GOALS (because it's the new year!)

frontline goal setting process

We made it to the new year. And with the new year comes resolutions & goals.

Goals can be a powerful thing when executed correctly. Do it wrong, and you're setting yourself up for failure. Do it right, and you'll hit what you're aiming at!

Last year, I began a process for goal-setting that literally changed my life. Or, rather, showed me how to steer it.

I'll assume that, since you're reading this post, you already know the importance of goal setting. It can be a VERY different experience for different folks. No matter your method or theories or whatever, it's all about finding your passion and getting fired up about it.

If you're not fired up about your goals, you're missing something. Get excited.

You hit what you aim at. And if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.
— Zig Ziglar

I'll step you through my process. I've taken bits and pieces from folks around the web and made it my own. It works for me. It may not work for you. Keep experimenting and find what does.

THE TOP 25, aka AAAC

You can read the full article here, but it goes something like this:

Make a list of 25 things you want to accomplish - in life, in business, in relationships, in travel, etc. No constraints here. I take my time with this. I don't usually do it all at once either. Stew on it. Think through it for a few days. You're going to think about things from last year that worked great AND you'll think about what went terribly. You'll find that some are interweaved.

Getting a full 25 has always been a challenge for me. And that's okay. If you don't have 25, no sweat.

Then, go through the list and pick the 5 most important things on that list. Go line-by-line and pluck out the top 5 that you're willing to fight for. 'Important' can be whatever you want it to be, so long as you identify your passion for what you want to focus on.

These are your aspirations, your goals, and you resolve to work toward them every day. 

This is your starting point.


Now that you have an set of goals to work toward, it's time to have some fun. This is my favorite part (if you couldn't tell).

Start breaking them down. Want to travel the world? Let's start with having the right luggage and clothes to do it. Let's do some research, talk to people who've done it, listen to some podcasts, and read books. Then we'll get a world map and put it on the wall. Then we'll start putting a schedule together.

See how this works? You clearly don't just jump on a plane and wing it ( although I'm sure it's been done). You take steps toward the end goals each day/week/month. So this is where we get SMART.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

So let's try it.

Instead of 'research world travel'. It's going to look something more like 'research one country a week for 9 weeks, starting on January 1st.'

Hear the difference? When you break it down in to pieces, all of the sudden, you can actually picture it getting done. And it's not subjective - either you did it, or you didn't. 

What I like about this approach is that it shows you the incremental steps required to get to your goal. If you want to travel to 50 countries, well, researching one a week for 9 weeks isn't going to cut it. 

Here's another quick one - Want to lose 80 lbs this year? That's 1.5 lbs a week average. That's crazy. You'd be setting yourself up for failure.


The last piece of this puzzle is to get some accountability. You need a way of checking it and progressing your goals. There are websites for this, like Stikk, Joe's Goals or 43Things. Or you can find a buddy.

Trust me, you have friends that would LOVE to bust you if you're not hitting your goals. It doesn't have to be over-the-top, but call each other or email each other. As with most things, the easier it is to do, the more likely that it will get done. 

And that's it!

I love going through this process. I love working through the goals and making plans to get there. And then, my favorite part, is watching it all unfold.

Last year, I sat for HOURS creating my Top 5 list. It changed my whole life. We made some pretty hefty life-changing decisions for our family based on that sheet of paper. We're moving across the country, we're quitting and finding new jobs, we're spending more time in church, raising our kids and growing closer to each other. It was seriously life changing; all for the better!

I'd love to hear what your process is, or if you have any suggestions for mine.