How to crush your goals this year (with less stress)!

Jan 22, 2020

January. The beginning of a whole new year. The perfect time to reset and start fresh.

If you’re anything like me, you start every year with the best of intentions. You’re ambitious, have big aspirations — but also the tendency to take on too much.

As the months roll on you become overwhelmed, struggling to reach all the enormous goals you set at the beginning of the year. What seemed possible with 12 months ahead of you now seems unattainable. And you become disappointed you’re unable to achieve what you set out to.

Or, perhaps you’ve set realistic, achievable goals and have a plan — but by February, it becomes a battle to stick to it. You’re working in an unstructured way, are always ‘busy’ but never seem to get anything done!

I can relate.

I’m naturally very organised but because I like variety in my work, in the past, I’d often multi-task in the past. Balancing several tasks requiring different skills, energy or brainpower is inefficient. And being ‘busy’ doesn’t mean effective.

However, in the past few years I’ve started using a goal-setting and planning process that’s working beautifully. 

Whether you’re yet to set your 2020 goals, are challenged by time-management or don’t have an effective plan, NOW is the time to get back on track!

Read on to discover my proven, 2-part process to help you crush your goals in 2020 — and achieve more, with less stress!

PART 1 — GOAL-SETTING

At the start of each year, put aside some time to consider what you’d like to accomplish in your personal and professional life. Give yourself a few hours to get clear on your vision, set your goals and create a plan to reach them.

I like to do this process every 6 months — in January, at the start of a new calendar year and in July (the beginning of a new financial year in Australia).

Step #1 — Do a brain dump

Write everything down — all of those to-do’s, important events, your 2020 goals (even the ones you’re still hanging onto from 2019!). Think about the holidays you wish to take this year, birthday’s and the big business projects you want to complete — like a new program or product launch.

Get ALL of those ideas and to-do’s out of your head and onto paper!

Step #2 — Priorities, passion & profit

Next, cross out anything that’s NOT truly important, or that you don’t genuinely want to dedicate time or energy to this year. For your work or business, prioritise activities that make you money.

What do you want to say YES to this year? At this point, eliminate any ‘should-do’s or ‘nice-to have’s’. Any goals that make the cut need to be a clear YES!

Pay particular attention to any goals that appear on your to-do list year after year. The ones that somehow never get completed. Ask yourself — do I really want to commit to this goal?

Step #3 — Diarise

Once you’ve got a list of your 2020 goals, schedule each project under a different month in your calendar. Start by entering important dates (birthdays, holidays, business events — such as launches or conferences) and prioritise the remaining tasks throughout the year.

Be decisive, prioritise what’s most important and be realistic about what is possible for you to complete each month.

Step #4 — Separate projects & tasks

Finally, start creating a list of all the key projects you plan to work on throughout the year. For each project, map out the exact steps you’ll need to take to make sure the project is completed. List each as a separate task under each project.

Moving forward, you’ll use this main task list to plan your weeks and days ahead of time. Be sure to keep adding new projects and tasks to this list throughout the year.

PART #2 — PLANNING

Ever heard the saying — failing to plan is planning to fail? Setting goals is important but creating a plan to reach them on a daily, weekly and monthly basis is essential if you want to stay on track and actually achieve them!

Step #1 — 90 day planning

Once you’ve listed out your annual goals, establish a plan for the next 90 days. Trying to work on all of your goals at once is unrealistic and will only lead to overwhelm!

The beauty of planning ahead in 3 month chunks is that it allows you to focus on a few key goals each quarter. This makes accomplishing your goals much more realistic and achievable.

Review your main project list and calendar for the quarter and select your top 3 goals that you’ll prioritise completing over the next 90 days.

Step #2 — Commit to a weekly planning practice

Next, choose a set time on a weekly basis to plan the week ahead. Warning — don’t skip this step!

Making weekly planning a habit is essential if you want to reach your goals, so select a time you know you can commit to.

I like to do this on a Friday afternoon before I finish up for the weekend. Many consultants and business owners do their weekly planning on a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon. Set aside a time when you know you can show up consistently — the process should take you 20 minutes, tops.

First, check in on your top 3 goals for the quarter and your task list if necessary. Choose a maximum of 3 projects to work on in the week ahead.

Second, based on these priority projects, allocate specific tasks for the week ahead and include a completion date for each. Your tasks are the action steps you’ll be working on throughout the week to complete each project. Always prioritise the tasks that move the needle in your business or role.

Finally, anything that you don’t complete will get moved to the following week.

Step #3 — Your daily plan

By putting your weekly plan in place at the end of each week, you’ll know exactly where to start on Monday morning! In addition, you’ll want to spend a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day to check in on your weekly plan.

Review your weekly plan each morning and prioritise the top 3 activities to work on that day. Get clear on the number one task you need to complete above anything else. Then, start there before you dive into emails or social media.

Finally, take 10 minutes at the end of your day to review your progress and update your weekly task list. Ask yourself:

  • What 3 things am I celebrating today?
  • What’s the number one priority I need to focus on tomorrow?

To stay motivated, it’s important to celebrate every step along the way. This will keep you on track to completing your goals. No task or action is too small!

Step #4 — Manage your time

Lastly, batch similar tasks to work more efficiently and consider when you perform at your best throughout the day. For example, I coach on set days, allocate time for marketing and creative work and schedule important meetings from mid-morning when I’m more energised.

Additionally, to avoid multi-tasking and improve productivity, focus on one task at a time. If you’re ever stuck in overwhelm, procrastination or simply don’t know what to prioritise, ask yourself this: What’s the one best step I can take right now?

So, there you have it. The exact goal-setting and planning process I use each year to set the right goals and achieve more — with less stress. I hope this helps you too!

Ready to crush your goals this year and make 2020 your best year yet?! Click HERE to book a free Strategy Consult and find out how coaching with me can help you!

Stacey Back is a coach to consultants and the Founder of Profile Careers. She helps high-achieving professionals go from feeling trapped in their corporate careers to developing the confidence and strategy to transition into their own consulting businesses.

Stacey also supports existing consultants who are stuck in a business model they hate, working longer hours than ever or struggling to find clients and make money. She helps them set the right foundations in their business so they can find more time, attract the right clients and create a consulting business doing the work they love — one that supports their ideal lifestyle. 

Stacey works virtually with individuals based across Australia and internationally.