Goal Setting: Breaking Down Big Goals into Monthly Ones

The last post discussed how to set overall goals for the whole year. Part of why people have trouble reaching their goals is that a year can seem like a long time so it’s easy to get overwhelmed with a larger goal and not know where to start. Unfortunately, sometimes when people don’t know where to begin, they either don’t start at all … or they start but give up before reaching the goal.

If you have a larger goal for the end of 2020, you want to reverse engineer that goal and break it down month by month. This way, you start with small, manageable steps that build on each other and it becomes way easier to reach your goal. I’ll give you a few examples and I’ll also provide a free monthly planning template you can try out.

Health Goal Example:

If you have a year-end goal of being healthier, think of a step you could implement first. Not ten steps–like exercising more, drinking more water, eliminating sugar, cutting carbs, increasing vegetables, meditating, etc. Pick one thing first and do that. Also, try not to be extreme in that one step. For instance, if you are currently exercising ZERO times per week and you put that your goal is to exercise every day for two hours … well, you are most likely going to fail in that goal. You want to set yourself up for success which will cause increased motivation and happiness. So, for my clients who exercise zero or once a week, we set the goal for the first month to increase exercise 2X per week. That’s it. Then, if they exercise more days some week, it feels amazing to them, like they’ve gone above and beyond. Keep it simple.

Financial Goal Example:

If you have a goal of saving for a specific vacation, kitchen appliance, etc, then research what you need to save per month given your desired timeline and make that a monthly savings goal–and put that money into a separate account for that specific thing if possible. Some online banks let you name your savings accounts whatever you want which is a fabulous idea as it creates excitement and motivation. So you can name an account “European escapades” or “kitchen remodel” which makes it even more fun to put money into it.

You would apply these same concepts to career goals, relationship goals, spirituality goals, etc. Start with the first step the first month and then assess how it goes before deciding what to implement the following month. Next week, we will go into specific weekly goal planning in a way that sets you up for success. In the meantime, you can grab this Monthly Planning Sheet to use if you want somewhere to list your goals for this month.

Make sure to check out plenty of other tips on the blog such as 5 Questions to Help You Determine Your Ideal Career.  Already know you’re ready to invest in making your ideal future a reality? Schedule a free coaching consultation today with Dr. Kristi to see if coaching is a good fit for you!  

How to Set Realistic Goals for 2020!

Happy 2020! I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing holiday season with family and friends. I love this time of year as it’s a literal new beginning and is a great chance to set yourself up for a successful year. I’ve never been a fan of resolutions because they often don’t work for many reasons. However, I’m a huge fan of setting goals, because research has shown over and over again that people make progress in the things that they track.

This is the first in a series of 4 posts on goal-setting and we’ll start with the big overall goals you have for yourself for 2020 and the following posts will show you how to reverse engineer those goals into monthly, weekly, and daily tasks to set yourself up to succeed in those goals. Here are a few key tips to goal setting for 2020:

  1. First, you want to choose overall goals in no more than 3-4 areas of your life. Why? Because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself and then become paralyzed into inaction by those feelings. They don’t know which steps to take first, so they take no steps at all. I recommend choosing just 1-2 career goals and 1-2 personal goals for the year.
  2. Make the goals things you have control over. This is a big one. For instance, you can’t say you will get a promotion (unless you’re in charge of giving one to yourself) or that you will meet your future spouse but you can focus on doing things to improve your career such as obtain a new certification, exceed your quotas, etc. or put yourself out there on the dating market.
  3. Be specific. We’ll go more into this with the reverse engineering part of our goal setting in future posts. For now, just get as specific as possible with the overall goal. However, it’s fine to put something like “improve my relationship with my spouse,” “eat healthier,” or “change jobs” because we will drill down into more specificity in future posts.
  4. Use creative visualization. If you’re unsure where to begin as far as goal-setting, then try this creative visualization exercise. Imagine yourself at the end of 2020 and feeling like you just had the best year ever! Feel the glow of happiness and satisfaction until you’re actually smiling. Once you’re smiling because it feels real to you, you’re all set. Now think about this question while you’re still experiencing that happiness: what is different about my life in this visualization than how it is right now?
  5. What will make the biggest difference right now? That’s usually your biggest clue with where to start in terms of goal-setting. What area of your life is causing you the most frustration or discomfort? Start there. Think about that one area of your life getting better and that will help you determine your goal.

Ready to set some overall goals? You can use a notebook, laptop, planner, or just fill out the items below. Feel free to email me at drhelvig (at) yahoo.com if you’d like a prettier version of the planner sheet below or if you would like to set up a yearly planning session with me.

Personal Goals

Health:                                Spiritual/Mindfulness:  

________________________         _________________________

________________________          _________________________

Relationships/Social:                 Other:

________________________         _________________________

________________________         _________________________

Professional Goals

        Career Goal #1                       Career Goal #2

 __________________________      __________________________

Career Goal #3                      Career Goal #4

__________________________           ____________________________

Other:           ________________________________

Financial Goals

Savings Goals:                       Investment Goals:

____________________________                  _____________________________

____________________________                  _____________________________

Other Financial Goals

____________________________

____________________________