How To Set Effective Optimized Goals

Making new goals for the New Year is an age-old tradition across the globe. It feels like the start of something fresh and with it comes a desire to write out the expectations for the year ahead. 

I have written goals on New Year's Eve for as long as I can remember. In the beginning, it was just a short list scribbled in the back of a journal or notebook. However, over time I have learned to be more deliberate and mindful about not just the goals for the upcoming year but the actions I need to take to actually achieve them. 

With this blog post, I wanted to provide some best practices and techniques to write down goals in a format that drastically increases the chances of improving them. There are a lot of great books that talk about this technique. I essentially like to think of it as the hierarchy of goals technique. 


Step 1: Start with your big goal. It's that important thing or things you want to accomplish for the year. 

Step 2: Now break that down into specific steps or habits you need to establish in order to achieve this big goal. Think of this as macro steps. 

Step 3: Further break down the habits into the specific action you need to take on a daily basis to achieve that habit. Think of these as everyday micro steps. 

Here is an example:

GOAL: I want to save $20,000 by the end of 2021

Macro Steps: 

  1. Establish a monthly budget 
  2. Cut back on food delivery services 
  3. Stop using credit cards 

Micro Steps:

  1. Keep track of daily spending using a budgeting or personal finance app 
  2. Plan out weekly meals ahead of grocery runs 
  3. Keep weekly cash allotment 

criteria for setting effective goals

When you write your goals, write them down in some place where you can revisit them weekly. This will help keep them top of mind. Another great habit to form is acknowledging any step, no matter how big or small, that you take towards your goal as a "win" for the day. This will help you stay focused on the big picture.  

Do you write your annual goals around New Years'? If so, what is your technique? 

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