Like many of you, we’ve spent the past couple of weeks reflecting on 2017 and mapping out our personal and professional goals for the year ahead. Each new year we set out with optimistic goals in mind, but for some reason 2018 feels especially significant and we are eager to make the most out of it.

Setting goals can be a daunting task, and fulfilling them is, of course, always a challenge. Today we’re talking through six steps that will help you set your intention and goals for the year, as well as stick to them. You’ve got this!

Set a Big Picture Intention

To launch your goal setting process, imagine yourself a year from now in December 2018, and think about the person you hope to be and the achievements you hope to have made. From that viewpoint, work backwards and plot out potential steps you could take to work towards that vision. It’s ok if you try to move in one direction and it doesn’t lead you to exactly where you had hoped. You won’t know until you try, and any movement is progress! Most importantly, don’t let anxiety or fear hold you back from taking leaps, knowing that you can always start again.

Write It Down

Goals and intentions feel so abstract until we put them down on paper. Write down your pros and cons from 2017 along with your intention for 2018 and what you hope to accomplish this year. If you’re a visual person and need a bit of structure to get started, I highly recommend Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets. These pages of introspective and thought provoking questions help you set purposeful goals by first evaluating where you are, and then pinpointing what matters most in your life and where to focus your energy.

Don’t Try to Please Everyone

There are so many voices and opinions that come our way daily. Sometimes from people we love and trust, and sometimes from people who we admire from a distance through social media. Take a moment for thoughtful contemplation about what really matters to you, and try to clear the clutter of what everyone else is prioritizing. You might even set goals that could distance you from certain people, but what is most important is that you trust your gut and follow a path that is best for your future and personal growth.   

Set Small, Attainable Goals in Addition to Big Ones

It’s awesome to have big, ambitious goals — like getting a promotion, moving to a new city, changing careers, etc. — but it’s also helpful to have smaller, attainable goals that guide you towards the lofty ones. For example, if you are looking to change your career, set a goal of grabbing coffee once a week with someone who works in an industry you are interested in. These small victories that can be checked off weekly and monthly will motivate and encourage you as you work towards your grand intention.

Find a Mentor

Having a trusted person in your life who you can confide in about both personal and professional goals is immensely valuable. A mentor can be someone who is older and more experienced, or it can be a peer mentor who is in a similar life stage as you. You can also have more than one mentor! A mentor, who has your best interest at heart, can help guide you and keep you accountable as you work towards your goals. Make a point to grab coffee with this person at least once a month to check in on how you are progressing and to hear their words of wisdom and encouragement.

Celebrate the Milestones

Whether you’re making big life changes or bettering your current circumstances, crossing off personal and professional achievements calls for celebration! If you work best with an incentive, treat yourself along the way. For example, if you earn that raise, take the trip you’ve been daydreaming about for months. Or if you make it through Whole30, celebrate with a bottle of wine and pizza with your girlfriends. Big or small, pat yourself on the back and be proud of what you accomplish. You’ve earned it!

 

Do you have any tips for setting and sticking to your yearly goals? We’d love to hear. Leave them in a comment below!