You’re at a holiday party with a steaming spiced cider in hand – assuming we can have holiday parties in December 2020. “Where did this year go?” someone asks. “This crazy year flew by in a flash…” says another lady, whipping back another glass.
All mascara-glittered eyes turns towards you. Two possible responses pop into your head: 1) “Yeah, I don’t know where the year went. Everything was so chaotic. I’m just glad that 2020’s almost over.” 2) “Yeah, this was a busy year with a lot of challenges. I really doubled-down on my goals and can’t wait to keep making progress in 2021.”
#2 is the obvious choice. But most people will be saying #1 come December.
Most people either avoid goal-setting or lack the accountability systems to follow-through on their goals.
You are not ‘most people.’ They key to finishing the year strong is laying the groundwork ahead of time for what you want to accomplish. July is the perfect time to get clear on your goals for the rest of the year.
If you’ve been following my posts for a while, you know that I use a 90-day goal-setting framework. (If you’re new to goal-setting, check out my 2019 goal-setting series).
In the past, I used to set big goals for myself… and deflate in frustration when I couldn’t measure my progress.
Then I discovered the power of quarterly goal reporting (read more about quarterly reporting on Investopedia).
Consistently measuring your 90-day goal-setting progress builds confidence that you can set and achieve meaningful goals.
My time working steps away from Grand Central in midtown Manhattan revolved around corporate earnings. Companies report out to their shareholders once every 90-days. Quarterly reports brought new strategic insights for the quarter ahead. Each report impacted the company’s share price – a tangible indicator of success.
Like a quarterly shareholder report, I measure progress towards my goals every 90-days. Daily, weekly and monthly goals each get an estimated completion percentage. Every time I start a new quarter, I want to set meaningful achievable goals, because I want a positive quarterly report! (One of my roles as a corporate consultant was to create 90-day success plans to help new employees start on the right foot.)
The first time I measured my quarterly goals my success rate was a whopping 15%.
Progress is progress… but 15% is a far cry from a ‘D’ report card.
Rather than face discouragement, I re-prioritized my goals for the next quarter. This quarter I’m proud to report an 85% completion rate on goals from ‘flossing daily’ to ‘create an editorial calendar.’
90-days is a natural, effective time-frame for tracking and re-calibrating personal goals.
90-days is long-enough to tackle big, hairy audacious goals. Do you dream of becoming an author? You could write your first draft by getting 800 words on paper every day for 90-days. Want to train for a 5k race? Try a 90-day couch to 5k program.
90-days is short-enough that… you won’t get bored. Yes, I said it. Sometimes my goals become tedious little monsters hiding under my bed when I’m trying to go to sleep. Re-framing your goals every 90-days lets you reconnect to your purpose and evolve your strategy before your goal has a chance to get stale and moldy like that sesame seed bagel in the back of your pantry.
Ready for your 90-day goal-setting refresh? Let’s do it together.
- Get clear on what matters: Review – and revise if needed – your life vision (Don’t have a clear vision for the future? Focus on values instead.)
- Measure your progress: Estimate what percentage of goals you achieved in April through June. Knowing your percentage completion rate helps you set realistic, attractive goals for this quarter.
- Assess your life roles: Rate yourself on how well you are performing your different professional, personal and community life roles.
- Let the ideas flow: Brainstorm your great goal ideas for the next quarter.
- Create your big 90-day goals: I usually base this on my goals from the previous quarter, but it’s nice to have them change and update to the circumstances. (Some awesome idea got left on the cutting room floor? That’s fine, put it in a ‘rainy day’ list.)
- Break it down: Identify the first step you can take towards your goals in July. This keeps you flexible in case your strategy or process changes.
And… off to the races for another great quarter!