12 Step Goal Planning Guide For Making THIS Your Best Year Ever!

I read something several years ago that really resonated with me…

Limited goals create limited lives.

Reading this one line pulled me up short and got me to thinking about what it was I really wanted in life. It helped me realize that getting clear on what I want is the only way I can ever expect to actually get it.

The 12 Steps To Effective Goal Planning

And since we can start out “new year” any time we want, I thought this would be the perfect time to share the 12 step goal planning guide I´ve been using to help me clarify my goals, lay out a plan and take the action steps I need to achieve them.

Step 1: Make an inventory of your dreams

As simple as this sounds, it can be trickier than it seems.

Quite often what holds us back most is our own limited way of thinking.

In this step, you want to sit down with a pen and paper and commit to spending a good 10-15 minutes letting your thoughts flow. Write down all the things you want to have, do, be and share. Describe the people, feelings and places you want to be part of your life. What will they look like? How will they make you feel? What will you smell, taste or hear in that context?

Take as long as you need to outline what it is you truly want in the areas of work, home, family, relationships, health, emotions, physical things, etc. Keep your pen moving the whole time…

And, remember there are no limits.

Any limitations that crop up are of your own creation. They only exist in your mind.

Imagine yourself tossing a Frisbee as far as you possibly can – do that with your limiting beliefs. With all your might, toss them away from you. Fling them into the sky and welcome the sense of freedom you feel watching them go.

Realize that everything is possible and knowing what you truly want is the first step to getting it.

Make your list now!

Step 2:  Estimate A Timeframe

Now let´s work on estimating a timeframe for achieving the outcomes you wrote down in step 1.

Take a look at your list.

How long will it take you to reach each of your goals? Three months? Six months? A year? Five years? Or even ten?

Is your list dominated by short-term or long-term goals?

If your focus is on the short-term, you need to practice assessing the full potential of your future possibilities. If you seem more focused on long-term goals, you need to work on developing a strategy for getting you where you want to go.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Confucius

Step 3: Choose Your Top 3 Goals

This is where we start getting serious. It´s time to choose your most important goals – the ones you´re really excited about and committed to achieving.

Take another piece of paper and write them down.

Take a minute and really think about why these three goals are important to you and why you want to achieve them.

Fact is if we have enough reasons to do something, we can do anything. Reasons are the difference between being interested in something and being truly committed to achieving it.

Getting clear on your why is far more important at this stage than knowing how to do what needs to be done.

In the end, if your why is big enough, you will always be able to figure out the how.

Step 4: Validate Your Goals

Before you go any further, you need to take a close look at your goals and check the answers to some important questions:

  • What is it you really want? What is happening now in your life? What´s the difference between the two?
  • Have you stated your goals in a specific, positive way?
  • Have you given some thought to what achieving your goals will really mean to you? What will you experience when you achieve them? (Describe what you will see, hear, feel and smell.)
  • How will you know when you have achieved your goals?
  • Will achieving them have a positive impact on the world around you as well?

12 Step Goal Planning Guide For Making THIS Your Best Year Ever!

Step 5: Consider Your Resources

Before you set out on any journey or begin any project, it only makes sense to know which tools and resources you have to support you. Planning your goals is no different.

Pick up your pen and make a list of everything you have going for you…

  • What are your strengths?
  • Who are your friends & connections?
  • What financial resources do you have at your disposal?
  • What about education, time, energy, etc…

That´s right. List them all out: your skills, resources and tools – everything you have available to help you along the way to achieving your goals.

Step 6: Consider Your Past Accomplishments

Now, look back at your past. When have you skillfully used some of the resources you listed in step 5?

Make a note of 3-5 times in your life when you enjoyed true success. Think about every aspect of your life, from business and financial matters to friends, family and other relationships. When and what things have you done things particularly well?

Write them down. Describe what you did to achieve that success. Note the qualities and resources you used and what about that situation made you feel successful.

Step 7: Ask Yourself: Who Will I Have To Become?

Success has become such a catch-phrase. Everyone is writing about it, telling you what to do to get it.

And yet, do you know the most important components of success?

Attitude. Beliefs. Behavior.

When it comes to producing success, these are elements are key.

So, before we go any further, take some time and write out all the character traits, skills, attitudes, beliefs and disciplines you are going to need to have in order to achieve the things you desire most.

Will you need to be able to manage your time well? Will you need to be persistent? Determined? Positive?

Describe the person you would have to be to reach the goals you´ve set.

Step 8: Ask Yourself: What´s Holding Me Back?

Are you like me?

Do you try to do too many things at once? Or do you get so obsessed with one thing you can´t get yourself to do anything else? Do you spend all your time planning – then never get around to taking action?

