First, a word on this series. Goal planning is a process and this series of blogs is a look at what mine is. It’s a process I’ve created based on countless articles, motivational speeches, goal planning systems (both paper and digital), etc. and advice from writers, authors, friends, motivational speakers, mentors, etc. given or read across all kinds of platforms such as social media, in books, etc. over decades of being a student, writer, human, etc.
Goal planning is one of the most important tools I use to achieve the things I set out to do. It’s not a process I take lightly and not something I give anything less than my best effort and attention to when it is time to go through the procedure. It is however a series of exercises that has changed over time and I’ve felt the call to write out and really pull apart what that process actually has become in order to create even better goals. That’s mostly because I am a writer, and I break down my own thoughts and feelings best when I write about them. Writing about my writing process and then my revising process helped me immensely when I took the time to break them down and share them here. I’m looking forward to doing the same by breaking down and sharing my goal planning process.
The first step in the process of planning my goals is directly linked to the last step. That is because, before I set out to engage in any new goal planning, I reflect on the previous set of goals I’ve just completed. In these reflections, I want to be as honest with myself as I can be about what worked and what didn’t in my last goal setting journey. I want to celebrate what I’ve accomplished, but I also confront what I didn’t and figure out why. Sometimes a goal wasn’t completed because I didn’t have the time I thought I would and overbooked myself. Other times I would find that a goal couldn’t be completed because I hadn’t prepared myself to complete it. Some goals wouldn’t get completed because, as I set out to work on it, I’d find I wasn’t ready to complete them. In this reflection step I break apart each of those happenings and make sure I understand exactly what happened and why. Confronting what happened and how it was either within or outside of my control, helps me to do something differently next time and hopefully reach a different outcome.
The next thing I need to do is look at those goals I didn’t accomplish before and decide which of them I am carrying into the next goal planning session. I’ve had times where goals that weren’t accomplished were put aside for completion sometime in the far future and others that have gone to the top of the list for the immediate future following. If a goal I had set to accomplish directly affects a goal I’m looking to complete in the next set of goals, that becomes a top priority. Other goals, whether they are for a larger project I’m not looking to complete soon or were pre-work for a project I’m not writing currently, are the ones that get set aside pretty easily. Like everything in life though, there are goals that land right in the middle of that spectrum and they need to be given some time and consideration. I usually set those at the bottom of the list to carry with me into step two of the goal planning process, as I almost always gain better clarity on them there. Then, once I’ve completed this first step in the process, I’m ready to move onto step two.
In case you haven’t been told today, you are more than enough.
Reflecting on your previous goals’ processes really sounds like a great way to approach goal-setting in general. Instead of just listing the things we hope we’d complete, I find this technique great for determining if we’re on the right path. Thanks for sharing!
Yes, exactly! I find myself going back to my reflections even when I’m not actively goal-setting to course-correct as I’m going along.