Sometimes it can feel like life is passing us by. With a neverending to-do list on our plates, it is easy to let goal setting go by the wayside. While the New Year brings visions of a more organized, healthy and blissful life, rarely do those visions come to fruition. According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, just 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals, while around 80 percent fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions.

Quarterly Goal Setting brings the intention of a New Years Resolution with a more practical implementation plan. Prioritizing by season allows us to refocus based on changing priorities at three month intervals. In the fast-paced world we live in, our priorities at work and home can change monthly, if not weekly. Thinking through how our lives differ between seasons also provides insight on why three month goal setting makes sense. Our priorities in summer may be different than those of fall. While Fall brings a renewed focus on routine, summer is focused on relaxation and time with family and friends.

Follow these simple steps to help you get started with setting quarterly goal setting:


1. Identify Goal Areas

Having good work/life balance means that you pay attention to various areas of your life when setting goals. Consider goal areas such as Professional, Health/Well-Being and Family/Social or set your own goal areas based on your priorities.

Professional – Organization-Focused and Individual Professional Development

Consider breaking your professional goals into two separate areas – goals focused on the company and goals focused on you as an individual. Why? Because the goals that you may set to meet your organization’s mission are different in scope than goals that focus on your own individual professional development. While your professional development can certainly contribute to your organization’s success, giving attention to your individual needs and goals is an investment in your future.  

  1. Organization-Focused: Implementing a new project at work or building consensus around a new idea
  2. Individual Professional Development: Pursuing a new certification or training course or having an important conversation with your boss about your future at the company.

Health and Well-Being

Remember that health and well-being are closely correlated with your physical and mental health. If you are feeling frantic and stressed, it is time to assess your self-care, stress management and exercise routine.

An important consideration when reflecting on your well-being is your personal development and growth mindset. For more ideas on personal development, check out this resource.

Family / Social

When things get hectic, scheduling quality time with family and friends can be put on the back burner. And often, this is the area of life that many of us consider the most important. You may find that while your calendar is full of unfulfilling social obligations, you are missing the moments that inspire you. Whether it be a coffee date with a dear friend or a date night with your partner, being intentional with the time you spend with your loved ones pays dividends.


2. Reflect 

Setting goals every three months requires reflection on how things are going and what you might like to change. This is the most important part of goal setting. Reflection is the catalyst to identifying goals and taking action. Consider the following:

  • What are some experiences that you’d like to have over the next three months? How can you make them happen?
  • What is something that you’ve been putting off that needs to get done? (Easy but dreaded tasks such as scheduling doctor appointments typically fall in this area).
  • Is there an area of your life that has been neglected? Have you been busy at work and missing time with family and friends?
  • What has been a source of stress for you lately? What might help subside that stress?
  • Reflect on each goal area in your life – how is it going? What is going well? What needs to be improved?


3. Include Your Stakeholders

Identify the stakeholders in your goal areas and ask for their ideas and thoughts. Stakeholders might be your spouse/partner, your colleagues or your boss. The more invested that others are in your shared goals, the more motivated you’ll be to take action. Consider using a shared document to keep track of to-do items with others.  

Tip: The iPhone Notes feature allows you to create a task list and share it with family members. There is nothing better than checking the box complete!


4. Identify Tasks Based on Your Goals

Break down your goal into smaller tasks. If one of your goals is to plan the summer family vacation, list tasks such as researching hotels or setting flight email alerts (hello Google Flights!). Even better, consider creating an action item to delegate tasks to family members – hey, it takes a village to plan an awesome family vacation right?


5. Now… Implement! Complete One Task Every Week

Set a weekly reminder to check your task list, and identify at least one action item for that week. Be flexible with yourself – priorities can change based on the week, so choose the action item that makes the most sense for you that week. If you make an effort to complete at least one task from your list, you’ll continue to make progress. Heck, some weeks you just might complete more than one action item! You got this, you productive, work/life balancing professional!  


This article was originally posted on Ed Hunter's blog here.


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