Here’s the fun thing about me, I can focus soooo well on things that are five years off and work super hard to achieve that goal. But the next three months? Eh, not as big of a deal. So you can imagine the struggle when it comes to goal setting. I am extremely focused on being a manager in five years and own a home in two -three years, but I can’t even think short term about goals. Heck, short term I just want to know what I am eating for lunch tomorrow. I can barely accomplish that goal. Oh! Another fun fact about me, I also live for a good list. I never claimed to not be a hot mess. A fun, but hot mess.
So with these two lovely quirks, I had to figure out how I was going to set achievable goals for myself. I would set a goal, break it, beat myself up, then try again. It was a vicious cycle until I took a step back. Looking at how I like to work, I realized that I needed to set realistic goals. The tricky part was making them neither long-term or short term. Here’s where I found my sweet spot for goal setting, quarterly goals.
Working for a company that has traditional quarters throughout the year, I realized that my work life was often focused on them. I realized that was the perfect amount of time for me to set achievable goals for myself. Three months was long and short-term enough that didn’t send myself into a vicious cycle of self-hatred if I falter or fall behind schedule on them. I started researching what others have done to learn about how to set realistic goals and I though I’d share what I’ve learned and has worked for me!
Why Quarterly Goals Work For Me
- Three months is the perfect amount of time to allow myself to have some breathing room. One of the reasons I would become so discouraged before was if I set a short-term goal, I wasn’t realistic about the time-frame. When I went short-term, I went realllyyyyyy short-term. That’s automatically setting me up for failure. Then the inner dialog of self-doubt and negative talk would start.
- It allows me to truly focus on a goal and really refine that skill or stick to a routine and find what I enjoy about it. Previously I would do it just to meet a goal, but I didn’t mentally invest in it. Shifting my focus to having two-three goals that I could really focus on has helped tremendously.
- At the end of the year, you can look back and realize that you actually truly accomplished things, often more than you think. I can’t tell you how many unrealistic goals I set myself up for and then crashed and burned. When I learned to set achievable goals I thought I would get bored with just having a few goals. But think about this 4 quarters x 3 -4 goals = 12-16 meaningful goals!
- Focus on quality over quantity. Period.
- Quarterly reviews make me so excited! And also, depending on the quarter, a little mad at myself that I had three months and didn’t accomplish my goals. However, it’s also nice to be able to take into account what I did manage to get done along with work travel and assess both my personal life and work life at the time time to see how I may need to adjust.
Setting Achievable Goals
- Define your long-term strategy for the year and break up the overall goal into specific actions to take during quarterly goals. I cannot stress this enough. Right now I am working on my financial goals and I completely go through highs and lows but overall I am doing better than I would be if I didn’t have a specific goal for the entire year.
- Figure out what is a priority. I hate the phrase, “If it was important, you would make time.” I hate it because it’s true. If I really wanted to go after something I would cut out 20 minutes of TV and work on my goal instead. Make it be important to you and figure out what isn’t important. People who meal prep every Sunday don’t actually love it, but they make it a priority because they see the value in both time and money.
- Tell someone else your goal and don’t let them let you get away with it. Accountability and having someone who will ask you the hard questions (even if it’s just blogging, put it out there!) is really key to keep it up.
These are just some tips that have really worked well for me! I’d love to read your tips and how you set achievable goals. This has been a long work in progress so any guidance from those of you who have been there, done that I would LOVE to know what has worked and what I should forget about.