Goal Planning for the New Year – are you Ready?

"To make goals successful, there are a few key items that you need to do to increase your likelihood of follow-through and they're not complicated."

In place of an interview, and with the new year right around the corner, this episode focuses on goal planning. It’s been a crazy year and the next year is looking like it’s starting a little rocky, with the recent spike in COVID positives and a president that doesn’t want to relinquish his seat in office.

The new year is Coming

No matter what craziness is going on now, the New Year is coming. Now as when we need to start looking ahead and start thinking about how you want to make next year better than this one. With everything that the last year has thrown at us, I imagine that this is likely the bulk of the world’s population’s desire.

We’re currently in December, and this is typically the time of year where individuals will start working on their new year’s resolutions, which for many are some last-minute thoughts on things they need or want to change or accomplish, like drinking less exercising more, losing weight, reducing credit card debt, etc. However, the thing with new year’s resolutions is that most don’t come with a plan. You can call your resolutions goals, but goals without a plan are really just wishes. Instead of resolutions, to have the best success, you need to set actual goals and then create a plan to make them happen.

To make goals successful, there are a few key items that you need to do to increase your likelihood of follow-through and they’re not complicated.

Write your Goals down

The first thing you need to do is write them down. You can write them down on a single sheet of paper in a notebook or journal, or type them in on your phone, laptop, or tablet. But get your goals recorded. There’s tons of evidence in books, blogs, and podcasts that proves that this is probably the number one step you can do to increase your chances of achieving your goals.

Read Your Goals Out Loud

Second, read your goals – out loud is better. And if you have a close friend or partner, read them your goals and then discuss them. This is another technique that will significantly improve your success rate. Start with a draft and then edit or rewrite them as required to get a final list.

Set Specific Timeframes

Third, set some specific timeframes of when you want to accomplish the individual goals. Setting the day to the end of 2021 very likely puts you right back where you started this year. For this step, think about how you can divide your individual goals into progress levels and track them. This way you can celebrate mini success milestones, as you progress to complete your overall goals. Let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year, set a five-pound mini-goal per quarter, and then celebrate where you are at each quarter – just not with cake to be transparent. I’ve been around goal planning people for 20 plus years, and they all have their specific way to record, set, and track their goals.

Knew to Goal Planning?

Suppose goal planning is something you’re new to or it makes you overly anxious. In that case, there are some proven systems available that can provide you with a platform and templates to get you going. One of the most popular methods of goal setting is the concept of SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. I will include some resource links to get you started.

Although it is great to have individual goals that revolve around your health or finances, there are a lot of other areas in your life that may need some work. And rather than just being depressed because you feel like you’re failing in areas outside of your health and finances, you can set some goals around them too.

One area may be career, and for many that work at well-established companies, there may be some goal or career planning systems already in place.

Why am I Doing this Post?

I’m doing this episode for a couple of reasons. One is I believe in the importance and value of setting and achieving goals, but also because I just returned from our masterminds annual goal planning retreat, and I’m still jacked up from the energy and excitement that occurred in all of the attendees. I know I’ve mentioned the mastermind group on other podcast episodes and will likely mention it in future ones as well, because of the significant value it provides to me.

The Mastermind

To give you a short summary, I belong to a men’s success focus mastermind group that meets every three weeks where attendees give presentations on primarily successful focused topics, but occasionally on some fun off the wall topics as well. The group’s focus is on improving the success rate for individuals in the group around financial health, family, mental, social, spiritual, and career goals. That may seem like a lot of areas to cover, but I can tell you in the five years that I have been a part of this group, I’ve seen some incredible transformations in our members and in myself. For those that may be new to masterminds, I’ll provide a link below to a video you can check out.

This year’s retreat took us back to a cabin in Nobleton, Florida place that we’ve been to twice before. This year, we had seven guys from various industries that included banking, engineering, insurance, real estate, VR, and of course project management. We spent two days and two nights sitting around a fire, reviewing, discussing planning, and finalizing our goals for the coming year. I’ll include a link for some photos and possibly video in the show notes to get some sense of the event. We ate very well, with three good meals a day, and drink our favorite beverages while enjoying cigars, all building a foundation for the new year. We had fun times!

Some of the greatest aspects of this event are the deep discussions that we have around our past year’s successes and failures. And the next level we plan to hit not only in the coming year but also the big hairy life goals that we want to achieve before we park this earth.

Eulogy time?

One of the cool new items we added to this year’s agenda which was introduced by one of our members was discussing our future obituary/Eulogy. That may seem a little dark. The questions asked were;

  1. What song would you want to be played?
  2. What picture would you want to represent you?
  3. Who would you want to deliver your eulogy?
  4. What would you like them to say that summarize who you were?

This task goal was not only to create some interesting conversation, but when thinking about your eulogy, what are you doing now, or what you plan to do in your life that would truly make you that person you would like described when you’re gone? This is a very fun and informative exercise that everyone enjoyed. The cool thing about this and the remaining work that is done at the retreat is that all the information is recorded in some forum for future reference and accountability.

We have History

This group has been around for just shy of five years as of this month. And this was our fourth annual retreat. We have established our own goal planning and recording system that we use every year and minor tweaks we learned from previous events and attendees. The goal planning that we do revolves around what we call the seven life accounts. This includes the areas I mentioned earlier, which are:

  1. Financial
  2. Career
  3. Health and fitness
  4. Mental and educational
  5. Family
  6. Spiritual
  7. Career.

The spiritual aspect revolves around basically realizing that some things are bigger than you, which could mean many things not just specifically religion-focused.

We wrap up the retreat by doing an audio recording of our 2021 goals. It typically takes one to two minutes per person. The recordings are stored on each individual’s phones, and they play them at future meetings so that we can discuss the progress of where they’re at in their journey. We do not discuss each and every goal in detail – We’re just trying to make sure that the individual is moving forward and accomplishing the goals that they set for themselves at the retreat.

New Mastermind?

This group has been so impactful for me over the years. That one of my goals for 2021 is to start a project management focused mastermind, something that I have not seen that exists. If a project management focus mastermind intrigues you and you’re interested in getting more information, subscribe to the blog, the podcast and send me an email with your contact info, and mention your interest in the mastermind. I’ll provide links below. I’ll also include some links to worksheets you can use to get your goal planning started.

Remember the Three Steps

But remember at least three key items mentioned earlier, which are to:

  1. One record your goals either on paper or electronically.
  2. Two discuss them with someone who knows you.
  3. Three set some realistic timeframes or milestones.

For a good planning technique, follow the SMART goal formula.

Best wishes to all of you as you head into the holidays and the coming year. This post was also recorded as a podcast episode, so if you need some reinforcement while you drive or walk, check it out here:

Podcast /Episode

What are you planning for?

What is your plan for getting prepared for 2021 and beyond? Have you started on your goals for next year for both personal and career? Are you stuck and not sure how or where to start? Drop me a quick email and let me know what your plans are for 2021.


Resources Links Mentioned: