Happy New Year! 🎉
My wish to you all is to achieve anything you set your mind to!
A few months ago, I hosted a great guest on my podcast, “Productivity Mastery”: Brain Maine.
Brian reminded me about a study done with Harvard MBA students, according to which the 3% of respondents who had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them, turned out to be making 10x more money than the rest of the 97% combined!
Goals are important, and we all know that. However, it can be hard to define them, and even harder to stick with them when “life starts to happen” again and the daily demands take us on.
I would like to share with you a few tools and ideas that I personally use to reflect on my previous year, and set the goals for the next one.
STEP 1 : REFLECTING ON YOUR YEAR (2021)
Photography: Veselin Tonov
Prior to setting the direction for the year, I always like to reflect on the previous one first. It helps me to see how far I’ve come, and to celebrate all the achievements and progress. Moreover, it helps to recognise some of the best lessons and incorporate the learnings during the goal-setting phase.
Some Good Questions to reflect on:
- What did I achieve in 2021?
1.1. One great way to do it is to go through each month of the year and pick your TOP3 most important achievements. When we do this exercise with groups, many like to take out their phones and start scrolling through pictures or social media news feed. And those don’t have to be only business achievements:maybe you went on a great holiday, or attended the wedding of your best friend! Once you choose your top3 achievements, you may ask yourself, “Why did I choose these 3? What made them important to me?”
1.2. Now, have a good look: What would be your TOP3 most significant achievements for the year?
2. What did I FAIL to achieve in 2021?
Similarly, you can go through your failures and mistakes. What were your biggest disappointments? Why did you fail to achieve what you desired? Did you overestimate yourself and your capacities to deliver? Were you not committed enough? Did you have too many priorities?
Were there any external factors that influenced the desired outcome?
Once I identify the most notable failures, I like to journal on these in a free flow. And afterwards, see if there are any patterns I can recognize, so I can minimize similar mistakes in the future.
3. What made me the Happiest in 2021?
That is a very important question.
👉 What experiences, projects, events made me the happiest?
👉 Which were my most “magical” moments of 2021?
👉 Who are the 5 people who brought me the most positive emotions?
What can I do to create more of these positive moments in 2022?
4. What brought me the most negative emotions in 2021?
Another critical question.
👉What experiences, projects, events brought me the most negative emotions?
👉Which were my worst moments of 2021?
👉Who are the 5 people who brought me the most negative emotions?
What can I do to minimize these in the future?
STEP 2 : GAINING CLARITY
Before I commit to any goals, I want to make sure that I am moving in the right direction, or else I shall change the course.
Here are some tools that can help you to get clear on what matters most to you, and what you are not paying enough attention to.
1. The Wheel of Life
It is a very simple tool that you probably already know of, and it can provide you a perspective on how you are doing in the areas that matter to you most. I personally like to draw my own Wheel of Life on a piece of paper, as sometimes the templates online suggest areas that are different from the ones I care for the most. Once you define the areas, be honest with yourself and give yourself a grade from 0 to 10. Have a good look and see whether you might have to pay more attention to one or another area.
2. The Passion Test
The Passion Test is #1 tool in the world for discovering your passions. I keep coming back to it every once in a while. I came across it first at a conference in Norway back in 2014, where I met its creator, Janet Attwood. Soon after, Janet became my mentor, and later I got certified as a Passion Test facilitator myself. It is a great tool, as it helps you to get out of your head and connect to what really makes you happy. Usually, when we set goals, we think about “What do I have to do”.
Janet Attwood, presenting on stage.
And here you have to “switch off” your head for a moment and connect with who you really are. At the end of the process, you have a list of your TOP5 Passions, which is a great compass during the goal-setting part.
Learn more about The Passion Test here and get a copy of the book where you can find all the instructions for it.
STEP 3: SETTING THE GOALS FOR 2022
After completing the first two steps, you should have a pretty good idea of what you like, what you don’t; what you should do more of and what you should say NO to more often.
Now, it’s time to set the goals and commit to them.
There are numerous great systems and strategies to help you set the goals for the year.
Some general guidelines include:
🎯Align your goals with your vision, purpose and long-term ambitions
🎯Set specific, measurable and time-bound goals (some like to use the SMART goals)
🎯Write your goals in present-positive tense
🎯Do not commit to too many goals
🎯Try and cover multiple areas from the list of most important ones
🎯Keep the goals in a place where you will revisit them daily
This year I decided to trust Brian Mayne’s system Goal Mapping. Brian is a leading authority in goal-setting, who impacted over 5 million people worldwide. (Listen here to my podcast episode with Brian to learn more about the process of goal-mapping).
Goal-mapping is a 7-step system that helps you to identify your most important goals, and make it simple for both – your left-brain and right-brain to be connected with the set goal, and follow through. You can read more about Goal Mapping and get a free PDF template from Brian on this webpage. I personally subscribed to the digital software and I really liked it, as you can easily change the text and pictures at all times. I can highly recommend it.
No matter what system or method you choose, pick one and commit to it. Consistency beats any method.
I wish you a successful year filled with joy, happiness and enormous productivity.
P.s. What other goal-setting / reflection tools would you include that you find very practical and useful? Let us know in the comments. 👇
Stoyan Yankov is a productivity coach and a professional speaker, who’s helped over 300 teams to grow and increase their performance in over 30 countries; through his training, workshops and coaching programs. Together with his co-author Cristobal Alonso (CEO, Startup Wise Guys) Stoyan published their book PERFORM: The Unsexy Truth about (Startup) Success in 2021, which explains how to apply their own PERFORM methodology to create a thriving team culture.