Setting Goals for the Year Ahead

Jan 08, 2021

Last week I shared how I like to Reflect, Release, and/or Rejoice the prior year's energy before I make plans for the year ahead. 

This is an important step, and it took me awhile longer than I had hoped for, but the December 2020 end of month/year/quarter was epic, to say the least. 

It's a good time to be in this business! I love doing loan signings for first time homebuyers. And 80% of my appointments that last week of December were just that-brand new homebuyers!

I also had an opportunity to train a new loan signing agent/escrow assistant, and I think she's going to be fabulous at this work. 

Now that the year has ended, and I took the time I needed to release and rejoice, I've been able to look at 2021 and what I want to create for myself and others.

In this blog, I'll share my process with you. 

It's not the only way. Take what works for you, and ditch the rest. My own process is a conglomeration of many others I studied and read about. 

Here's what I invite you to do:

First, grant yourself permission to dream big again.  Goals are not about accomplishment. They are about who you are pushed to become in their pursuit. 

Second, be aware of the fact that when I and others write about this stuff it is an incredible over-simplification of what life actually looks like. I'll be sharing the five buckets I tend to focus on for planning, like business/finance, relationships, etc, but life is an interwoven tapestry that doesn't always fit into other people's molds or "buckets".

Be flexible, with yourself, your dreams, and with each other. We're all doing the best we can with what we've got, where we are at this moment. 

Finally, goals are a guidepost to let you know you're on track to reach the higher vision for yourself. If you don't yet have a higher vision, or a mission statement to help you make decisions that will serve you, I encourage you to spend some time drafting one.

Then, keep it close to your heart every single day. I still recite mine each morning, even when I don't want to hear it. Goal planning without a higher vision is like collecting stuff and accomplishments without any real heart in the matter. It can feel good for awhile, but at some point you may feel unfulfilled.

Goal Planning Step One 

Choose four or five "buckets" of life that are important to you. Some common areas are:

  • Financial
  • Marital/Spouse Relations
  • Philanthropy/Volunteering
  • Business/Work
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Parental
  • Relationships/Social
  • Mental/Growth
  • Spiritual

For me, I choose Physical/Health/Energy, Business/Financial, Mental Growth, Spiritual/Legacy, and Social/Family/Relationships.

I write these out in a grid in my journal and leave some space beneath each. 

Then, I write out some goals or ideals that I hope for in each one. 

As I am writing this, I realize it seems really simple. And it is...but it isn't.  Spend some time with this, and you may actually want to do it a few times. Keep coming back to it over a period of a few days. Our brains are excellent bullsh*t#rs and can convince us of anything. Sometimes what we really want, AND why we want it, is buried under some baggage. 

Goal Planning Step Two

Once you have a short list of goals in each category, choose one that stands out as the "Prime Objective" in each category.

I can only speak for myself here, but in most cases, this one main goals jumps out as pretty obvious. Thats because, if hit, all the other goals would have to have happened in order to hit it, or will happen after you hit it. 

The other goals are still important. In many cases, these smaller goals are some of the action steps you'll have to take throughout the year to help make the new big goal happen. 

Goal Planning Step Three

Dream bigger. We tend to choose goals that are somewhat "realistic" to us because our logical minds get caught up in the "how" of things. 

I speak from experience when I say "F-that" (Easy now, 'F' is for "forget." What did you think I meant?). Forget the "how" of things for now. Dream big and you'll be presented the people and opportunities that will plow the "how" field. 

What's important to remember, so imma say it again, goals are NOT about their accomplishment. Sure, that's awesome when you hit 'em, but that's not what this is about. 

Goals ARE about who you HAVE to become in order to make them happen. 

That is the power of a good goal. It forces you to grow into the kind of person that can make it happen.

So now, look back on your new big goals for each category and find a way to make them bigger. 

If you're into Grant Cardone, 10X it. 

If you can double it, double it. 

Whatever it is, make it bigger. I do not subscribe to "one size fits all" dreams and formulas, so this will be different for each of you. Remember your invitation today - grant yourself permission to dream big again and know that the bigger your dream, and the more committed you are to attaining it, the more you will grow (even if you don't hit the goal)! 

If you'd like a practical example of this, here's how I did it this year:

My main goal for health in 2021 was to be off of my high blood pressure medication. To make that bigger, I added losing 65 pounds AND completing a major hiking challenge here in Phoenix. 

