Have you set your goals for next year yet? In other words, do you have 2020 vision? 😎
My wife and I are going through Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever course this week, like we do every year around this time.
The end of one year and the start of another is a natural time to review what you’ve accomplished, learn from the past, and set goals for the future.
The goals we’ve set each year in this process are the reason we bought a house last year, and this year we doubled our emergency fund, paid off a car, and built a daily exercise habit.
Annual goals act like a compass, providing long-term direction throughout the year. The long-term vision is even more clear if you have a written life plan, but I still consider annual goals a long-term approach.
That’s why I diverge from “Best Year Ever” in one major way: I set quarterly goals.
Why Quarterly Goals Are More Effective Than Annual
In The 12-Week Year, Brian Moran makes a strong case for quarterly goals when he narrates a familiar pattern of achievement (or lack thereof):
At the heart of annualized thinking is an unspoken belief that there is plenty of time in the year to make things happen. In January, December looks a long way off.
Think about it; we begin the year with big goals, but by the end of January we usually find ourselves slightly behind where we need to be. While we’re certainly not pleased, we’re not too worried, either, because we think to ourselves “I’ve got plenty of time. I’ve got 11 more months to catch up.” At the end of March we're still a bit behind, but again we’re not too worried. Why? Because we still think we’ve got plenty of time to catch up. And this thought pattern prevails late into the year.
I’ve seen this firsthand, and I’m sure you have too.
If your goal is exciting, you might start off strong and then hit a roadblock and let your energy fade. Then, just before your goal is due, you rally to push for additional progress because the end is in sight.
Instead of trying to force yourself out of this habit, Brian suggests you just change the rules of the game.
What would happen if you applied the same goal-setting focus to a 12-week period as you would typically give to a year? What if you got four years of focus each year?
In the spirit of Macro-dream, Micro-execute this makes almost complete sense.
Quarterly Goals Work, But They’re Still Not Enough
I’ve experimented with both annual goals and quarterly goals, and become convinced that I need a mix of both (and you likely do too). As I’ve heard Michael Hyatt say,
Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a day but underestimate what they can accomplish in a year.
Quarterly goals are key to your ability to stay focused and micro-execute, but they need to fit into a larger macro-dream.
In that case, how do you determine which goals should be annual, and which should be quarterly? How many goals should you have? Those were the questions I explored on my last quarterly retreat.
I remembered Chalene Johnson’s goal-setting challenge to identify your “Push Goal” as the one goal that, if you accomplished it, would make every other goal easier (either by pulling them forward or creating more opportunity to make progress).
Looking back at my past goals, forward at my current goals, or around me at the goals of people I know, I realized that the same two goal categories show up as Push Goals time and time again.
The two most important goal categories every year are the same: health and wealth.
Your health goals determine your energy level, physical ability, and vitality. Without health, you have nothing. You only get one body, so you better take care of it.
Your wealth goals determine your available resources and financial ability. As an entrepreneur, your job is to create systems that generate wealth for you and your family.
Health & Wealth are the two most important categories where you need a long-term vision, and they’re the push goals that make the most difference every year.
Your health goal might be to lose 25 pounds or run two miles each day.
Your wealth goal might be to pay off $10,000 in debt or double your income next year.
Whatever they are, once you get clear on your health & wealth goals for the year, then your quarterly goals become far more clear.
Your Assignment—Your Goals
Next time you set goals, start with annual health & wealth goals, and then break those down into the progress you need to make in the next quarter, 90 days, or 12-weeks (whichever one makes the most sense for you, based on how you operate your business and life).
You should definitely have goals beyond health & wealth, but those two categories should inspire and direct what you do everywhere else.
Make sure to document your why for each goal, making a clear list of your motivation for making progress even when the going gets tough (the Full Focus Planner is excellent for this).
Then go forth, get to work, and check back in 12 weeks—then it’ll be a new year, and a new you!
Question: How are you preparing your goals for a 2020 Vision?