7 steps to successful goal setting in 2019

dart hitting bullseye on a dartboard

Let me ask at the start of this new calendar year:

  1. What goals have you set for your work/ your life in 2019? Have you set any at all?
  2. How are you progressing with those goals – given that the turn of the year already seems a distant memory?
The novelty of things like New Year’s resolutions can wear off just as soon as the New Year begins. Setting your goals is absolutely the right thing to do, but good intentions change nothing. Making these resolutions does not usually involve a tremendous amount of thought or planning. That is generally why they are often not realised.


So how can you have meaningful goals that make a real impact on your work/ life in 2019?


7 Steps to Successful Goal Setting


1. Recognise the importance of having goals Goals keep us energised and focused on what we are trying to achieve, as these 3 quotes by well-known people show:

“What keep me going are goals”. Mohammed Ali

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible” Tony Robbins

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.” Michelle Obama

2. Write down your goals Writing down your goals - on paper or in a Word document - is important for three main reasons:

    • your motivation to achieve them increases along with your self-accountability 
    • you embed them deeply into your mind and this makes them more tangible and easier to recall 
    • you are 42% more likely to achieve goals you’ve written down according to a study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews, psychology professor at Dominican University of California
In spite of these benefits, Brian Tracey says pointedly: “Only 3% of adults have written goals, and everyone else works for them.” 3. Use SMART goalsYour SMART goals should be:
  • Specific and not ambiguous 
  • Measurable so you can track your performance 
  • Achievable - with some challenge but not impossible 
  • Relevant to your overall plan for your work and your life 
  • Time bound - with a target “by when” date
The latter point is especially important as your subconscious mind uses deadlines to drive action, consciously and unconsciously, toward achieving your goals on schedule. 4. Develop work and life goals Setting goals applies not just to work but to our whole life. We do not just live to work. I therefore suggest that you set goals for 6 different areas of your life. Your goals might look like this:
  • Work/ Business Goals: Grow sales by 10% , increase profits by 20%, improve annual maintenance contract retention to 95%, increase employee satisfaction scores to 90% 
  • Family Goals: have a standing date night with spouse/partner, call or visit parents at least once a fortnight, have family time with your kids/grandkids bi-monthly 
  • Social Goals: Go out for dinner/meet up with friends once a month , become a school governor, coach the boys under 10s football team 
  • Fitness Goals: attend group cycling class once a week, lose 5 kgs of weight by 1st of August, reach box league 2 in doubles tennis 
  • Personal Development Goals: Listen to one book summary each week, read one book a quarter, attend a marketing webinar each month 
  • Spiritual Goals: meet with like-minded people at least once a week, read a devotional every morning
5. Use a detailed Action Plan especially in a work context Make a list of everything you will have to do to achieve your goal. This becomes an Action Plan, focusing you and setting the milestones and actions you need to take to reach your goals. These actions need to be arranged sequentially and in priority order. To be clear:
    • Sequence: what you have to do before you do something else, in date/time order 
    • Priority: placing what is more important before what is less important
Remember as you do this the 80/20 Rule which says that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your activities. When you have a Goal and a Plan, you increase the likelihood of achieving your goals enormously


6. Develop self-discipline and focus on implementation Having SMART goals and an Action Plan is a huge step forward - but it is only half of the battle. Now you have to achieve it. Implementation is the aspect of goal setting with which people have the most trouble.

To implement your plan, to achieve your goals, you need focus and self-discipline. You also need to ensure you are not constantly distracted by the issues of the day. Nigel Botterill of Entrepreneur Circle recommends creating a 90 minute block of time each day when you can concentrate on the most important tasks in your Plan. If that seems unreasonable, as it will to most, start by blocking 90 minutes at the start or end of each week to realign your diary to ensure you are using your time effectively to implement your plan.

Focus and Concentration are keys to success. Focus means that you know exactly what it is that you want to accomplish. Concentration requires that you dedicate yourself to doing only those things that move you toward your goals.

7. Review your goals regularly It is vital to review progress against your goals on a regular basis: some daily, some weekly and some monthly.

Regularly reviewing your goals provides you with a good reminder of what you're working towards and keep you on track. As important as it is for you to set goals personally and for your business, it's also important that you regularly review them.

Use these  

7 Steps to Successful Goal Setting and make a point of regularly assessing how you are doing, even now at this early stage in 2019.


Decide what adjustment you need to make now to achieve your goals for 2019.  



Rathbone Results are a team of professional business advisors, who specialise in helping business owners and managers improve the performance of their business. If you’re looking for proven methods to help you see results in your business, click here to view our contact details or call us on 020 8798 0175.