How to set goals

It’s that time of the year and our thoughts and intentions all turn to goal setting. But do we really know HOW to set goals?

#ConversationMatters °3 was all about how to set goals and if you’d like to watch, it’s about 20 minutes of a fun conversation!

I was also a guest on my good friend’s podcast on the topic of goal setting. Kara and I have known each other for years and we quickly and naturally fell into the type of relationship where goals and motivation are at the forefront of our friendship. We are highly accountable to each other, so it was an honor to be asked to be her first guest, and to talk about how to set goals. You can click the image to listen, it’s also about 20 minutes.

Real Deep Dive How To Set Goals Naomi Hattaway


How to Set Goals

Ok. Let’s first talk about WHY goals fail, then we will discuss how I set my personal goals for my business, my family and myself and then I will share some invaluable resources.

The number one reason that we fail at our goal setting is because (if you ask me!) we lack accountability. We either do not have relationships in our life we can rely on for hard core accountability, or because we fail to ask. I know! Yes! We fail to ASK.  Think briefly about the friends in your life. I have a feeling that the large majority of them would love to be asked to help you be accountable to your goals for the upcoming year. We want the absolute best for our friends and loved ones, and if being asked to be an accountability partner for someone would help to ensure you live your best life, then that responsibility is on US (I love the word onus! The definition is such a great play on words when you also say “on us”!) to make the ask.

Using a simple sheet of paper, the next step is to identify your values. This may seem like an odd insertion of something to do when all we are talking about is how to set goals, but I promise, it’s important. Melanie Vetter from Wellfleet Circle offers a downloadable list of values to get you started. Choose 2-3 that really ring true for you, and the purpose behind this is that when you begin to brainstorm your goals, lay out those goals next to your values and ensure they align with each other. If you have a goal (no matter how big or small) on your list, yet it conflicts with your chosen values, consider scratching it off the list.

Next up is to mind map! This is a MUCH simpler term to wrap your brain around (there is a link down below to Jenny Blake’s video on this concept) when creating your list of goals. For me in 2018, I am going to focus on four buckets: my health, my family, community + volunteering and our finances.

Feel free to download / print this one page Mind Map resource.

Mind Map ExampleOnce you’ve decided on the things you wish to focus on, draw spokes out from the center . . . one spoke for each bucket. Then from the Health Bucket spoke, I could then branch off and identify the smaller goals I wish to accomplish. The purpose of this exercise is then to break down your goals into small action steps, and also to help you identify perhaps which month you will work on each goal.

This comes back to that first step, accountability. Once you’ve identified and written down your buckets and goals, it’s crucial that you TELL. SOMEONE. Be brave, shout it out, or whisper them . . . but tell someone! If you are ready for a more public accountability opportunity, tell us in the comments! I’ll share mine, if you share yours!



Tools and Resources

Now let’s begin wrapping up and talk about tools and resources. Here are some of my favorites and I’ve personally used all but one of these.

Your Best Year Business Lisa JacobsOh my goodness, let me count the ways I adore Lisa Jacob’s Your Best Year (Business Version). I came across Lisa Jacobs in that way of the internet where you can’t quite recall how you first learned of someone, but I’m so thankful I did! Lisa holds no punches in this workbook that is part inspirational and motivational + business coach + planner. Lisa does a lot of work with money mindsets, which for a small business owner or female entrepreneur often is a tough area of one’s life. Lisa encourages you to look at things like what worked in your past year, what didn’t work. She also asks you to look at where you wasted money and time, and what opportunities were money and time well spent. She then suggests a weekly or daily check-in with your money and income, which feels a bit scary, but she says it works. I’ll let you know how it works for me later in 2018!




Your Best Year Life Lisa JacobsYour Best Year (Life Version) I do not have this actual copy in my hot hands, but based on the value and juiciness in the business version, I can confidently say that this is a fantastic resource. From Lisa’s site: “Your Best Year lovers rejoice! Beloved by 40,000+ online entrepreneurs, the best-selling Your Best Year: Productivity Workbook and Online Business Planner is now available as a LIFE planner. For years, people asked if the BUSINESS edition of Your Best Year would work for them too. They buy the book, skip over the entrepreneurial stuff, and apply the same proven systems and methods to their life goals to produce fast results. This year, things got a little more convenient and a lot more useful: A LIFE edition just for you! This book is for hard-hitting goal setters who are ready to create change. Here’s to Your Best Year yet!”




Rituals for Living DreamBookRituals for Living DreamBook was introduced to me by my dear friend Karyn. We researched and dug in, and both purchased different versions. I chose the DreamBook without the planner, and Karyn chose the DreamBook WITH the planner. Then we scheduled a weekend together, and she drove to my home (6 hours!) and we had an amazing weekend full of talking, reminiscing, goal planning and life designing. What a wonderful memory that will be for me. The DreamBook has you really look at your life in the past and forecast what you wish for it to be in the future, including setting goals and aspirations for 1 year from today, 3 years, 10 years and lifetime goals. It then simply helps you work backwards to identify which steps will be needed for each of those aspirations, and dictates transferring those to weekly action steps. Another favorite piece of the DreamBook is that it has weekly “Rituals for Thriving” to encourage proactively adding in those rituals (such as “get rid of things I don’t love” and “read for enjoyment”).


Desire MapThe Desire Map has been on my list of “must have” for soooooo long. I finally took the plunge and ordered it for my 2018 goal setting purposes. Some of my favorite things about this resource? First of all the covers . . . I chose the charcoal and gold option, but there are also options, one with teals and another with pinks. Gorgeous.  Danielle takes you on a deep dive about how you want to FEEL in 2018, which is a novel concept, isn’t it? Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map also has a fabulous feature by way of tear-off corners so you can easily thumb to your current page. Each month, the Desire Map lays out 15-20 feelings that you can ponder on, then choose 2-3 feelings that you wish to intentionally work on for the month ahead. For January, 2018, those options include: articulate, lion-hearted, presence, shine and community. Love those! Then for each week, she asks you to identify just three things to get done that week (JUST THREE! Imagine the lightened load if you only focus on THREE things!) and also provides space to specifically identify To-Do items that match prompts such as “do what lights you up” or “that which creates simplicity”.

Please note, there are some links which, if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission that is at no extra cost to you. I do not recommend products that I have not personally used and you can be confident that I only bring the best to you!

If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to start the goal planning process, try this video from Jenny Blake or this article on how to set yourself up for success when setting your resolutions. Finally, one way to review your past year and learn how to set goals for your coming year, is to consider asking yourself a series of questions instead of focusing on resolutions. One of the contributing writers for I Am A Triangle recently published this amazing set of 15 questions that are probing, heartfelt ways to investigate ways you can better design your life in 2018.

Wrap Up

How do you prioritize goal setting for yourself? Do you plan out your year at the end of December, or are you like me and start that process in September (is that weird?).  What are your favorite resources for goal setting? Let’s chat in the comments!

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