Looking well beyond that “New Year’s Resolution”— Three key takeaways for successful goal setting

By Kelli Kiemle,  AIF®, Director of Marketing and Client Experience

It’s not a secret: 2020 has been challenging for many, but not all. I’m a big believer that attitude and how you view your situation – what you put into it – can make a big difference in the entire journey.

Some see this last year as a waste or a done year, but as an ever-optimist I see the year, as yes, full of challenges for me, my family, my kids, our company, the world. But this has also been a year for personal development. Reflecting and seeing the silver linings, acknowledging and forgiving the failures, and then setting goals for next year is imperative to this personal development.

Sharing a similar mindset, our firm brought in Mark McGraw, a great friend to HH who has been working with our sales team. Mark took our whole firm through an exercise in setting both personal and professional goals for 2021. As someone who has been an active goal-setter my entire life, this exercise was different, but in a good way. My three key takeaways are included here – it’s my hope that these might inspire you to start planning for your own success in 2021 and beyond.

  1. Start with your values

During this exercise, we didn’t brainstorm or think about what we wanted to accomplish.  Instead, we started with the values that drive us today, asking what values might be holding us back, and how we might shift these in more positive directions during this next year and beyond. This really brought attention to what is most important – and which goals should be front and center. With this mindset, we could really drill into how we could improve or optimize these values.

  1. Look beyond the next year – we used a three-year time horizon

Over the years, I’ve been guilty of focusing on one-year time horizons and not having a plan for what would happen beyond that. In other words: What’s the big-picture goal that these smaller stepping stones are leading to?

During this session, my workplace BFF Cecilia Williams, texted me saying, “this is freaking me out – we will be 40 in three years! We have a lot to accomplish in the next couple years.”  She’s right! Without that context I’m not sure I would have been able to think that far in advance. It was an important reminder. Yes, I should have short-term goals, but I also need to make sure I know where I want to be three to five years from now. With this in mind, I was able to answer the question: What steps can I take today to get to those longer-term goals?

  1. Get more granular on multiple topics, but don’t bite off more than you can chew

We looked at a number of categories when deciding on our goals – financial, lifestyle, family, career, social/community, personal development, etc. When you’re looking at the vision of three years in parallel with your values, it’s much easier to come up with more incremental items to work on now or delay for next year. The point here is really focusing on what we should be doing each quarter to attain those long-term goals and identifying what we should eliminate. Ultimately, what needs to be eliminated are the excuses! Approaching things in this way helps each task become more bite sized, attainable, and trackable.

If you haven’t started planning for what 2021 and beyond looks like, why not take the time to explore the possibilities?  Hopefully this framework can help you as much as it has been useful for me. Getting into that mindset of not only focusing on my goals, but what values I want to hold onto and which values don’t make sense any longer has been truly helpful in setting realistic and impactful goals for the years to come.

How do you balance having the life you want to enjoy today with what you’re going to need in the future? Are you doing what it takes to enter your dream retirement? TAKE OUR QUIZ to find out.