I hope everything is going well!
We're almost at the end of June already! 😱 The first half of the year has gone by SOOOOO fast!!!
Yes, you read that right: we're already at the end of the first half of 2021! This means we only have six more months to work on our 2021 goals and, hopefully, achieve them!
So I thought this would be the perfect moment to talk about different goal-setting methods. This way, you can choose the one that suits you best.
Because, yes, there are many different methods to set goals, despite the fact we mostly only hear about the SMART or SMARTER one.
So let's dive into it and discover five different methods you can use to set your goals efficiently!
Don't forget to download the free workbook to help you apply these methods (available in my library):
The SMART or SMARTER method
This method is a classic, and you probably already know it. But a refresh never hurt anyone. 😉
I like this method because it allows you to write goals clearly and efficiently. But in my opinion, it's not really a goal-setting method in itself. But it's very useful to formulate goals. So I thought it'd be a good idea to talk about it first so you can use its criteria to write down a goal for the following methods.
Basically, if you want to have a clearly defined goal, it should be SMART, i.e. respect the following criteria:
Specific: clear and precise.
Measurable: trackable and with a clear threshold that indicates its accomplishment.
Achievable: challenging but objectively feasible.
Relevant: helps achieve your vision and aligned with your priorities.
Time-bound: clear deadline for its completion.
I personally prefer the SMARTER version, which adds the two following criteria:
Exciting: motivating and meaningful.
Reviewed: assessed and readjusted periodically.
The Level 10 Life
This method was invented by Hal Elrod, the author of the book Miracle Morning. I like it because it allows you to assess your life in different areas and set goals for each of these areas.
Here's how I use this method:
1. Select up to eight important categories in your life (you can also do it with more or fewer categories). Here are some examples:
Family and friends
Work and career
Fun and recreation
2. Represent these eight areas (you can use the free template available in my library).
3. Rank your current satisfaction level for each category on a scale from 1 to 10.
4. Then, rank the level of satisfaction you'd like to reach by the end of the year (or any other date) for each category.
5. List all the goals you have for each area (using the SMART or SMARTER method 😉).
6. Since you'll probably end up with a great number of goals, I suggest you choose a maximum of three areas on which you'll focus over the next 3 or 6 months. And if you have many different goals inside these three areas, then select only one goal per category to focus on for now.
The V2MOM method was invented by Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce. It's a great goal-setting method that every Salesforce employee uses to define his/her priorities based on the broader company vision.
I like the fact that Salesforce sees the V2MOM as a "living and breathing document."Although employees write down their first version of their yearly V2MOM at the beginning of the fiscal year, the document is reviewed periodically to make sure it's always aligned with the business's priorities.
This is something to keep in mind with any of these other methods as well: you should review your goals periodically. In my opinion, the bare minimum is every three months, but I highly recommend reviewing them monthly and even weekly!
What I also like is that the first step of the V2MOM is to define the vision. For me, this is crucial when setting goals because your vision is what gives you direction. I also like that it includes the values, which should be the motor for all your actions! Finally, I love that it incorporates the possible obstacles that could hinder your progress. It's much easier to overcome them if you are conscious of their presence!
So let's dive into the specifics of the method. V2MOM stands for Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles and Measures.
Vision: Your vision is what you want to achieve in life, what you would like your life to be like in a certain amount of years. Don't be afraid to dream big!
Values: Ask yourself: “What’s important to me about this goal? What are the values supporting the vision" (Benioff, 2020)? List down all the values that come to your mind, and then try to rank them in order of priority. These values should be the compass that leads you in the right direction, i.e. your vision. So when you have to decide whether to do something or not, ask yourself if it corresponds to your values. If it doesn't, then say no!
Methods: This is "how" you will accomplish your vision. What are all the actions and the steps you will need to do to achieve your vision? Make them as small and precise as possible, so it's easier to tackle them. It's also a good idea to rank them according to their priority.
Obstacles: List down all the obstacles, challenges, problems that could prevent you from accomplishing your vision. Most importantly, write down how you will overcome them, so you're prepared to face them!
Measures: Just as with the SMART method, you need to determine the measure that will allow you to determine whether or not each method has been successfully achieved. A good measure contains a specific number or data (ex. lose 5 kg, run 5 km, book three new clients, etc.).
The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Exercise
This great goal method, invented by Ryder Carroll, the creator of the Bullet Journal Method, allows you to plan your goals over the long, mid and short term and prioritize them.
