Defining your goals is, in my opinion, an exercise to be done continuously. In the face of constant change, there is no longer a goal that can really be followed in the long term. You will always have to go back to the progress, review what works and what doesn’t, change your plans…
That’s why I like to follow the OKR method (Objective and Key Results), both for my personal and professional projects. It allows me to create a simple but solid structure, to move towards my vision and to know where I am and decide what I should do next.
Setting goals requires having a clear vision
Having a clear vision makes life easier: not only do you know where you are going globally, but you also create guidelines for the next periods.
Creating goals, linked to your personal vision, makes choices easier and removes many of the moments of doubt.
I watched with fascination as people walked around the mall the other day. They seemed to be wandering aimlessly, looking for … did they even know it? For my part, my goal was very clear: to find 3 gifts for 3 teenagers and, if I didn’t know exactly which gifts yet, I knew which stores to go to. In one hour, it was done.
In life, it’s the same thing, to not end up wandering around without knowing what to do, and end up scrolling on social media or the TV program for hours, having a vision and giving yourself about 3 goals, to follow over the same period of time, makes you really efficient.
Because you know where you want to go.
Detail your goals to move forward
Once you have defined your vision, the idea is to look at the goals. What are the ones that would get you closer to that vision? What comes to mind first?
Identify and prioritize
Trust yourself. There is no right or wrong answer. We want to be able to get moving. Make a decision and list those goals. If there are more than 3, prioritize and start only the first 3 in your list.
Describe these goals in a simple way. Each one should be a sentence.
For example: Write a book on personal development.
Estimate the time
Then estimate how long you will give yourself to achieve this goal. A goal does not necessarily equal one year. The duration of a goal will vary according to its complexity, your skills and your means.
With my book example: since writing is easy for me and I’ve already taken an initial training on planning this process, I estimate that it will take me between 12 and 18 months to achieve it (because that’s not all I do in life).
Define specific outcomes
Once you have this objective, identify 3 to 5 key results (KRs) that you want to achieve in order to fulfill this objective. These key results must be quantified, dated, trackable over time and realistic in relation to your constraints.
Using my example:
- RC1: have a book outline with a list of chapters by March 31, 2023.
- RC2 : write one chapter per month, once the plan is finalized.
- RC3: identify 3 people for proofreading by the end of December 2023.
These are results that will allow you to track your goals and decide to continue, stop or change something.
Track your goals to make better decisions
Thanks to the key results, you can regularly follow your progress: daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on the duration of your goal.
This progress is a good indicator to understand if you are on the right track or not.
When you are writing your chapters, if you realize that you are not progressing because you are getting confused, perhaps you need to go back to the preparation and set up a key result to have the list of points to be addressed and their sequence, in addition to the list of chapters.
Once you have that outcome, then you can get back to writing.
It is all a matter of adjustment. It is also possible that, while writing the chapters, something unexpected happens one month, that prevents you from writing your chapter. In this case, you can adjust the end date, or increase the amount to be written each month to make up for the delay.
You may have to put the whole goal in brackets if you realize that, after the first feedback from your beta readers, the topic is not interesting.
What I like about this method is that it leaves room for change and adaptation. The important thing is to complement this goal setting with a regular follow-up system adapted to your personality. This system that allows you to modify, continue, abandon and therefore decide how you will use your time during the year (or the current period).