Start as you mean to go on: Setting goals and objectives

January is the prime time to set goals and objectives, don’t worry if you haven’t got around to getting organised yet; there’s no time like the present and often you find once the New Year rush has passed, you find a better sense of clarity.


It is important to make time for planning, thinking and organising. There is a misconception that taking time out to think and plan is unproductive when you have a mile-long task list.  However, getting in the habit of being organised and making plans will make your life easier, more successful and more enjoyable plus you will feel in control of life, not the other way around!


Where to start

The first thing to do is re-evaluate what has happened over the past 12 months or so.  A simple grid like the one below is a good starting point to help you reflect back in order to feed forward.


What inspired me


What worked well








What was ok but could’ve been even better


What didn’t happen & why didn’t it








With a clearer idea of where we are now and how we got there, we are better placed to ascertain where we want to go and what we want to achieve moving forward.


The bigger picture

The key to leading a more fulfilling, productive and successful life is to have a clear idea of what success looks like for you. Before setting yourself goals and objectives for the coming year, make sure you have a clear idea of your longer-term goals, say in 5 years and 10 years.  From here, you are in a better position to set yourself objectives that make progress towards those big goals/life purposes that you’ve set for yourself.


‘The Wheel of Life’ (shown below) helps you get a helicopter view of your life and assess all the different areas, seeing where there are any imbalances and what areas you feel need improvement.  This is a great starting point to help you set meaningful goals and objectives that fit your life.

Breaking it down

It helps to be clear about what a goal means and what an objective is:

  • Goals establish where you intend to go. The more carefully you define your goals, the more likely you are to do the right things and achieve what you wanted to accomplish in the first place.
  • Objectives are the specific steps you need to take in order to reach each of your goals. They specify what you must do, how and when.
  • Tasks are the activities and actions that you take in order to support your objectives


The mnemonic SMART can be useful when setting objectives:

  • S– Specific (or Significant)
  • M– Measurable (or Meaningful)
  • A– Attainable (or Action-Oriented)
  • R– Relevant (or Rewarding)
  • T– Time-bound (or Trackable)


Being successful with goal setting is all to do with detail.  It is also about consistently tracking your progress and amending your tasks accordingly; being flexible and adaptive whilst still ensuring that your daily tasks are aligned to those bigger goals.


Creating good habits

Habits are formed by repeating behaviours. So, try to make planning a regular, consistent part of your routine. It’s about finding what works for you.  The following post may be of use to help you get organised


“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Henry David Thoreau