Quarterly Goal Setting That Works

I am sure you've heard large businesses (and small ones) talk about their quarterly reviews or other things that pertain to the four quarters of the year.  Taking stock four times a year is a really great way to check in with yourself (or your business) to see if you've been achieving what you've set out to achieve.  So, doing a quarterly review should be one thing in your arsenal of organizational tools, whether it's assessing a specific project, an organizational technique (such as GTD: Getting Things Done) or a goal (such as what we'll talk about below).

Another great way to utilize the four quarters of the year is to use them as due dates for specific goals.  I used to only use this system for my creative goals, but I've since branched out to all areas of my life.  It's a great tool utilize for your creativity for larger projects, such as scrapbooks or paintings (or a series of them) or a knitting/crocheting project (am I the only one who takes 3 months to knit a blanket?) and for everything else you need to get done in life.

So let's get to it!

The Quarterly Goals Method (<------print out your worksheet here!) is where you pick four large-ish goals to accomplish that can be done in three months time for all areas of your life:

-Health & Body
-Creative Pursuits
-etc. (whatever applies to you)

Get out some paper and make a mindmap to brainstorm all the goals you want to achieve for each area above (and whatever else works for you).  Once you've done that, then hone in on the 4 that you really want to get done.  Also, choose when your quarters will start: next month?  This month?  The beginning of the year?  You can choose to start any time you want! 😉 

Once you have four goals chosen for each section that you want to work on, you will then work out which quarter you'll do it in.  Do you have a certain time frame in which you need a certain thing done by?  Make sure you factor that in. Also factor in the seasons.  If you want something done before summer rolls around, then make sure you get it done in the quarter before summer, and so on.  And if you go back to my previous post about SMART goal setting, you can use those points to plan your goals as well.  The R in SMART stands for "realistic", so when you think of 90 day goals, you should never aim so high that you'll fail. 

Like, "writing a book" may be doable if the book is going to be short or an ebook, but if it's a full-sized fiction novel?  Then you need around a year to plan for.  And if that's the case then break your novel into four 90 day goals (1/4 done each quarter).  If you get done sooner?  Hooray!  If not, then keep planning for longer.  There's no "failure" in this style of goal planning, you just use the plan as a guideline to keep you on track.  Habits are hard to make, and easy to break, so don't be hard on yourself if you can't even get something done in 90 days.  Just keep going, you'll get there.  And after that?  You'll train yourself to stick to your plans so eventually, 90 days won't be a big deal. 

Here is a sample list of "doable" 90 day goals:

-lose 20lbs.
-start a band
-write a small book of short stories or microfiction stories or poems
-create an ecourse
-create your own website/blog
-knit/crochet a full-sized blanket (or a series of baby blankets to donate or sell)
-build a piece of furniture
-minimalize your house (by hosting a "packing party" where you pack up your entire house, live out of your boxes, and use only what you need--this shows you what you can get rid of in your house)
-train your dog
-learn to code
-learn a new skill
-take singing lessons/learn a new instrument
-teach your cat to use the toilet (for real, people do this!)
-make travel plans
-plan a wedding
-create landscaping/garden plans (indoor or outdoor)
-and oh so much more!

Now, this is how the Quarterly Goals Method kicks it into high-gear and really pushes you to get that stuff done!  Now that you have your four goals chosen, decided when to do them and when the quarters start, put all your other supplies away for anything else.  Writing a book?  Get out your computer and other writing supplies and put away all your crocheting, scrapbooking, etc. supplies.  Find a home for them and leave them there until it's their turn to come out and play.  If you do a certain hobby weekly with a group, then pack those supplies in a portable bag and put that bag away when you're not using it.  Nothing should distract you from your goal of the quarter.  Only keep out the supplies out that you need for each goal.  If you're trying to lose 20lbs?  Then same applies: put away anything that distracts you from your goal (meaning most of the sweets and sodas, and stock your kitchen with lots of water and healthy snacks).  What you want to create are surroundings conducive to achieving your goals. 

Now, you have the order in which you'll do your projects, so write them down in the boxes.  Below the boxes are numbers.  These numbers are for actions that you can take to achieve said goals.  My January through March goal of 2016 was was to crochet a blanket.  So, the only number I filled out was number 1, and it says "crochet a square a day".  Now, I did not totally adhere to this idea, but at least I knew that was my goal.  When I thought "What shall I do right now?" I remembered "Oh yeah, I haven't made my square for the day!" and then I made one.  So use these numbers for "sub-goals" that are action-oriented steps to your big goal.

And that's it!  Nothing insane, nothing too hard, nothing complicated!  Just simple, and EFFECTIVE goal setting :)

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