How often throughout the year do you carve out time to create meaningful goals?

Are you someone who is in a regular routine of setting and meeting your personalized goals? Or are you more inclined to fly by the seat of your pants?

When the year comes to a close, do you generally feel like you made full use of the time you were given? Or are you more likely to end the year hoping the next one will be different or better?

No matter which camp you fall into, there is an easy way to create meaningful goals that will help you feel like you’re on your best track throughout the year.

It’s simply a matter of working with what nature provides. More specifically, it’s about utilizing the change in seasons as a segue to tune inward and map out your goals one season and step at a time.

Many companies implement a similar process, referred to as quarterly planning. In quarterly planning, the yearly plan is divided into four quarters. Every three months, goals are set, strategic plans are documented and achievements are celebrated.

As a professional coach, I’m accustomed to supporting my clients to create meaningful and realistic goals throughout the year. The process of setting goals often starts by mapping out the big picture of where, when and how they spend their time. Then we look at what their definition of success and happiness includes. I’m always inspired to witness others create their own clarity and plan for loving their lives.

I’ve come to notice in my life, and witness in the lives of others, what often gets in the way of having a fulfilling life, is not a lack resourcefulness or awareness of what we want. It’s usually that the days are long and the years are short, and we just kind of fall into habits where we forget to tune inward to recognize if we are on our best path.

That’s why I started using the four seasons throughout the year as markers of time to initiate a reset and plan for my season ahead. My seasonal planning ensures that I never veer too far away from my personal definition of success and happiness. Afterall, a new season and opportunity for a reset is always right around the corner.

These are the 5 steps I use each season to create meaningful goals that support me to love the life I’m in. If you’re looking for a seasonal reset, or you just want to create some new goals, give these steps a try and see what shifts for you.

Step 1: Clarity

In our noisy, busy world, the challenge is not that we lack access to information or knowledge. The challenge many of us face – is being still and quiet long enough – to actually hear our inner nudges and wisdom. It’s that clarity of thought and feeling that helps us stay on our best track.

As you get ready to start a new season, carve out a bit of time where you can get clear on the big picture of your life. Remove any unnecessary noise or distraction. Make a list of what is working well in your life right now. Ask yourself what needs to change – and then trust the answer that comes.

Take a snapshot of your current level of satisfaction in the different areas of your life. Use this information – as exactly that – it’s information to help inform your next steps. Don’t use it as fuel to feel bad about what is or what isn’t going well. Spend some time getting clear.

Step 2: Celebrate

It’s more fun to get to where we are going, when we celebrate where we are right now.

Celebrate how far you’ve come this year, this season, this month, this week, this day, this hour – you get the idea. Celebrate your wins, big and small. Celebrate being on a human journey at this particular time in history. It’s a bumpy ride, yet here you are day after day, showing up and doing your best. That’s worth pausing at least every season – if not every day – to acknowledge and celebrate.

Steps 3: Focus

It’s easier to get to where we are going, when we have an idea of where we are headed.

Go back to step 1. What came to the surface when you became clear on the big picture of your life? Is there a certain area of your life that feels important to create some goals in right now? What feels really important to you at this point in time?

Pick an area of focus you’d like to create some goals and action steps in over the next 3-month period. Write down what comes to you in as much detail as possible.

Step 4: Be Realistic

When you’ve narrowed down your focus for implementing change and goals, it’s important to have a realistic and clear picture of what that change looks like, feels like, walks like and talks like. Look at the big picture of the overall goal and then apply a little reverse-engineering.

Start with the big picture, and then work your way backwards filling in the necessary steps and goals it will take to reach your desired outcome. Write down your plan as you go. Don’t forget to add in potential roadblocks and necessary support you’ll need to help you stay the course.

Make sure your goal(s) meet the SMART goals guide criteria. This will help you set goals and steps that will prepare you for success. SMART goals are meant to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

It’s usually the big overwhelming picture of a dream and goal that prevents the dreamer from taking action. But when you break down that big picture into small, realistic steps – it’s simply a matter of showing up each day and putting one foot in front of the other.

Step 5: Visualize

Use the power of your imagination to stay motivated and excited about your goals – and your life for that matter.

Spend a bit of time each day – it doesn’t need to be a lot of time – but do spend a little time where you are imagining how it will feel to reach your goals and dreams.

This visualization space is not the place for worry, or for attaching to how you think it will come to life. Let go of trying to predict the exact journey, and instead lean in and use this space to pretend you’ve already arrived. How does that feel?

Get up close up and personal to that feeling to the point that you’re actually spending time each day feeling that desired feeling. It’s one of the most important – and by far the most fun – steps in setting and reaching your goals.

What do you want to bring to life over this next season? How do you most want to feel in 3-months?  

If you’d like some added support to create your goals this season, come check out my Free Seasonal Life Balance Wheel E-Course.

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