful AND they are equally difficult to stick with if you aren’t aware and don’t have a plan.
The Mistakes of Goal-Setting
A goal is the end of a journey -- the executive position at work, the finish line of a marathon, the board position of a coveted non-profit or the fancy car you have dreamed about. But what happens after that?
Have you ever gotten to the end and found yourself with an emptiness in your soul?
It’s like getting to the end of a book or tv series and asking yourself what happens next.
Goal setting is much the same.
Engaging with the journey towards accomplishing the goal is motivating and stimulating, that’s why you keep going and want to see what happens next. However, when we set goals, we usually skip focusing on the journey and go very quickly from setting the goal, to the desired end result, without looking at everything in between.
How do we change that?
It all starts with a vision.
#1: Start by creating your vision statement
You need to know where you are going and why. This is your vision.
Here's an example:
Tesla's vision statement:
“To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s
transition to electric vehicles.”
Any goals Tesla sets as a company are governed by their vision statement.
A personal vision statement might be something along the lines of:
"I want to provide tangible steps for reducing the impact of mental illness on people.”
Your vision statement doesn’t need to be really deep. Keep it simple. How do you want to be remembered? And, as you move through life, your personal vision statement needs to adapt to your growth.
#2: Imagine yourself as you are living out your vision statement
With your vision in mind, imagine your life at the end of the year.
Questions to ask yourself:
How do you want to have developed as a person?
What action steps have you taken already?
Where do you want to be on your journey of living out your vision?
Picture yourself at the end of the year and imagine what your life looks like:
What are you doing?
Where are you?
What does your day-to-day life look like?
Who are you with?
How do you spend your free time?
Describe everything that is important to you.
Handwrite a description of the image of living out your vision statement (don’t type it -- typing it out is not always as engaging as writing it out.) Draw pictures, create spreadsheets, tell people about it. Do what you need to do for your brain to make the image as vivid as possible.
The more specific you can get, the better.
#3: Set your goals according to your vision
Now, that you know what the end of the year looks like, let’s work backwards and reverse engineer it to set your goals.
Make your goals SMART and smart. Divide your vision into categories, so you have a specific plan for each. Here are some examples of different categories you might use (these will differ based on your situation and specific, unique mission statement):
Keep in mind that setting a goal for the last half of the year, does not mean it has to be done by December 31st. Spread your goals out into attainable steps.
#4: Create a system for long-term success
Goals are great for long-term vision. Creating “systems” of actions that can be repeated will help you in your day to day activities to get you closer to your goal.
Here’s an example from my own life as a therapist:
2020 Vision Statement: Move from treating one person at a time to providing strategies
for reducing stress to many people at the same time.
Goal: To provide stress management trainings to 50 professional women by the close of
business for the year.
System: To train 50 women, I need to increase my offerings by 5.
If I break down 100 women into weekly goals, I need to provide training for at least 2
people per week. This means I have to schedule about 2 hours into my schedule for
Every month I’ll set aside an additional hour to review my numbers and keep myself on
#5: Observe, Describe and Validate
The journey towards a goal can give us a sense of accomplishment and is often more satisfying than getting to the goal itself. Because of this, it is important to be aware during the process.
When you are working towards your goals for the year, make reflection a part of your routine.
Schedule in an hour periodically through your goal time frame for reviewing only. Take time to observe and describe where you’ve come from and where you are now. I find it helpful to set aside time every 30 days to acknowledge what has taken place to that point and to validate all the ups and downs of the journey.
By taking the time to look back at where you started, you’re able to see how much progress you’ve made. That keeps you motivated.
Here is what the entire Goal Setting process might look like:
Goal: Intentionally move my body everyday in 2020
Date Started: February 14, 2020 (whatever date you start)
Deadline: February 14, 2021
Progress Check-in Dates: 6 months in and 50% of total goal completed -- August 15th,
Progress Made: Have intentionally exercised every day for at least 20 minutes
What’s worked: Having someone to work out with and posting progress for others to
What hasn’t worked: Not scheduling my workout time
What has been difficult: Being patient with myself and expected results too quickly.
What has been easy: Using pre-recorded workouts that map out differing muscle
As we approach mid-way through the year, it’s an excellent time to review your goals. Evaluating where you’re at gives you time to re-assess or set new goals.
What is your gut feeling about the year so far?
Have you lived up to your potential?
Have you achieved what you wanted to achieve?
What lessons can you take forward into the second half of the year?
By reflecting on your progress (without judgment), you get the opportunity to look at your goals with gratitude and remind yourself that even small progress is STILL progress.
And if you’re feeling stuck and are unsure how to make this work or could use some support to get you on your journey, let me know! I am available to meet one-on-one with you or have goal setting classes available to walk you through the process!
You can do this! Go after your goals and dreams!