The good stuff: How to set goals for 2024

The good stuff: How to set goals for 2024
Jo Lee
Jo LeeJo Lee Coaching

Posted: Thu 25th Jan 2024

Deciding what is most important and then creating a plan to achieve it can feel overwhelming at times.

Hopefully, breaking it down into these steps will help when it comes to being more intentional about growing the good stuff in your business... and life.

Step 1: Take a moment to dream

Sometimes we can be tempted to dream too small, so it’s good to begin with the thought: "Someday my life will look like..."

Someday implies anything can be possible and it opens our minds and hearts to the possibilities.

If life is someday going to look like your dream, then what will life need to look like in five years? In one year? This one year is now, so what does life need to look like at the end of 2024 if you’re moving towards your dream?

We know that our lives are made up of many parts and it can be helpful to think of each part as we dream towards the future. We’ve probably all got room for growth in various areas, however, not everything is going to matter equally to us this year.

Some questions to ask are:

  • Why does this dream matter?

  • Why do I want to see improvement in this area of my life?

It will be easier to answer these questions in some areas more than others, indicating the things that currently matter most.

Step 2: Create SMART goals

To be successful, goals need to be tied to something that matters to us (our dreams) and need to be clearly defined. They need to be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.

Specific means your goal needs to be stated clearly so that you focus on achieving it.

It can help to answer the following questions:

  • What do I want to accomplish?

  • Why is this goal important?

  • Who is involved?

  • Where is this goal located?

Measurable means you can track your progress, stay motivated and meet deadlines. Being able to measure progress helps keep motivation high and builds excitement as you get closer to achieving your goal.

Achievable means your goals need to be attainable to be successful. It’s good to stretch ourselves and get out of our comfort zones, however, the goal still needs to be possible. If you’ve never climbed a mountain before, it’s not a good plan to start with Everest!

Realistic means it is something that you currently have the time and resources to dedicate to achieve.

Time-bound means each goal needs a completion date so that you have a deadline to work towards. This helps prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.

Step 3: Get writing!

There is power in writing out your goals. It could be in a notebook beside your bed that you read in the morning or at night or a note on your fridge or mirror. If you’re a visual person, you can make a vision board, take pictures or save images as your screen saver.

Write your goals in a positive way as if you have already achieved them. For instance, "I am..."

These positive statements affirm your capacity to achieve them and your brain begins to think of these goals as already achieved.

Think about it

If you’re serious about your goals, they will shape your year. Thus, they need to be in your thoughts.

When we set a goal, it's often less about achieving it and more about the person we become along the way and the decisions we make. Our goals need to be in our thoughts if they’re going to influence these decisions.

Another reason is that our subconscious mind becomes a great asset. When we read through our goals, we create ‘dynamic tension’, where there is a gap between our current reality and the realisation of our goals. Our subconscious will work hard to close that gap and will always be on the lookout for ways to achieve our goals.

A side note: Our subconscious mind doesn’t work with negatives, so if you frame a goal as a negative statement, such as, by the end of the year, I won’t..., then your subconscious won’t hear the negative and will work towards the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Have you ever tried not thinking of something and then it’s the only thing you can think of?!

If our goals are written down, we can tick them off. This gives us a massive dopamine hit, which makes us feel great and makes us want to tick more things off!

So, I encourage you to get a goal or some goals written down clearly or illustrated in some way in a place where you will look at them every day.

  • Read them

  • Remember them

  • Refer to them and create space for wonderful things to happen

Step 4: Get planning!

By now, you might be making lists of goals and feeling like there is so much you want to do.

The good news is that dreaming, goal setting and pursuing new things is a long game. It doesn’t all have to happen in the first week or month of a new year. There are 12 months in the year and it’s a great idea to try and map out your hopes for the year over those 12 months.

A garden doesn’t bloom all at once and different areas need to be tended to at different times in the year.

If we plan, we can give everything its proper place and work out what to tend to in any given month. We can also plan around other live events that might make certain months particularly busy, like school exams and holidays.

A good place to start is to get a big piece of paper, create 12 sections for the months and put in those goals that are time-specific. Then take the other goals you’re prioritising this year and map them into your 12 months. Start with putting in the end date and work back from there.

You now have a monthly plan, which you can check at the start of every month and will help you fill your diary for that month. This way, you get to plan for your priorities before you get swept up in everyone else’s!

Step 5: Take the first step

If you look at your list for January, what is the one thing you can do to get started on your goal?

It might take a moment to break it down to the next right step. It’s a bit like a domino track, you don’t knock all the dominos at once but you find the first one, knock it over and start a chain reaction.

When you think of the next thing, take some action within five seconds, even if it’s just adding to your to-do list or a note somewhere. This is because your brain is developed to keep you safe and protect you from change and waiting any longer than five seconds means you’ll start to reason as to why it might not work. Your safety mechanisms kick in, so taking action in under five seconds tricks the brain into giving a new thing a go!

To help with this, as you’re thinking about what your next right thing is, send yourself a quick email with what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it (or email me and I’ll hold you to it).

That’s your first step and now you just need to go do it!

Relevant resources

Jo Lee
Jo LeeJo Lee Coaching

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