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  • Writer's pictureAnaïs Poulain

How to set up and smash your 2020 goals in 5 easy steps

Updated: Dec 9, 2019

Happy Friday lovely people!

Before I let you off to get on and enjoy the Christmas break, I thought I’ll use this blog post as an opportunity to share with you some practical steps to follow and set yourself up and running with your goals for 2020.

Photo by Tomas Kirvėla on Unsplash

#1 - Be picky

When it comes to setting your goals, the first step/ tip that I wanted to share with you is to be selective. With the end of the year coming, you might feel frustrated with a couple of things that you did not manage to progress as much as you wanted to or that you did not start at all in 2019. So what a better way to kick off the new year with a bunch of new goals and maybe add to the list the ones that you have not completed this year? Well, let me stop you there. Whilst I love the energy and enthusiasm, here comes the mistake that most of us do: get carried away with too many things we think we want to do. And whilst for the first month or so you might be on the top of it all, your goals are likely to gradually evolve towards the bottom of your priority list. When we have too many things in our mind at the same time, it's hard to focus and make sure progress is made on each and every single of them. So first step when it comes to smashing 2020 is to choose carefully which areas you want to progress on. Take your time to assess how many goals you have on your list and how likely it is that you will be able to progress all of them together.

To make the shortlisting easy, ask yourself the following:

  1. What worked well for me goals-wise in 2019?

  2. What am I motivated to achieve for the year to come?

  3. How realistic is my goal shortlist?

  4. On a scale 1-10, how likely it is that I smash all the goals I have identified?

Take your time to go through each of these questions and if the answer to the last one is 7 or below, have a look again at your list as you might want to update it to ensure you feel highly motivated with the goals you’ve identified. Are you all set up with your goals shortlist? If yes, let’s move on to the next step!

#2 - Honesty is key

Do you remember what I said above about getting carried away with too many things we think we want to do? This is where the Spice Girls’ song kicks in and I want you to have a look again at the goals you’ve just written down and ask yourself: is it something that I really, really, REALLY want? For example, if one of your goals is to get a promotion by the end of the year, is it something that you want or is it something that people expect you to achieve?

As per the title indicates, this second step is about taking the opportunity to scan through your goals, ensuring that they are must-haves for you in 2020, not just nice-haves or expected-by-other-people-haves. One thing that can help to ensure that your goals shortlist aligns with what you are motivated about is to revisit your shortlist a couple of days later. Go through the goals one by one and check your motivation levels for each of these. If the feeling remains intact and these feel like the right priorities for you then let’s get the party started and move on to the next section!

#3 - Record it

Now that the selection process has been thorough (i.e. you’ve been picky with your goals selected for 2020) and you’ve been brutally honest with yourself to ensure that these goals are something that you’re looking to achieve (i.e. honesty is key), let’s ensure that these get properly recorded.

For some people, a vision board is necessary to ensure that they visualise daily what they are looking to achieve. For some others, it’s just a mental note and they can keep their goals in mind for the rest of the year. For most people, it is about making a note somewhere, whether it’s in their paper or virtual notebook, their agenda or texting a friend with their goals listed. Whatever style is your prefered one: just make sure that you record your 2020 goals. By recording them, you are entering into a contract with yourself, you are moving away from the “wishing” side of the spectrum to the “doing” side and that’s the first step towards smashing your goals for 2020 so well done you! As part of the recording, make sure that you have a system in place whereby you are regularly revisiting these during the year so that it does not end up being a one-off process that gets forgotten until December next year. I’ll cover more on the goals check-ins process in the last step so more to come on this very shortly!

#4 - Make sure that you’ve got manageable chunks (i.e. milestones) to work towards

To smash your 2020 goals, you need to make sure that you have milestones to works towards to. The milestones are incredibly powerful to ensure that you are gradually bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to be without overwhelming yourself with a gigantic task that seems unachievable on its own. For some people, it’s easy to identify the sub-steps that will get them where they want to be and associate a timeline next to it to keep their progress on track. For some others, identifying the different milestones that form part of the big goal is not an easy task. If this is your case, break down the year in quarters and map where you’d like to be for Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4. Let’s take the example of someone who wants to change career by December next year. The milestones might be:

Q1: Identify the industries and positions of interest, including skills and competencies developed during the last years

Q2: Define the career transitioning plan, including specific companies and jobs to apply to

Q3: Start the job search and interview process

Q4: Transition from the current position to the new job

Once you’ve got your milestones identified, don’t be afraid to break them down into granular steps so that you have a very specific timeline and action plan to work towards. Smashing your 2020 objectives is directly linked to your capabilities to have clear milestones to work towards as well as a specific action plan with a clear timeline.

#5 - Check-in regularly

Last but not least and I briefly touched on this earlier: make sure that you are regularly assessing the progress that you are making. At the end of the day, it’s not about where you are going, it’s about what you’re learning as you’re getting there. And that is exactly why you must take some time to review and assess how you are progressing towards your goals.

You might realise that you are ahead of the timeline you’ve mapped or that maybe you’re falling behind. If this is the case, take a minute to ask yourself the reasons behind it. Maybe it was just unfortunate timing and you had last-minute emergencies to pick up or maybe you are not necessarily motivated anymore towards achieving that particular goal? Either way, regularly checking-in will allow you to reflect on the progress made and readjusting your goals if needed. If you are looking to smash 2020, taking a step on the side for a minute and reflecting on the progress you’re making (as well as the ones you might not be making) is key. Having a regular chat with a friend or colleague can also help you to reinforce that habit and will also play a role in keeping you accountable for it so get catch-ups lined in your diary!

To summarise

To make sure that you will smash your goals in 2020, don’t overload yourself with thousands of priorities. Remember that less is more and breaking things down into 90 days objectives can allow you to progress towards a clear action plan. If you’re not sure how to get started, feel free to be in touch as I’d love to help!

On that note, I wish all a fantastic Christmas break and I look forward to hearing all about your 2020 goals,

Onwards and upwards,


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