Why You Should Have 90-Day Goals (And A Goal Setting Worksheet)
I love planning. And I love setting goals. I make goals all year long, but I especially love thinking about them during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. It’s that awkward week where things are generally quieter and more relaxed, and the promise of a fresh new year is so close. Do you find yourself in ultra planning mode this time of year?
I’ve been doing a lot of dreaming and thinking about what I want to accomplish in the new year and thought I’d share my process with you. Although I love setting lofty goals, I place emphasis on the importance of breaking huge goals into manageable pieces.
Why I Recommend 90-Day Goals
Everyone has a goal setting method that works best for them. Personally, I’ve found ninety days to be the perfect length of time for working on goals. Here are some reasons why I like ninety days:
- Long enough to make meaningful progress
- Short enough to stay focused
- There’s an end in sight
- Doesn’t give me time to procrastinate
How To Set 90-Day Goals
Brainstorm your goals.
The very first thing to do is to take some time to brainstorm. Think about all of the areas of your life and jot down ideas of things you would like to make happen in the coming year. At this step in the process, aim to write down any ideas that come to mind without worrying how you will execute them. This is pure brainstorming time.
Here are the areas of life that you could brainstorm goals for:
- Social Life
- Education/Personal Development
- Health & Self Care
- Hobbies/Side Projects
You can write down your goal ideas anywhere you wish. I love to create a mind map for mine, but a list on a piece of paper would also work. I do think there is incredible value in handwriting your goals rather than typing them.
You can download my goal setting worksheet here if you’d like something pretty to use. I like to label each circle with a category of my life and then create lists of goal ideas under each. Feel free to get messy and add more circles and arrows as you need!
Choose the goals to focus on first.
Now that you have finished brainstorming, narrow down your ideas and select a few to focus all of your energy on first. I like to choose three to five goals that are balanced between the areas of my life. So rather than have five goals all related to my career, I try to even it out by choosing goals from different areas of my life. Look through your mind map and circle the goals you are committed to tackling right now.
Make your goals manageable.
Once you’ve selected the goals you want to work on, spend some time turning them into manageable ninety-day goals. I’ve found that setting goals longer than ninety days just gives me more time to procrastinate. I suggest ninety days because it’s a long enough period of time to make meaningful progress while still being short enough to remain focused.
Take some time to narrow the scope of your goals to something that is achievable in ninety days. For example, you might want to become fluent in French. Clearly, that is not a realistic goal to achieve in the next ninety days, but you could easily complete a beginner training in the length of time. Be realistic and create a ninety-day goal that is manageable and specific.
Then at the end of the ninety days, you can build on your progress by creating a new ninety-day goal that will get you even closer to the ultimate goal of becoming fluent in French.
Create action steps.
Once you have your ninety-day goals in place, take it one step further and make a list of action steps for each. The more detailed you can be here, the better you’ll be able to monitor your progress.
Let’s use an example of wanting to pay off what’s left on your car loan in the next ninety days. Some action steps could be selling $150 worth of things on eBay, picking up three extra shifts at work and cutting back to eating out only once per week.
Once you’ve created your ninety-day goals and have action steps written down for each, it’s time to post them someplace where you’ll be reminded of them often. I’m personally keeping my goal list in my new planner this year so it will be easy to reference and check off action steps as I complete them.
Devote time to your goals.
Although planning can be fun, the real work hasn’t even begun! Now it’s your job to make consistent progress so you will be able to complete your goals in ninety days. As I wrote about last week, you will fail at your goals if you don’t devote time to them. It’s common sense but a simple reminder we all need to hear sometimes.
Bigger goals are easy to put off for ‘later’, especially personal goals where there’s no boss or anyone holding you accountable. I try to be proactive by putting specific appointments into my weekly schedule for each goal. This way I know I have actual time set aside to make progress each week. Even if you can only find a free thirty minutes every week, you’ll still be amazed by how much progress you can make when you focus on it little by little.
I build time for my goals into my weekly schedule because they are important to me, even if they aren’t an urgent deadline I have to meet this week. And I do my best to hold those times as sacred times to focus on my goals. If I can’t avoid scheduling something else during that time frame, I shift time for my goals to another spot on my calendar.
Take some time now to decide when you will work on your big goals. Do you have time on Sunday afternoons? Or can you find a couple nights after the kids go to bed? Or maybe you could wake up an hour earlier? It doesn’t matter when you have the time, it just matters that you commit to making the time.
I hope you have some exciting goals for 2017! Do you follow a similar goal setting process? What goals do you have for yourself in the new year?
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This book is designed to help you find time for all of your commitments and responsibilities as well as your big goals. Consider it an action guide rather than your average book. You will come away with a tangible routine you can put into practice immediately.
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