Looking backward, moving forward (at the same time)

But don’t do this while driving! What I’m talking about is goal planning.

This is one of my favourite times of year. My mind starts to go into overdrive about goals and plans for the following year. If I’ve been decent about following and tracking my goals for the current year, once November rolls around, I have a pretty good idea of where I want to go next year. This hasn’t always been the case for my coaching practice though.

As I said, I need to have pre-existing goals that I’m already working on for this process to work well. If you’re thinking this excludes you from the conversation, please don’t be discouraged. We all need to start somewhere. Before I designed my own goal planning process, I was lost and unfocused. I felt like I wasn’t living up to my potential. I’ve still got lots of work to do, but the biggest difference is now that I know what I’m focusing on each year, I know what NOT to take on!

This is the first time I’ve talked about my process aloud. Yes, I coach my clients to adapt the process to their habit tendencies and values, but I’ve never really talked about how I use it personally. If you’re interested in catching a glimpse, read on. If you’d prefer to work with me to help set you up for success for 2022, then let’s chat!

For 2021, I had five sets of goals, which covered family & relationships, my career, health, spirituality and volunteer work. For each set, I came up with strategies and objectives that allowed me to accomplish each goal. As an example, I wanted to hone my coaching skills. I didn’t want this to be a one-off conference or a short-term project, so I decided – as a strategy – to focus on a skill each week. I wrote down the skill in my weekly planner on a Monday morning, meditated on how I could use it that week and left a blank space in my weekly planner to report on it.  Because I use my weekly planner daily, seeing that blank space every day forced me to think about that skill regularly. It was a conscious incompetence that I so desperately wanted to change to become a conscious competence (and hopefully one day, an unconscious competence).

Focusing on this goal all year long has made me a more skillful coach, but it has also unearthed some areas that I want to learn more about and will be focusing on in 2022.

If you’re wondering how I came up with those five sets of goals, I use the Career Planner Workbook for the 21st Century Lawyer. It’s designed to help you look backward and move forward (at the same time). The 2022 edition is now available. Happy planning for 2022!


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