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The EXACT Process For How To Set and Achieve Big Goals

A new year is upon us, and what better time to just flow with the zeitgeist and set some goals? As simple as it sounds, I have found that simply taking the time to set a vision and then break it down into manageable benchmarks for progress is THE most effective way to move forward in business (and in the rest of life).

Here’s the process that I use.

First, it’s important to start with a big vision. Think about yourself one year from now, and what you want your life to look like. Take a 360 degree view here: imagine your business, your personal relationships, your relationship with yourself, your ability to help others. Take a few minutes to close your eyes, relax, and allow the vision to come to you. You might be surprised at what pops up! Be careful not to dismiss anything as too outrageous. Remember that everything is figure-out-able, and seeing it is the first step to achieving it.

Next, open your eyes, write out your vision, and translate it into goals. These goals should reflect professional as well as personal milestones. Here are some of mine for the year:

  • run over 500 miles
  • teach 300 small business owners how to scale
  • train 10 corporate teams on entrepreneurial mindset 
  • write a book
  • spend focused one-on-one time with each of my kids every week
  • get really, really good at Zouk 

Now comes the real work – putting a plan in place. In order to keep this from becoming overwhelming, I like to just think of the next 2 things I need to do in order to move forward on each goal, and assign them deadlines. So for writing the book, that looks like:

  1. Create an overall outline (by next Friday)
  2. Outline each chapter (2 weeks)
  3. Draft Chapter One (by the end of the month)

Once I have achieved those three micro-goals, I can assign myself the next three. 

Set yourself up a system for tracking your progress on each goal. I use a spreadsheet (because I’m a NERD!), but you can also use a tracking app like Tally, or a project management app like Asana. I even have one friend who made himself a sticker chart just like this ones he makes for his kids.

The specifics of HOW you do this aren’t as important as THAT you do it. If you can follow the basic process of vision > big goal > immediate action steps, you’ll be shocked at what you can achieve and how quickly you can achieve it. The idea is to direct your focus so that you can maximize your productivity, so that you never find yourself sitting at your desk wondering what you should be working on.

Of course, life happens and not everything is going to go according to your plan. You’ll mess some things up, and some things will take you longer than you expected, and you may abandon some goals halfway through once you realize the outcome is not actually going to bring you joy (perfectly fine, by the way). But think about how awesome your business and your life will be if you can achieve even 50% of what your brain dreams up as your ultimate life, by this time next year.


Michelle Coyle is president and CEO of BGSD Strategies.