Here's how to proceed:
List all your goals (in your Bullet Journal, on a piece of paper, or in a note-taking app). Don't hesitate to write big and small goals, goals that seem impossible or too easy. Just write everything down!
Divide the next two blank pages into five rows. The first page is for your personal goals, and the second one is for your professional goals. The top row is for the objectives you want to accomplish within the next five years. The second is for the ones you want to achieve in the next four months. The third row is for the next three weeks, the fourth for the next two days, and the last row is for the goals you want to achieve in the next one hour.
Go back to your list of goals and migrate each of them to the right page and row. Don't worry if the timeline doesn't perfectly align (ex. a goal you want to accomplish within the next three years should go in the first row). The exercise is meant to give you an idea of how much time and energy each goal will require.
Now, consider each goal individually. Ask yourself whether it is truly worth the time and energy required to achieve it. Does it align with your vision? If not, cross it off!
Then, prioritize your goals in each category. You should only have one priority goal per cell, for a total of ten goals (five personal and five professional ones).
Finally, start accomplishing those goals! You should get started right away on the goals of the 5th cell (the ones to tackle within the next hour) to build momentum! The objectives for the next two days and three weeks should be scheduled in your BuJo or your planner right away and should be your priorities in the upcoming weeks.
For the mid and long-term goals, break them down into the smallest possible tasks to be done. Determine which of these goals will be your priority for the next few months and schedule their tasks in your planner. Once they are complete, do the same with the remaining goals.
(Carroll, 2018, p.152-155)
The WOOP method
This last method was created by Gabriele Oettingen, a psychology professor and author of the book Rethinking Positive Thinking. WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.
I like this method because it involves the visualization of your goals. You can do this exercise only mentally, or you can write it down. In both cases, it's important to focus on the thoughts and images that come to your mind. The beauty of WOOP is that it's so simple that you can do it whenever and wherever you want. And it can be applied to all kinds of goals, but also situations in general.
Here's how to use it:
The first step is to think about a wish or goal you have. Relax, breathe in deeply, and think about that wish. It should be challenging but feasible. Maintain your focus on that wish for a bit. If you want to write it down, try to summarize it in 3-6 words.
Now, think of your desired outcome for that wish. What would be the best thing that could happen? Try to imagine it as detailed as possible. Don't try to rationalize anything. Give free rein to your imagination! If you want to write it down, first summarize the outcome in 3-6 words and then detail as much as possible the situation.
Then, try to find the obstacles that could prevent you from achieving this outcome. But attention, you should look for the INNER obstacles, not the external ones. Because, as Oettingen writes in her book, "by choosing a wish that we think is feasible, we're already accounting for obstacles outside of us (if serious obstacles outside us existed, the wish wouldn't be feasible). The point of this exercise is to help us prevent ourselves from getting in the way of realizing our own dreams" (2014, p.135). Are there any thoughts, behaviours, habits, false beliefs, emotions, etc., we have that could prevent us from succeeding? It's crucial to do a deep introspection here and be completely honest with ourselves. Choose the most critical inner obstacle and imagine it happening. Here again, give free rein to your imagination and imagine the situation in which your inner obstacle prevents you from achieving your desired outcome and your wish. In writing, name the obstacle and write freely to describe the situation.
Finally, create a plan to overcome the obstacle. What is one thought or action you could take to succeed if your inner obstacle arose? Pick the most effective one and hold it in your mind. Now, think about when and where the obstacle is most likely to occur next and form an if-then plan: "If obstacle x occurs (when and where), then I will perform behaviour y" (Oettingen, 2014, p.136). In writing, write down the action you can take to overcome the obstacle and then write down your if-then plan.
(Oettingen, 2014, p.134-137)
Don't forget to download the free workbook with the templates to use all of the five goal-setting methods mentioned in this article!
Reviewing your goals
If you had set goals at the beginning of the year, you should first review them before setting new ones for the end of the year. You might want to add new ones, cancel, or change some you had set at the beginning of the year, etc. Goals aren't meant to be set in stone. So review them often to make sure they're still aligned with your desires, dreams, aspirations, etc.!
If you need help with this review, I've shared the list of questions I use to review my goals in my library. You can access it here.
I hope this will help you set goals, but most importantly, achieve them! So I wish you a great mid-year goal review and goal-setting session!