I believe in setting big and audacious goals. I do that, teach people how to do it, and write a lot about it. In the past, my goal setting was based on a 12-month system.
This year, I tried out a new 90 day goal setting process and it’s worked out perfectly.
Why 90 Days?
While I’m able to work on my goals diligently for the year, I’ve come to discover that most achievements come from actions taken in the last quarter of the year.
This made me explore what other personal development experts say about 90 day goal setting and there was a lot of information supporting it (to my surprise).
90 days is good enough time for you to create momentum while maintaining focus. This means that you won’t be tempted to procrastinate on your goals. It’s also easier to break your main goals for the year into 90 day chunks that you work on each quarter.
The best thing about using the 90 day goal setting system is that it gives you clarity about what you need to do and when.
For example, I had set a goal of completing a coach training program this year but hadn’t taken any action by the end of January. By breaking down the goal into 90 day chunks, I realized that I had to sign up for the training by March and not May as I had earlier thought.
This in turn pushed me to get one new client by February so that the extra income would pay for the training. I try as much as possible not to add new expenses without first getting a way of paying for them.
I signed up for the training program in March and completed it in August. Had I waited for May, chances are high that I wouldn’t have taken it up at all.
How the 90 day goal setting system works
Step 1: Select your goals
This process works best when you focus on 1-3 yearly goals at a time.
Looking at your goals for the year, identify the top 3 goals that will have the biggest impact on your life, career, or business when you achieve them.
If you’re doing this in the last quarter of the year, then focus on your top yearly goal only.
Step 2: Identify your 90 day goals
Break down each of your yearly goals into all the steps that you need to complete in order to achieve the goal.
Prioritize the steps and pick the top 3 that will have the biggest impact on your goals within the next 90 days. These steps become your 90 day goals.
Always ensure that your goals fit the SMART criteria, and 90 day goals are no exception. SMART is an acronym for:
- Specific: Every goal should be clear and well-defined.
- Measurable: You should be able to evaluate your success at the end of the 90 days.
- Achievable: The goals will stretch you a bit, but still be possible to achieve.
- Realistic: Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting goals that are way beyond your realm of achievement.
- Time-bound: All goals should have a deadline. In this case, the time limit is 90 days – give each of your goals a specific deadline.
If you’re new to goal setting, have a look at this article I wrote about making your goals SMART.
Step 3: Take action
The first action is to plug your goals into your schedule. Make these goals a priority each day so that they stay at the top of your mind.
Ideally, you should work on your core goals within the first hour of the day. If this is not possible, then make sure that you do something related to these goals each day.
I normally have my clients create appointments in their calendar for their top goals and work everything else around these appointments.
When you do this, you’re able to say ‘No’ to other things because you ‘…have an appointment scheduled at that time…’ No one needs to know what your appointment is, but you know how critical it is for you to have it.
Step 4: Review constantly
Each evening, review what you have done that day to move towards your goals.
After the review, ask yourself, “What needs to be done next?” Identify one thing you can do the next day and schedule it in your calendar.
Repeat this review at the end of the week and plan for the next week.
Do the same at the end of each month.
Finally, at the end of 90 days, evaluate what you’ve achieved by then. Chances are high that you’ll have achieved the 90 day goals or you’ll have made good progress towards their achievement.
Step 5: Rinse and repeat
At the end of this period, measure your progress in relation to your yearly goal(s) and repeat the 90 day goal setting and achievement process:
- Identify the top 3 steps you need to take within the next 90 days.
- Make these your SMART 90 day goals.
- Schedule your goals as daily appointments in your calendar.
- Evaluate your progress daily, weekly and monthly.
- Complete the process and set new 90 day goals.
- Rinse and repeat.
In this way, you’ll get used to working on your goals each day, week, and month.
You’ll also be able to make changes in your goals in time instead of working on something for a whole year and then realizing that it wasn’t important or that you could have done it differently.
Your next step
Achieving your goals gets easier when you’re focused and have a step-by-step action plan.
When you use this 90-day goal setting and achievement system, you will make massive progress on your goals, reduce chances of procrastination, and keep yourself motivated all through.
It can be quite confusing to do all this on your own, which is why I’ve created a low-cost teleclass to help you figure it all out.
Sign Up for the next class through this link:
Goal Setting for Peak Performance
…and move your life, career or business to the next level.
(Image credit: Stuart Miles at Free Digital Photos)