We all have ways of limiting ourselves; our own personal strategies for failure.  Recognizing those limiting strategies is the first step towards changing them.

You can know what you want and why you want it. You can even lay out a plan to get it but, in the end, it´s the actions you take that will determine your ultimate success.

What are the necessary actions you need to take to produce the results you desire? Think about it.

Figure out some of the major milestones along the way to your goal. Now think about what you can do today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year to achieve the results you´re after.

If you´re still not sure, ask yourself: What ´s preventing me from having what I want now?

The answer to that question will be something you can work on changing, right now.

Solving that challenge is the first stepping-stone toward achieving your greater goals…

Step 9: Create A Plan

Start out by looking at each of your three main goals and asking yourself: What would I have to do first to accomplish this goal? What is preventing me from having this now and what can I do to change it?

Focus on what you can do today to get you moving.

Up to this point, you´ve defined your outcome. You´ve set a timeframe for accomplishing it. You´ve put some thought into the resources you have to help you and what may be holding you back from achieving your goals.

Now it´s time to develop your strategy for getting where you want to go.

And that leads us to the next step – the best way of ensuring your ultimate success…

Step 10: Seek A Mentor

Write down 3-5 people who have achieved what it is you want to achieve. They can be people you know or famous people who´ve achieved great things in their lives.

Take a few minutes to write down the qualities and actions you believe made them successful. Now imagine you were to ask each of them for one piece of advice on accomplishing your goals. What would they say?

Imagine they are talking to you and write down the first idea that comes to you about what you think each of them would share with you. It might be how to overcome a limitation, key points to look for or how to keep taking action.

You can take this exercise further, of course. You can read books written by your chosen mentor. Or, if your mentor is someone you know personally, set up a meeting and talk to them about what they´ve achieved, your own goals and get their advice on steps you can take to get you moving forward.

Step 11: Create Your Ideal Day

This is one exercise that really helped me design my vision of ultimate success. As important as it is to have different goals, it´s even more important to be able to envision what all of them together can mean for your life as a whole.

That’s where creating your ideal day comes in.

Ask yourself:

  • How will my day begin?
  • What will I do?
  • Who will I spend my time with?
  • Where will I be?
  • Where will I go?
  • What will my environment look like?

Describe your perfect day in detail – from the moment you get up until you climb into bed at the end of the day.

Remember, everything we want, every result, action and reality starts in our minds. What we believe we have the power to create, so take the time and design your day the way you desire it most.

Step 12: Design Your Ideal Environment

Sometimes we forget that our dreams begin where the heart is…at home. We forget that the first step towards true success is providing ourselves with an environment that nurtures our creativity and allows us to be all we can be.

Here´s your chance to design your ideal environment…

Let you imagination go. Remember there are no limits. Whatever you want you should include. Design an environment that would bring out the best in you as a person.

Ask yourself:

  • Where would I feel most alive – in the woods, at the ocean, in an office?
  • What tools would I need – a telephone, a computer, a paintbrush and easel, music?
  • Who would I need to support me to ensure I achieve and create all I desire in my life?

Are you wondering what steps 11 & 12 have to do with anything? Why you can´t just figure out your goals, lay out a plan and get moving?

Let me ask you something.

If you don´t have a clear idea of what your ideal day or what your ideal environment would be, how will you know when you have created them?

How can you ever expect to hit a target without knowing what it is?

The power to have everything you want lies within you but that power needs a clear, emotionally intense target to focus on.

12 Step Goal Planning Guide For Making THIS Your Best Year Ever!

The 5 Key Step To Inevitble Success

One of the reasons so many people aren´t living their dream is because success is hard work. Goal setting is hard work. Thinking is hard work…

And taking action is scary.

As a result, they put things like this off – get caught up in making a living instead of designing the life you want to live.

Doing the exercises I´ve shared with you here could be one of the most important steps you take towards designing a brilliant life in 2015!

Don´t just click away and do nothing. You deserve so much more.

Though I made this a 12 step goal setting guide, there are really only 5 key steps to take:

  1. Determine your goals
  2. Get clear on your why
  3. Make a plan
  4. Focus on where you want to go
  5. Take action

Do those 5 things and positive results are inevitable!

My #1 goal is to help you find the clarity you need to get you headed in the right direction, with an action plan and greater confidence to make the changes you desire. This is the time of your life to do something that matters most to you! Everything you have done in life has brought you to this point. Click here & let´s take it to the next level!

About the Author Jan Marie Mueller

Jan Marie Mueller is founder of the inspirational blog ThinkBrilliantly and The Brilliance Community, a free Facebook group dedicated to empowering women to let their inner brilliance shine! Her mission is to help women everywhere shift the way they think about themselves, their world and those around them so they have the confidence to do, be and have what they want most in life!

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