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When I worked at my old job, setting goals was legitimately one of my least favorite things. I dreaded that time of year because I never felt excited about it. It was more about checking off that box than really thinking about what I wanted to achieve. Since quitting my 9-5 and going to full time blogging I’ve been so buried in the day-to-day I haven’t taken a step back to reflect and plan for the future (at least not in the way I’d like). With so many personal and professional changes on the horizon I wanted to sit down, assess where I am right now, come up with goals, and create a plan for the next 12 months. Setting goals (personally and professionally) is a great way to motivate yourself, figure out what you want to achieve, and decide how to make it happen. It’s also a nice way to strengthen your self confidence. Who wouldn’t feel good after setting a goal and accomplishing it? To make the process a bit less intimidating I’ve outlined some key points to consider and questions to ask yourself. Hopefully these will help you set specific, meaningful goals and more importantly, achieve them. Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my goals (personal and business) for 2017 so make sure you check back for that. And please do share any other tips you have for setting goals and actionable ways to achieve them in the comments. Let’s grab 2017 by the…

Setting Goals: Questions to Ask & Things to Consider

1. Evaluate and Reflect.  Set aside time to evaluate and reflect on your current situation (this goes for personal and professional). What in your life makes you happy/unhappy. Think about what you like and dislike. What are your passions? What excites you? Focus on experience over objects, for example think about the activities/actions that make you happy rather than things.

2. Think big and small. There’s two ways to go about it, either start with several smaller goals and find a common larger theme, or start big and create smaller goals that align with the overarching bigger goal.

3. Write it down. This really makes a huge difference. I spent a few hours writing down all of my goals (which I’ll share tomorrow). Putting them on paper or typing them out, whatever your preferred method, helps make them more concrete and real. It also helps you keep track.

4. Make them achievable. Be realistic with yourself when setting goals. There’s no sense in setting goals you can’t achieve. Of course you should challenge yourself but make sure the goals you are setting are realistic and within reach.

Achieving Your Goals

1. Make an action plan. Once you’ve decided on your goals the crucial next step is deciding the necessary steps and actions you need to take in order to accomplish them. For example, one of my personal goals for 2017 is to exercise more. I made it more specific by detailing what types of exercise, how often, and when I plan to do it (I’ll share more on this tomorrow). Writing out the steps you need to take to accomplish your goals will help you get there.

2. Keep your goals consistent with your life/career plan. Aligning your goals with the direction you want to take your personal and professional life is a great way to go about it. Are you ready to start thinking about buying a house? Maybe you’re thinking about moving to another city or changing careers? Wherever you are in your life, think about your aspirations and align your goals with them.

3. Hold yourself accountable. This relates to step 3 in setting your goals. Writing everything down will help you stay accountable (doing it in multiple places is even better). I’ve also communicated my goals with some of my close friends and they’ve done the same. We promised to check in on each other and keep one another accountable.

4. Be open minded. Life is complicated and as much as I’d love to be in full control at all times (complete control freak over here) that’s just not how it works. Be flexible and willing to adjust your goals as you go. What you set out to accomplish at the beginning of the year may change due to factors beyond your control. You may even end up going far beyond your initial expectations.