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Is It Too Late to Set Goals for the Year? (Spoiler Alert: It's Not!)

A Quarter of the year has nearly passed (how is that possible??) In January, I always have good intentions to put together goals for the year and to spend time reflecting on the previous year.    It is not too late to do this – in fact, you can reassess your goals at any time of the year; pick a time that works for you, maybe the end of the financial year or end of the school year; it is about what works best for you and your business.    So, in that vein, I wanted to write a blog about goal setting, so here we go!

What is a ‘goal’?   

No, not the type David Beckham used to score (showing my age there).    

A goal should be something you want to achieve and is relevant to the direction of travel you want to take your life/business/career.    If you align your goals with where you want to go, you will develop the focus you need to get ahead and achieve what you want.    Set more inconsistent or even scattergun goals, and you will waste your time, work twice as hard as you need to, and you may not even achieve your goals.  

When you set your goals down on either paper or the computer, you see them, and they become more real; you can see them fitting into your life/business/career.    If they don’t, they are not the right goal to work towards.    

Some people create a mood board of their goals and print it out so they see it daily, and it helps them focus.    Others have them as a screen saver, so whatever works best for you.    This goal-setting process is not to be done and forgotten about, leaving the work on a shelf to collect dust over the year!    It is a living, breathing document you can update and change if needed, but seeing it daily will help keep you focused in this rather turbulent world. Where do you start?    

Ask yourself the following three questions:

  • What do you want to achieve?

  • How are you going to implement that?

  • What does success look like?

A SMART Way to Creating Goals

There are many different theories about creating goals, such as SMART, 5 Rs, 4 Step Pan, 3 Step Plan, and many more.    You can use some parts of all of them or stick with one theory—make your goal-setting work for you.

SMART: This acronym stands for: 

Specific: Focus on a single area.

Measurable: Your goal needs to have a number so you can track its progress and see if you have achieved it. 

Attainable: Be honest and make sure this goal is realistic.

Relevant: Is the goal linked to the direction of travel you want to take your life/business/career?

Time-bound: Put an end/completion date to your goal – pace your efforts so you achieve your goal.

An example of a SMART goal is:

Specific: I want to read at least one book monthly on a wide range of topics, not just one genre.

Measurable: I have joined a book club where we set weekly reading goals and read various titles to expand our reading.

Achievable: I love reading but have gotten out of the habit.    I will read before I go to sleep each night.

Relevant: I will learn more about myself, my industry and the world.

Time Bound: I want to have read at least 12 books by the end of 2024

Other Strategies in Creating Goals

Some other theories:

4 Step Plan:  Purpose, Plan, Focus, Motivational Factors

5Rs:  Results, Reasons, Reflections, Resources, Responsibilities

3 Step Plan: Time, Discipline, Patience

These theories may not be as well-known as SMART, but each has something to offer.  Do your own research on these other strategies and find out which fits your preference. But for this blog, we’ll focus on the SMART strategy. 

What are your motivational factors and your responsibilities?  


If your responsibilities change, will your goal change?    

For example, do you need to keep working school hours when your youngest starts high school?    That could completely change your goals and what you can achieve, such as taking on more clients or studying for a qualification.    

What are your resources?    

For example, if you don’t have the money to get a new IT system, your goal of installing and using a new one will fail, so you need to look at the goal before that.    In this situation, the goal is to make enough money first to purchase the new IT system.    If the goal is complicated, tricky or even controversial, do you have the patience to see it through?    

You now have your goals, so here are the steps after identifying them. 

  • Take those goals, break them down into tasks, and make an Action Plan. 

  • Some tasks may need to be broken down into smaller tasks to achieve all the elements correctly, so writing a daily ‘To Do List’ to sit alongside your Action Plan can help. All this is to motivate you, keep you on track, and ultimately help you achieve your goals.  

  • I would also suggest a quarterly review of your goals and Action Plan so you can see if there are any barriers or sticking points.

  • Finally, don’t give up. You have committed a lot of thought and emotion to achieving these goals. Don’t let them slip through your fingers. Ask for help if you need it, and keep the bigger picture in mind: ‘What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.’

How can we at LCL Virtual PA help you?    

We love a Trello Board; we use it at work and in our personal lives. Think of it as electronic “Post-It” notes that you can move around a screen. You can colour code them, add your images, stickers, links, etc., and even remind yourself so you don’t forget anything.    

For Goal Setting and Action Planning, Trello is a fantastic tool. You can add to it whenever you want, load it to your laptop and/or phone, and send it to people if you need to. 

Follow this link to download Trello. There is a FREE version to try. We hope you like it as much as we do.

If you think Trello would be great for you and your business and would like some 1:1 guidance on using it to its full potential, then book a Trello Power Hour with us. We will spend 60 minutes online with you to help you get the most out of this programme.

Book here.

And happy goal setting!

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