Are you planning some big goals for yourself but feeling apprehensive because you already have a lot going on?
Today I’m sharing eight questions that I use in a coaching session with my clients who are setting big, awesome goals but have a super busy life. I’m basically walking you through the process that I would if we were working together one-on-one.
#1 What’s the goal?
I know that some people really emphasize the SMART goals but I’m not a huge stickler for this approach, unless you really know what it is that you want.
It’s okay for a goal to be vague and ambiguous – at least at first.
Your goal might be to explore career options because the job you have now is not working for you.
That’s fine, we don’t have to figure out what your next job needs to be right away but we can start the process of assessing what’s going wrong and what you need to address it.
Waiting until they are certain about what they want holds people back from getting started.
People tend to try and “figure things out” in their head but I say it all the time:
Starting the process (i.e. talking to people, applying for jobs, researching options) will actually help you figure that out what you want.
It doesn’t matter how specific or how vague your goal is right now, document it and know that it can be changed, it can be revised, and we can clarify it as we go.
#2: What is the context of your life?
What else is going on for you?
Do you have work, family, financial, social life, obligations? Probably most people do, right?
Are these going to help you, are they going to hinder you?
We can get tunnel vision when we get really excited about a goal. We forget that we have all these other things going on. Or that we get fatigued.
Make sure that you take into account the context of your life, what your work patterns are like now so that you can really create a plan that’s going to work for you.
#3: What is your time frame?
People often want to produce really amazing things and results right away but that’s not always possible.
If you don’t give yourself enough of a runway, time will be your enemy.
If you want to see results sooner, you might need to eliminate or minimize some distractions.
If you want to fit your goal into your life as it is, you might need to be more generous with how much time you give yourself.
#4: What’s your plan?
I like to reverse engineer a plan. Start thinking about your desired outcome and timeframe and work backwards.
What are the pieces and components of your desired outcome so that we can figure out how much each will take, how much time each will take.
If we want to build in time for fun, for relaxation, for those other obligations, that’s the best way to create a plan, with lots of room built in.
#5: How will you know that you’re successful?
Because I’m a sociologist by training and a program evaluator, I’m obsessed with what I call success metrics.
If you’re applying for jobs I don’t want you to necessarily keep track of how many job interviews you get, I want you to keep track of what I call inputs, or all of the things that you’re doing to get job interviews.
Are you updating your resume?
Are you customizing your cover letters?
Are you actually submitting job applications?
That’s a big obstacle for people – making sure they are doing what they need to in order to make sure what they want actually happens.
Make sure that you keep track of your effort so that we can assess what’s working (or what isn’t). If you’re not doing your part, we’ll have no idea if your strategies are working or not.
#6: What will you do if you get side tracked?
If I get off track and start feeling bad about my (lack of) progress, I use a bad day ritual.
When I’m feeling a lot of negative energy like, “I could have, I should have, I could’ve, I was lazy, I didn’t …” that’s when I take a day off with intention and try to return to the work with a fresh attitude.
Whether you need to take a day off or treat yourself in some way so that you can just say, “My bad day is ending here and tomorrow I’m starting fresh.”
Whatever that looks like for you, I encourage you to kind of embrace that ritual and just make sure that your bad day has an ending.
#7: What will you do to celebrate?
Celebration isn’t just for when you accomplish the goal… but what will you do to celebrate along the way?
That’s really important and that’s what makes the goal setting process fun.
A good, personal example is when I launched my Work Wonders Career Bootcamp on my website.
It had been my goal for so long to offer a lower option for working “with” me.
And because I was busy with work and clients, it took a long time to make it happen
Before I even told anyone I had something for sale, my husband and I want out for dinner and champagne.
The goal was to celebrate setting up the shop because that is really an important part of selling a product online.
Obviously I want people to purchase the Bootcamp and get a ton out of it. The exercises and strategies have done so much for my own clients and I’m eager to get them out into the world in bigger way.
But heck yeah, I had a drink to celebrate to accomplish the work that I put into actually creating it.
I encourage you to celebrate right away and along the way so that the process remains fun and so that you’re taking time to restore and relax and enjoy and not just spending all of your time working.
#8: Who will support you?
You probably have friends, co-workers, colleagues, mentors who will help you.
Depending on your goals, you have trainers or coaches or groups of people that will be helping you.
Whoever those people are for you, think about them ahead of time, share your goals, and if appropriate, invest in their goals so that you’re not going on this process alone.
It’s much more fun if you take cool people with you along the way.
If you’re looking for some cool people who can support you, you can join us over on Facebook in the Work Wonders Career Design Lab.
We are big fans of time management and career development and productivity strategies and we’d love to support you and hear what you’re up to!