While I was teaching a members' class at The Coaching Institute on May 13, I got drawn into a discussion about purposes and goal setting strategies for success in life coaching with our head trainer Matt Lavars. It was fascinating, and had me diving into my bag to drag out my diary.
Matt was asking me about how I set goals and how often I do it. I had to rewind him a little bit to a process I start each and every New Year's Eve.
Let me share it with you.
When champagne corks are popping at midnight on December 31, I'm never just congratulating myself on having had a great year or looking for someone to dance with (although I do love a boogie.)
I'm analysing mentally what I achieved, if it meant real progress and how it sets me up for the new year.
Then I set a theme for the coming 365 days. Just don’t ask me what it is: I don't tell for at least a decade because I don’t want anyone coming and saying, ‘You’re not living it.’
Choosing the theme is a process. It means looking back on the past year, asking, 'How did I grow, I let myself down here, where do I need to build?'
It takes hours of conversation with my husband JP, figuring out what that year needs to be. It’s about momentum and progress and purpose.
The theme comes out of necessity, not possibility, and that trickles through hopefully into many things.
I have to say the chosen theme isn’t always successful. One year it was ‘consolidation’ and we went into more debt than we ever had! Doesn't matter. Sometimes things don't go to plan, despite great planning. I didn't beat myself up about it, because I learned a lot.
The next step in goal setting strategies for success in life coaching? You'll need to go internal, and commit to a purpose.
I do a slow waltz with my values, then my theme, then I do a purpose statement that informs what my goals are going to be.
This is where I needed the diary—to check the exact working of this year's version, which I changed in 2020 after having the same one for 15 years.
The purpose takes about two weeks to write, as I drill down into what's important and craft my words to best suit.
The 2020 purpose uses my legal name: “I Remi, see, hear, feel and know the purpose of my life is to awaken and live my true self."
Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson also advocates writing down goals on New Year's Eve, saying in a 2019 blog post "the simple act of writing it down will help you stick to it."
“Some of Virgin’s most successful companies have been born from random moments. ... No matter how big, small, simple or complex your idea is, get it in writing. It doesn’t matter if you use a pen and notebook or your iPhone—if you have a record of it, you’re more likely to make it happen."
Nice to hear we're on the same page, Sir Richard.
I suspect he also does what I do next, which is the actual meat and potatoes: the goal setting strategies for success in life coaching.
I set up to 15 personal and business goals (including a WIG, or Wildly Important Goal) every year, from those that are close and inclusive and emotionally intimate with my friends to sprawling professional ones.
My first goal is about my total self then it chunks down to the others I know the least, such as contributing to charities.
My number one this year would be to emotionally express myself fully and truthfully.
I try really hard not to set goals that rely on others, and aims to make them about progress and growth, like my theme.
The yearly goals are broken down into the 90 day, weekly and daily time frames, all of which are written and finished before the time period kicks off.
Planning for long term growth means you can’t keep acting in a short term way with short term fixes that will fail because they raise anxiety, then a goal becomes just to get out of anxiety rather than move forward.
I’ve been playing a long game for a long time.
It’s what you do every day consistently that will get you to January in phenomenal shape.