Setting Goals for the Quarter

Last week was strategy week at Accountability Works, where we meet one on one with our members to help them set their goals for the quarter. What was it was going to be like setting goals during coronavirus uncertainty, stay at home orders, and for some of our members – living under martial law? Some of our members have businesses that are closed or are furloughed from their jobs while others are busier than ever. And what about all those personal goals, how this was going to affect them?

Clarity on Where to Focus Your Time, Energy, and Attention

Here’s what we found. One member started a disinfecting business that didn’t exist 3 weeks ago. Another member started a podcast while her business is closed. Another one is teaching her in person classes over Zoom for the first time ever. Some are leaning into family time in a way that they have been wanting to. Some are taking time off for the first time in a long, long time. There is a lot to feel uncertain about but there is a lot of light out there too. 

We expected people might be feeling more lost or aimless but that was not the case with a single person. Everyone was ready to set goals, make a plan and to have the structure of weekly commitments back in their lives. They wanted clarity on where to focus their time, energy and attention.

A Short Exercise in Goal Setting for Uncertain Times

If you are feeling the same need for structure, we think this exercise is especially powerful. So let’s do it together. 

1. Pick up to 3 goals that you would like to focus on for the next 3 months

From now until mid-July. Your goals should be specific, measurable, ambitious and something you can accomplish even if things don’t go right back to “normal” any time soon. Click here for Map It! Our 1-Page Plan to make it easier to capture everything in one place. 

2. Write your goals down.

This is really important because once you’ve written them down you are more likely to accomplish them. Also, when you see them written down you can better assess whether or not a goal is specific and measurable. For example: Setting a goal to Start a Podcast might be a bit loose. Something tighter might be…Release 2 Podcast Episodes. (We talked about the power of writing things down in this recent podcast episode with Daniela Woerner of Spa Marketing Made Easy.) 

3. Why start now? How will you feel when they are accomplished?

These are really important questions because they speak to why start and why finish? Why is working on this particular goal important to you now? How will things be different, better, changed when you’ve completed it? If you don’t have a great reason for starting and finishing, it’s not going to happen. 

4. Commit to your first steps.

What will you do this week? We break every goal into 12 weeks because big goals happen by doing small things over and over again. So rather than get overwhelmed with everything you have to do, just think about what you want to do this week for each of your goals. Then repeat next week and the week after. This is where accountability really comes in. Share your goals with a friend or partner and check in regularly on your progress.  

5. Be gentle with yourself.

We do not set goals because we are not enough, or because we need fixing, or because we are striving for perfection. We set goals because focusing our energy and attention is a powerful, transformational skill that builds confidence, awareness and creativity. You will have inspired action days and feet dragging through mud days and that’s part of the deal when there isn’t a global pandemic, so when there is – be even more gentle.

We hope this short exercise gives you direction at a time when things feel like or are on hold and reconnects you to what’s really important.