Goal setting wisdom: plans are essential, planning is critical

While I don’t believe in goal setting at the beginning of the year, I do believe in doing it monthly and couple month ago led a goal setting workshop for about 50 people. It’s always nice to do this kind of assignment; I get to pool a lot of my knowledge together and deliver it in an hour and a half. It took me almost five years to learn how to work that efficiently!

The workshop was a success and I want to share with you some pearls of wisdom.

Let’s go step-by-step.

Step 1. Decide on your real priorities. Do the Wheel of Life exercise – click the link here to understand how.

Wheel of life

Step 2. Choose only three priorities. It’s important to be realistic; don’t try to work on more. If you can stick to three, there’s a good chance you’ll succeed with all of them.

Step 3. Set a one year goal for each of your priorities. The one year goal should be BIG, visionary, inspiring and motivating!

Example: My first priority is health and my goal is to BECOME A SURFER.

Step 4. Set a three month goal within your one year goal. The three month goal should be realistic and something you can envision.  It should also fit into your current lifestyle.

Some wisdom from moi:

Your goals should be personal; make them work for you.

Small actions are better than big words.

It’s really important to understand that you need to set goals that work for you and your lifestyle. Don’t compare yourself to your co-worker, best friend or neighbor.

For example, I like to exercise in the morning. But I am really honest with myself that I won’t be able to work out more than twice a week because I can’t go to bed early 5 times a week. I also love my wine and can’t exercise after having had drinks the night before. However, I got myself from zero to 36 push-ups by taking it slow over five months. Not bad.

Take it slow – why do you need to rush?

Build habits – consistency is the key to success

Do it with love – if you don’t love yourself for your efforts, progress is impossible

Step 5. Based on your three month goal, decide what you will do weekly for your priority and SCHEDULE it. If you can’t fit your goal into your week, then change the goal or change your schedule. If you’re not scheduling the goal, it will never happen.

Step 6. Did I say schedule it? SCHEDULE it! Then have a chocolate.

Step 7. Find yourself an accountability partner, which might be your coach. On a weekly basis, update him/her on your actions, overall progress and plans.

Winston Churchill said:

“Plans are useless, planning is essential”.

I say:

“Plans are essential, planning is critical”.

What that means is you need to make sure that you schedule a monthly date with yourself/accountability partner or coach to check in about what’s been accomplished and plan how you’ll achieve your goals next month.

Our lives are constantly changing. I know that’s obvious but somehow we forget that, set goals for the year and then get surprised when we don’t stick to them.

What really happens is that our circumstances change yet we expect to stay true to our original goals – which sets us up to fail. This is why it’s so important to review your goals monthly and come up with new plans about how to achieve them.

Returning to the exercise example, maybe you’ll be able to exercise twice a week in one month, once a week the next and three times total the month after that. Any amount will still contribute to your goal.

Step 8.  Make sure to also schedule a planning session with yourself/accountability partner or coach once a month to review your progress and plan the month’s activity.

I finished the workshop by saying: WE BECOME BY DOING, one of my favorite mantras.

Actions make goals real.


If you’re interested in having fun while building a roadmap 1-on-1, I am available for personal coaching or to lead group workshops.

Contact me.

This blog was copy edited by Jacqueline Delibes.

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