It’s almost impossible to spend time on the internet at the beginning of each New Year and NOT read something about setting goals; whether for your personal or professional life. These days, the words “goal setting” have become the catchphrase of every “personal coach”, “life coach”, “health coach” and “business coach”, “career coach” or “professional coach” out there.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that – goals are important; I am saying that talking about setting goals and actually doing so in a way that will benefit you are two very different things. If you’ve repeatedly made resolutions for change at the beginning of every year, only to shrug them off within weeks or months, this will be just what you’re looking for.

  • Go for 5% better
    • Our minds work in increments; rarely have you made transformative change unless you were in a crisis.


      • High-performers know that the secret to change and growth is small, incremental yet sustainable change.


  • Outline your Vision for the year
    • Establish a Big Picture Goal for the year, something that you feel strongly will improve your life and that of your family, or your career, or your level of happiness. Shoot for the stars here, and don’t be shy!


      • Write out your “Vision Statement” and keep it nearby to inspire and motivate you.


  • Set Goals to attain your Vision
      • This is where you set aside the Big Picture and focus on the details. Start with a “30 Day Challenge” – one small, daily thing you will do each day for 30 days that will turn into a habit. Establish a calendar of incremental changes you’d like to make that you think will help you reach your Vision. Make a plan – and work it, day-by-day and week-by-week, with monthly evaluations of your progress.



      • Make a list of Reachable goals that move you toward your Vision, and write them down as Precise, Affirmative Statements; beginning with “I am 170 pounds, kinder to myself, more engaging…” and set a date.”



  • List the Why and the How your goals will help you to achieve your Vision for the year
      • Knowledge is power and knowing the why (the benefits) of a goal makes it far easier to accomplish, even in the face of the inevitable obstacles. You will naturally have set-backs from time to time but, knowing how important each of your incremental goals are to reaching your Vision will help you to refocus and get back on track.



      • Keeping a journal of your Reasons for setting your specific goals will go a long way toward keeping your priorities in order and successfully getting where you wish to go.


The University of California at Berkeley offers a great outline for Goal-Setting: Developing a Vision & Goals for Your Career Plan. This outline can easily be adapted for life and health goals, as well.