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59 How to goal set for the new year

Hello again and welcome back to another episode of the Art of Business English with me, Andrew Ambrosius your host. Well, firstly I would like to start by wishing everyone a happy new year. I hope you have had a fantastic New Year’s Eve and have recovered from the party.

Well my friends, it’s that time of year again, when we start to reflect on what has been and plan for the new year. Now, in the previous episode I spoke to you about how to retain more information and spaced learning. If you haven’t listened to the episode, then I highly recommend you do so. This week we are going to be looking at how we can set our goals for 2019 and we are going to get a little help from the people at Google. There goal setting steps are pretty straight forward and easy to apply to our personal and professional like.

In this episode I am going to be covering the following:

  • Why we should set goals
  • How we can set goals
  • A goal setting plan
  • How this can help us learn

So, let’s get started.

Why we should set goals

The setting of goals is incredibly important, why, because they provide us with direction, help us focus and lead to better time management and ensure that we maintain our energy levels. Research shows that setting goals is not only important, but we also need to be very specific about them when writing them down. They must also be challenging in order to motive us. So, the key to good goals are clarity and difficulty. If goals are not clear or worse vague, then they are difficult to achieve. They must also have some challenge behind them otherwise there will be no motivation to complete them. However, we must also set realistic goals. If we set unreachable goals, then we are setting ourselves up for failure.
Another reason why we should set goals is that they provide us the framework for how they will be achieved. If we have ideas then they are ideas, but as soon as we set concrete goals and write them down, then we are forced to assess and evaluate the steps required to actually make them a reality. Therefore, goal setting is a great tool for reflection and planning. If you’re like me you know many people who have lots of grand ideas, however those people never seem to think about the actual steps or amount of work required to make their ideas a reality.

In summary, goal setting is what helps to make us proactively plan and think about what we need to actually do in order to get things done.
Now that we understand the importance of goal setting, let’s look at how we can do it.

How we can set goals

Let’s start by taking a look at the Google model called “objectives and Key Results” or (OKRs). With this model, first we are required to set the big picture objectives, this should be aligned with your personal or professional direction. You need to start by asking yourself the following types of questions:

  1. 1. What do I want to achieve this year professionally?
  2. What personal desires or dreams do I have for this year?
  3. What are some challenges I want to overcome?
  4. What am I scared of that I would like to conquer?
  5. How can I make my business better this year?
  6. How can I be a better employee?

And the list goes on. Again, the purpose of this exercise is to get you to start reflecting and being mindful of where you want to go for the next 12 months.

I would like to add that this stage of the process should be done when you are not busy or interrupted, we need to have some down time. So, it could be a good thing to do before you start work in the new year if you are setting personal goals. If you are setting business goals, then there is no problem in doing this with your team. The point is to start the conversation and get the ideas flowing.

As I mentioned before, the goals here need to be set with some ambition and challenge. Remember the golden rule. Learning is difficult. If you are not challenging yourself and getting outside of your comfort zone, then you are not growing as a person. Humans will work hard to get themselves to a position of comfort, so by putting yourself in a position of discomfort you are encouraging yourself to work harder and be more ingenious.

Next step, once you have brainstormed your goals and the things you would like to work towards you need to keep them to maximum 5 objectives. If you create more than 5 high level objectives, then you will probably overwhelm yourself. So, you could have 2 for your personal life and 2 or 3 for your professional life.

OK, so let’s write these up. We need to be action orientated, meaning that these objectives be written in such a way that they push for new achievement. On the Google rework site they recommend avoiding expressions such as “keep hiring” or “continue doing X”. On the other hand, they suggest using expressions that convey endpoints and states. e.g. “Climb the mountain” or “ship feature Y.”

Finally, we need to write out our objectives so that we can know when they have been achieved. For example, one of my objectives for 2019 is “Develop a comprehensive online presentations skills course for non-native English speakers that empowers then to deliver powerful presentations with confidence.” As Google encourages, the end point should be a “moonshot” or something big and lofty that encourages motivation. My “moonshot” is to get my students to deliver “powerful presentations with confidence.”

Let’s look at the second part of this process. The setting of key results. The key results are the things we need to do that are measurable that will get us achieving our objective. Once again, you should be setting about 3 key results per objective. Basically, they need to be your measurable milestones, so straight out of a project management handbook. To write them effectively, they should describe outcomes not activities. Here, I suggest writing them as things that show the competition of the task. For example, I might write, “Complete the course structure, outline and content by March 2019”. My second KR could be “Complete the recording and editing by May 2019” and my final KR could be “Finish the sales page, content upload and email launch sequence by June 2019.”

Finally, these measurable milestones must easily provide evidence of completion.

Ok then, let’s look at our goal setting plan.

A goal setting plan

The goal setting plan is super simple, and it is very similar to the spaced learning model. What we need to do is decide on the system we would like to adopt for our plan. Let me share some with you.

  • Weekly goals, Monthly goals and 3-month goals.
  • Weekly goals, 2-week goals, monthly goals, 3-month goals.
  • Weekly, monthly, 3-month, 6-month goals.
  • Weekly, monthly, 3-month, 6-month, 12-month goals.

In these models, everything we do at each step of the way should be a milestone towards our final goal. So, what I mean is, that if you have divided your year in 4 and have 3-month goals then everything you do in the weeks and months before the end of the quarter should be aligned with meeting your quarterly goals. the same if you have set 6 month or 12-month goals.

Personally, I like to set quarterly goals, and divide my year into parts, I find it is easier to manage and keeps you more focused. You can then also make adjustments along the way.

So, let’s look at the last part.

How this can help us learn

How can this make us learn? Well, if you recall in the previous episode, we can use the spaced learning method to promote better retention of information. If we set a personal goal of improving our English, then we can combine the goal setting ideas I have discussed in today’s episode with the spaced repetition learning model to create a 3-month study plan focusing on the areas that we would like to improve at the most. With our plan we can create a constant path for revision and review that will ensure we retain more of the information that we plan on learning.


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Final thoughts

So, there you have it my friends, my thoughts on how to develop your goal setting study plan for 2019. I hope you have found the information useful.

Before I go I would like to remind you all that you can get a copy of our 500 business collocations eBook at a special AOBE listeners only price by clicking here. If you’re looking to improve your business vocabulary in 2019 then this eBook is the way to go.

Finally, if you haven’t already subscribed to the AOBE podcast for your free weekly dose of valuable business English content then you can at www.theartofbusinessenglish.com/subscribe. You can listen on iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher.

Well, that is it from me, have a great start to 2019 and I look forward to serving and helping you all in the coming year.

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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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