Why you need to set goals this year

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland

Why you need to set goals this year

By Andrea Novakowski

My client Ginny, the head of marketing at a small startup, came rushing into our first meeting of the new year, looking harried and talking really fast.

“I had a great holiday with my family and friends,” she said. “But now I’m a week into the new year and I haven’t set any goals. I know you recommend goal setting, but I’m just not sure it’s worth my while. It takes a lot of time, when I could be checking things off my to-do list.” Ginny pushed herself back from the table. “What’s the point of setting goals, anyway?”

“Great question!” I told her. “Let’s explore this together. Why don’t we create a list of reasons why goal setting might be beneficial? Then you can look at each reason and decide if it’s worth it.”

As she listed the “pros” of goal setting, Ginny realized that goal setting can help you:

  1. Prioritize what’s important. Too often, we get carried away by what other people want. Taking the time to recognize what’s important to you, staying focused on your values and creating goals that keep those things front and center, will help keep you mindful and more in control of your schedule.
  1. Live with intention. I like to tell my clients that you can have it all, just not all at the same time. By asking yourself “What’s most important this year?”, you create focus on what this year is all about. By scheduling regular check-ins (perhaps with a coach or mentor) during the year to monitor your progress, you keep your intention alive.
  1. Guide your decisions. Having goals helps you figure out what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to. Asking yourself, “Does this activity fit with my goals, or does it take me off track?” is a useful way to prioritize. Not that you can’t be flexible when a great opportunity arises – but unless it’s really great, you’ve already made your decision.
  1. Be future-focused. Setting goals for the new year is a chance to look at the big picture of your life. I like to ask my clients the question, “What do you want to be celebrating next New Year’s Eve, both personally and professionally?
  1. Overcome the tendency to focus on the short term. On a daily basis, you’re always pulled toward what’s easiest, quickest and most urgent – in other words, the fire drills. Goal setting reminds you to work on that which brings true long-term rewards and growth. It helps you work on the important things that may not be as urgent.
  1. Fulfill the desire to check things off your list. If you really want to accomplish your goals, you’ll create a plan. With the plan in hand, you’ll design action steps. Those steps become to-dos on your daily and weekly lists. It’s immensely satisfying to check these items off as you go – knowing all the while that you’re working on what’s most important to you.

By the end of the exercise, Ginny had realized the importance of setting goals. “They put me in control of my own life,” she admitted, “by allowing me to spend time on what’s most meaningful to me.”


Have you set your goals for 2018 yet? Click here to download your Goal-Setting Kit and get started now.

Many of my clients find the combination of the Goal-Setting Kit with a coaching session to be a powerful pairing for nailing down the right goals and putting themselves on a solid route to accomplishing them. If this sounds like something you’d like to try, contact me to set up a complimentary coaching session.