As 2016 rolls away, so many persons begin to make a review on what they achieved and often times we dont get so happy because we had hoped we’d achieve more. As we close the chapters of 2016, i would suggest that you take these last 3 days in setting goals and plans for 2017. I have decided to help you by way of writting this post and giving you an efficient goal-setting plan which has worked for me these years.

The #1 reason why people don’t accomplish their goals is the lack of genuine connection and commitment to them. But once you’ve figured out what you really want to do, you still need a strategy for accomplishing it. Your goals are not going to get you anywhere if you don’t actually do something about them. And not just anything—but the right things. Let me discuss some pretty little things here:

1.) Focus on only 1-2 major goals. Seriously.

Have you ever figured out how you’re spending time each week? I have a post on this, you can view it here. Figure out what your one major goal is this year. I have two major goals—one personal, one career-driven—but wouldn’t advise choosing more than 1-2. This is the hardest part for most people because choosing just one BIG goal to pursue requires extreme focus and connection to purpose. But, it’s really important that you stick to just 1-2 major goals. Goals to me are different than habit changes. Your 1-2 goals should be so big that it would take an entire year to accomplish. If you were to accomplish only these 1-2 things, you’d feel like you had a very successful year. Based on what you really want to accomplish—where your deepest values, passions, and skills intersect—choose 1-2 goals to focus on for the rest of the year. Do not aim for “reasonable.” Be a bit unreasonable. What do you really want to accomplish in the next 365 days? That’s what you should make your goal.

2.) Create monthly sub-goals. 

Once you’ve created your 1-2 major goals, create monthly sub-goals for each one. The idea is that your monthly sub-goals would very clearly lead to you accomplishing your 1-2 major goals for the year. (Note: I’d recommend planning for 12 months, but you can certainly plan for 6 months, 18 months or whatever number you feel comfortable with.) Example: Big Goal: Learn how to code and land a job as a front-end developer. Sub-Goals:

  • April – Apply and get into the Beginner HTML/CSS class
  • May – Take the class & code my own personal blog for practice
  • June – Continue taking my class, finish coding the blog, and work on a Demo Day project
  • July – Finish my class & find a company to let me do front-end coding for free to help them redesign a website
  • August – Apply and get into the Advanced HTML/CSS class
  • September – Continue taking my class, finish up coding for the company side project
  • October – Finish my class and take on one more front-end freelance project for another company
  • November – Finish freelance project #2 and apply to a minimum of 8 front-end developer jobs
  • December – Interview with companies, apply to 5 more jobs if necessary…and land a full-time developer job by 12/31!

When you break your major goal down this way, you can see the natural progression of your goal and exactly what needs to be done each month in order for you to get a job as a front-end developer by December 31st. Breaking it down this way makes the end goal seem even more tangible. It will get you super excited about the idea of taking on your plan and tackling that one big, amazing goal of yours.

3.) Create weekly mini-goals. 

Have you ever figured out the 20% of your work that’s driving 80% of your results. Now, the question is: What systems can you put in place to do less of the 80% of activity that isn’t generating results, and more of the 20% activity that is? Example: 80% of work that isn’t driving a ton of results:

  1. Checking email for 4 hours a day
  2. Using social media too often throughout the day
  3. Taking too many meetings during the week

Strategies to eradicate the issues above:

  1. Check email for only 2 hours a day—one hour between 11-12pm, and one hour between 4-5pm. Use Inbox Zero techniques to answer, archive, and delete more emails in half the time.
  2. Block social media websites between the hours of 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm.
  3. Only take meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-3pm. If it doesn’t fit into the other person’s schedule, the meeting gets pushed to the following week. Exceptions can be made, but only if the meeting is of extremely high importance and/or urgency.

Once you create a list of strategies, use those—in addition to your set of monthly sub-goals—as a guide, and create around 50 mini goals (about 4 mini goals per month—one for each week). Each mini goal should take no longer than a week to accomplish. Essentially, the mini goals are a way to further break down your monthly goals into highly manageable weekly chunks. When you break your monthly sub-goals down, you basically create a detailed road map for making stuff happen. It seems so obvious, but no one plans like this. That’s why most people fail (in addition to not creating strategies to eradicate triggers that lead to wasting time). 

4.) Do your weekly planning.

Based on the weekly goals you outlined for the current month you’re in, you need to set aside 30 minutes to create a weekly “plan of attack” for accomplishing your mini goal for the week ahead. It’s a good idea to add in your major goal, monthly sub-goal, and weekly mini goal at the top of your weekly worksheet to remind you of what the whole point is with all this planning business and hard work. At the beginning of every week, you should know exactly what you’re looking to accomplish every day to achieve your weekly mini goal—so that you can move on to your next mini goal, in order to move on to your next sub-goal, in order to accomplish your one major goal.

You can also add a list of “additional projects and tasks” on the weekly goal setting. That’s because none of us have just one responsibility. We’re all juggling multiple things at any given point in time. The point of this is to help you make the tasks that are directly related to your major goal a priority over the other stuff you have to do. This is a huge part of goal accomplishment—you need to be willing to get your goal-related tasks done first, even when you’ve got other important things going on. If you don’t get into the habit of doing this, you’ll fail because there’s simply too much other stuff out there to distract you from your longer-term goal.

5.) Do your daily planning.

Once you’ve done your weekly planning, you need to set aside time to plan every single day for the upcoming day. I’ve soaked up a ton of productivity advice over the last several years, and this is something I hear from pretty much every productivity guru and successful person out there: You have to plan on your own success. If you don’t break it down to what you’ll do every day, then there’s no way you’ll accomplish your weekly, monthly, or annual goals. Basically, if you don’t plan daily, you’re screwed. Either you’re going to own your day, or your day is going to own you. I see an enormous difference in my own productivity when I plan it out thoroughly versus just wing it. Of course, your daily plan needs to go hand-in-hand with the strategies you implement to actively avoid time-wasting triggers and activities.

I believe the plan above is the absolute best aggregated, tailored plan for making your goals a reality. So there you have it! An easy-as-they-come, fail-proof goal-setting (and achieving) method. Five steps. A lot of happiness and accomplished goals.

Happy Prosperous New Year

  • Zikky

    Amazing…..this has put me into remembrance of the necessities of dis season.
    Thank u Dr Paul.