Think of ‘goal setting’ and what comes to mind? Flow charts, post-it notes, office meetings? If so, you're not alone - many of us associate working towards objectives with work life. That’s not a bad thing - research shows that goal setting in the workplace can increase motivation and productivity, because we’ve got something to work towards. We all like having a direction in our work, because it gives us something concrete to work towards, helps us structure our days, and provides a framework within which our bosses can give us feedback.
Without strategic planning, we can find ourselves wandering around aimlessly, wasting time on tasks that aren't bringing us closer to our goals. Goal setting is also said to give us clarity when making decisions, partly because we know where we want to end up, and can also help us focus on what's important in our days. And according to the smart minds at Harvard Business School, goal setting actually makes us 10x more likely to succeed at reaching those goals.
Unfortunately, there are only 24 hours in the day. Planning and goal setting can help us get the most from our 24 hours. The power of goal setting is undeniable - which is why it's a shame that goal setting tends to be left to our work lives. At The Circle Planner, we believe that goal setting can be applied to each area of our lives, to keep us focused and on track to build the life we’ve always dreamed of. After all, we call ourselves ‘The ultimate life, work and everything in-between planner’… Let's take a look at how we can apply goal setting on a broader scale.
Financial goals serve a few purposes. They're essential if we’re looking to pay off a credit card or build up a downpayment pot or retirement fund. They can also be fun - saving for a blowout holiday or event can be exciting, especially as you start to book accommodation and travel. Start by working out how much money you want to save, and the timeline you want to work with. From there, figure out how much you need to be saving each week or month. Make sure to set aside time for regular check-ins, to ensure you're actually on track to achieve your financial goals. Top tip: many banks offer free services where you can sit down with a financial advisor and work out your money-related goals.
Personal development goals are a little harder to quantify than financial goals, but they're still important. Maybe there’s a skill you've always wanted to learn. Or maybe your work offers learning and development perks that you can make use of. In our busy lives, personal development tends to fall by the wayside. Work it into your weekly schedule by setting some concrete goals, and assigning time to work on these goals. Maybe you want to complete a certain course next month. Perhaps you want to be a qualified life coach or teacher or diver by this time next year. Setting these specific goals can increase the likelihood of you reaching that target.
It might sound a little unromantic to set relationship goals. But just like with personal development, in busy times it's all too easy for us to prioritise working on our careers over working on our relationships. This applies to goals for relationships with friends and family, too. Focus on the most important people in your life by setting some relationship goals. Examples include weekly or monthly date nights, trying something new together on a regular basis, or - just as importantly - providing each other with enough alone time. Just as with your other goals, make time to go over these goals with your partner on a regular basis, and make any necessary adjustments as you go along.
Wellness: Physical health
After career goals, we’re probably most familiar with fitness goals. Who hasn't had a New Years Resolution along the lines of ‘lose weight’, ‘work out more often’, or 'get more sleep’? If these goals don’t work for you, try making them more actionable and measurable. Assign numbers to your goals, so you can easily see whether or not you're on track. Instead of ‘work out more often', try 'go to the gym 3x per week’. If it helps, there are plenty of devices out there that can help you track your fitness progress.
Wellness: Mental health
Just as important as your physical health is your mental health. The Circle Planner was created to help you make sense of a busy world, whilst achieving success where it matters most. Looking after your mental health is essential if you want to function at your best and enjoy life to the fullest. Mental health goals could be as broad as learning to meditate or cultivating body positivity, or you could choose to be more specific: list 3 things you’re thankful for every day, for example. It might seem counterintuitive to set mental health goals but the reality is that in our busy lives, we don’t always remember to take time for ourselves.
At the end of the day, goal setting is highly personal. There’s no one-size-fits-all process, and your best bet is to try out a variety of methods and approaches until you find the one that works for you.