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Goal Setting Formula

Hey goal achievers, Kristin here, and today we are talking about my favorite topic – GOALS! 

I want to equip this community with goal setting insight and tools, so we are set up for success in 2021. I know so many people focus on resolutions around the New Year. According to a Forbes article, studies show less than 25% of people stay committed to their resolutions after just 30 days, and only 8% accomplish them. This might surprise some of you, but chances are most resolutions set are vague with no follow-through plan. 

You might be wondering how I became so passionate about goals. I’ve been coaching small business owners since 2009. At this point in my career, I’ve coached 100’s of people as they’ve launched their practices. I noticed that everyone has goals at the start of their practice but wondered why some people achieve them with great success while others struggle and fail to achieve their goals. 

Here’s what I’ve learned. Breakout performers share four characteristics. 

If you want more insight into each of those characteristics, I encourage you to go back to earlier blog posts (or Elite Achievement podcast episodes) to dive deeper. In this blog, I want to teach you the goal setting formula I use in my business and with my clients. 

I recommend you break your goal setting into three parts – reflecting, brainstorming, planning. 

Great goal planning begins with reflection because we can learn a lot about our beliefs, habits and processes by reviewing our past year. I start my reflection session by reading my long-term vision. Reflecting on your vision gives you the opportunity to make sure it still energizes you. I’m a big believer in your long-term vision being a draft. A draft that can and should evolve as you grow and evolve. It’s important to check back in on that vision to see what resonates with you and what no longer excites you. You might find that something you wrote several years ago is no longer exciting or meaningful and, if so…re-write.

Reading your long-term vision to kick-off your goal planning also ensures you set meaningful goals in the direction of where you want to go. 

From there, I conduct a SPOT analysis of my business. If you studied business or participated in many strategic annual planning sessions, you are likely familiar with a SWOT analysis. Spot is a slight variation because you can’t solve for weaknesses. 

Below are the steps to conduct a SPOT analysis:

S – identify 3-5 strengths. These are areas where you excel. We want to make sure you continue dedicating time on your calendar to working in your area of strength. 

P – Identify 3-5 problems that need to be solved to achieve your goals. 

O – Identify 3-5 opportunities that will evolve your business or escalate goal achievement. 

T – Identify 3-5 threats that you need to address or handle to achieve your goals. 

I find the spot analysis to be incredibly insightful. It helps you identify the right strategies when it comes to planning how to achieve your goals. 

I reflect on the year with questions like:

What did I accomplish? 

What did I not accomplish and why? 

What worked that I want to continue in the new year? 

What beliefs, habits and processes do I need to evolve in the new year? 

What did I learn? 

What disappointed me? 

Sometimes we can answer this question with a lot of external circumstances. I challenge you to stay inward. Think about the things within your control or choices you made that you want to re-evaluate for the new year.

Two simple yet powerful questions to wrap up your reflection include what do you want more of in 2021? What do you want less of in 2021? 

You might consider pausing after the reflection session and coming back to goal planning the next day. I find that when I start thinking and reflecting, I remember different achievements or lessons or reflection points after my initial session. You might also be fired up to start brainstorming goals and that is ok too.

To brainstorm goals, I outline categories that are important for me. Personal, professional, financial, family and health. You might be connected to other categories or want to set goals in fewer categories. 

A good rule of thumb with goal planning, especially if this is a newer practice for you, is less is more. Rachel Hollis has a great visual for understanding the impact of too many focuses. Imagine a lake and picture yourself throwing a handful of pebbles into that lake. The pebbles will sprinkle into the water and make little splashes.  Now picture that same lake and envision yourself throwing a boulder into the water. That one boulder will make a giant splash. 

Focusing on a meaningful goal will make a giant splash in your growth and development journey, and along the way, you will likely build momentum towards the smaller goals. To be clear, I do set more than one goal, but I identify the MOST meaningful goal for the year. Through the pursuit of that meaningful goal, I tend to achieve several of the smaller goals. 

Once I have goals outlined in the categories important to me, I narrow them down to goals that are meaningful, doable, measurable and specific. 

Meaningful goals connect to your vision, move you emotionally, go beyond someone telling you it’s important. Knowing why you want to achieve a goal is critical for following through and staying consistent. I believe we can achieve what we put our minds to, but I think it is also important that we consider what it will take to achieve our goals. 

When you assess if a goal is doable, I’m not encouraging you to think small. Factor in where you are today and what it will take to get to where you want to go. Then consider if you are willing and able to perform at the required effort consistently. 

Sometimes we need to adjust the timeframe for our goals and set a milestone goal in the direction of where we want to go. Get as specific as you can with your goal and ask the following questions:

How much or how often? 

How will you know when you achieve this goal? 

What amount equals success? 

When do you want to achieve this goal? 

Get specific. Vague goals will likely lead to vague results. After reviewing all the goals you brainstormed and deciding which ones are meaningful, doable, measurable and specific, you should be left with your top goals in each category. If you are newer to the goal-setting process, see if you can narrow down the goals to one in each area. If you are a goal setting and achieving expert (notice I added achieving because it’s one thing to set goals and another to actually achieve them) you can narrow down to several in each category. 

No matter how many goals you end up with in your categories, I highly encourage you to identify the MOST meaningful goal for 2021. Again, think boulder. What is the one goal that Gary Keller (author of The One Thing) would call your “lead domino?” It’s the domino goal that will start to knock down all of the rest. 

If you need a formula for narrowing down your goals, I suggest rating each one with a 1-5 score – 5 being the most exciting. 

Once you identify your MOST meaningful goal, you need a plan to achieve your goals. Here’s another differentiator between goal setters and goal achievers. 

If you want a tool to help you plan to achieve your most meaningful goal, head to my website kristinburke.com and download my breakout plan. The breakout plan will help you outline strategies to achieve your goal and design an accountability plan to help you follow through. 

For strategies, I encourage you to go back to basics. It’s often the simple, repetitive or courageous activities (such as eating your veggies, asking for referrals, running the miles) that lead to our goal achievement. 

The pursuit of goal achievement is often not glamorous. It really does boil down to hard work and commitment. This is why it’s critical the goal you are chasing is meaningful. 

So, there you have it, my formula to set your 2021 goals. Reflecting, brainstorming and planning. To grab these tips in a simple summary format, be sure to subscribe to my updates on kristinburke.com on the podcast link. I’ll be sending updates throughout the year to keep you motivated and progressing in the direction of your goals.

And, coming up in January, I will share my top strategies for goal achievement. So, before you grab the champagne to toast to a new year, identify your MOST meaningful goal for 2021 and write it down! 

After you plan your 2021, send me a message and let me know your most meaningful goal. I would love to celebrate and share what this community wants to achieve.

With that goal achievers, I wish you a very Happy New Year!