Another example was my income goal. At first, I made the goal to double my income. Sure, that's exciting, but it very well may be a safe and realistic goal (especially in this housing market) set by my reptilian brain trying to keep me safe and secure. Recognizing that, I 5x'd my income goal for 2021 and it is a HUGE stretch. 

Stretch yourself, AND know why you want what you want. 

And that brings us to...

Goal Planning Step Four

Why is it important for you to hit this goal? You have to be tapped into a compelling WHY. Dreams and goals ain't easy. That's what makes them powerful. You're going to have days that you don't wanna do what you gotta do. 

There will be days where the call of Netflix is loud. There will be days when laundry sounds more fun than cold calling. There will be days when you're so busy working IN your business that it is easy not to work ON your business.

You must have a compelling 'why' that drags you out of bed or off the couch. You must have a reason so meaningful to you that you forsake your household chores every now and again so you can connect with people/clients/customers that will move you toward your goals. You must find the time in your 24 hours per day to claim your dream (stop waiting for someone else to hand deliver the time you need to do so) - CLAIM IT!! 

Goal Planning Step Five

Jot down a few things you could do TODAY, or this week, to advance your goal. 

Then...schedule it and do it.

You absolutely must schedule your dream. Don't leave your future up to the random happenstance of the Universe. You might think that works for some people, but I guarantee that everyone around you that you perceive as "lucky" took some kind of action to put themselves in that path of providence. Even a lottery winners took a minute to buy a ticket.

Keep your annual goals in front of you every day, whether in a journal or on a smartphone app. I use giant sticky notes and post them on the inside of my closet door.

Now, go back to that list of goals you jotted down earlier. You know the list I mean, where you pulled the one big goal from each of those buckets. Chances are, you have some of the smaller goals written out there that will help make the big goal happen. 

Take a look at your year ahead, and start placing these goals as your objective for the quarters coming up. Quarters of the year are easy to use because our business world is modeled around them. That said, you don't have to use quarters.  If you want 6 weeks cycles, use 6 week cycles. Whatever feels right to you, use it.

Goal Planning Step Six

Now that you have an idea of what you want to accomplish through the year, and you have an idea of what you'll have to get done each quarter to make those goals happen, have a system in place for creating weekly goals that move you forward toward the quarterly goals. 

I call this my Sunday planning and it works like this:

  • Review the previous week. How'd I do? Hit the goals I set? What do I need to do differently? 
  • Set the top three priorities for the week ahead. What must get done to move me forward to the quarterly goals?
  • Celebrate my wins (this is counter-intuitive for me too, but it has made all the difference in bringing joy to my business and life).

Goal Planning Step Seven

Let's recap:

You now know four or five MAJOR goals you want to accomplish this year. 

We identified some smaller goals that we've scheduled throughout the year that, when reached, will help us advance toward those major goals. 

Then, each week, we take 20 minutes or so to set our three main priorities (goals) for the week ahead. These priorities help us move toward our quarterly goals. 

Next, we plan the next day, and here's how I like to do that:

Each evening, I open my electronic calendar (I use Google Calendar) and review the appointments ahead. 

I then handwrite those appointments into a daily planner (I use Michael Hyatt's Full Focus Planner-which, BTW, helps plan a LOT of this goal stuff out). This act of handwriting my appointments seems to really ingrain them in my day. 

Once I have a really good idea of what the day looks like, I review the weekly priorities and then I set the three top objectives for the next day. What is it that must get done? Those three things make the list. 

Then, trust me, I have a ridiculously long list of other "To Do's" I can write out too, but these top three things have to get done in order for the dream to move. 

I used to do this process in the morning, as part of my routine. But, what I have found for me, is that my mind tends to stay in overdrive at night as it tries to figure out what the next day may look like. So, I switched to doing this in the evening before bed, and it seems to give my brain the answers it craves so I can fall asleep faster, and better. 

Wrapping Up

I followed a similar process as I found success as a mobile notary and loan signing agent. Remember, this is a becoming process, so it is constantly evolving for me, as well as you. No one has this stuff all figured out yet. Many have found a way that works for them and they share it. Take what works for you, adapt it to you and your vision, and let go of the rest.

Then, add more as you learn more. 

Everything we've talked about here will lead to your own habits and routines that serve your vision and your goals. You'll create your own "Daily Do's" and "Morning Mastery."

A word of warning:  If you use your goals and vision to shame yourself (or others), you're doing it wrong. This is supposed to be fun, and frankly, the more joy you feel in pursuit of your dreams, the more you realize that the pursuit of dreams, and who you meet, and who you become along the way, is what this is really all about.

Bill

 

 

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