Most of us act as if goal planning is only acceptable the first week of January. I am officially giving you permission to goal plan at any time – because today is always the perfect time to get intentional about aligning your actions with your hopes and dreams.

It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day of life and, like most of us, end up with a list consisting of “I sent emails.” “I went to a lot of meetings.” “I assume I ate enough food and got enough sleep to sustain myself.” as you attempt to reflect on your week’s, month’s, or year’s accomplishments.

That does not have to be our reality moving forward. The whole point of goal planning is to get intentional about the actions we are putting forth in life. Below are the practices required to get intentional about your goals:

REFLECT
Reflect on your past year and dive into what you did accomplish, what you are proud of, and what you would do differently.

FREE WRITE
Grab a piece of paper and dream about everything you would like to achieve. Maybe you don’t limit it to a specific time frame. Dream big – no one will see this but you.

AMBITIOUS AND ACHIEVABLE
Figure out what is ambitious for the year… but don’t forget to also make it achievable. We are looking to set ourselves up for success. You want to push yourself… and you want to make it happen.

BREAK IT DOWN
Take each goal and put together an action plan. Your goals will be layered and complex. Simplify them as much as possible and set time on your calendar to move through the plans. Define your deadlines (and don’t make them all due December 31!).

ACCESSIBILITY
Once you have created these goals, make them accessible! Print them out and keep them in your wallet or on your night stand. Keep a copy at work, in your car, and at home. These should be present in your life.

CHECK IN
In addition to having them accessible, find time to check in with yourself. How are you progressing? What goals or action plans need to evolve? Just like performance reviews, your progress should be a constant conversation!

CELEBRATE
Celebrate the small stuff as well as the big stuff! You created your goals? Celebrate! You printed them out? Celebrate! Give yourself credit for the work you have accomplished.

When will you carve out time to reflect on the past year and determine your desires for the coming year? Will today be the day you stop reacting and start proactively planning for your future?

I have two sets of goals: personal goals and professional goals. My professional goals align with my APR (Associate Performance Review) Objectives. My personal goals are developed at my boyfriend’s and my quarterly retreat (Q4). It is important for me to work on these two sets of goals simultaneously since they need to work synergistically through the year. I have both sets typed and printed – I keep a large copy at my house and a wallet size copy in my purse.

You have the power to make this next year move you closer to your dreams. And it starts with your decision to figure out what those dreams are and you don’t need to wait till January 1 to make it happen. Start today!

 

Author

Danielle Aaronson

Danielle Aaronson

Danielle’s mission is to inspire leaders to make intentional choices that move them to positive action. She speaks at conferences, management summits, and leadership programs as well as facilitates efforts with executives and senior leaders at organizations seeking to influence their culture. Her mantra, “be the change you wish to see in the world” has allowed her to strive every day to be the best she can be and help others recognize the potential they have to make a positive difference. @deaaronson

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