Hit the next year running: Set annual goals sooner

I used to create my annual goals in January, but it always felt like it was the end of January before I was kicking into it. So, I pulled my annual goals back from doing them in January to December, but it still felt like I was lagging in the new year. Now, I plan my goals in October or November for the upcoming year. 

When I start earlier, I feel like I’m getting ahead of the game and getting a good run into things. I simply pull out my annual calendar and plot all the dates that are known at the time, including MDRT meetings, school holidays and so forth. My wife works on this with me as well. Here are some of the things we look at:

Career. I look at any career development I want to do for the upcoming year. It might be new courses I want to take, compliance seminars and so forth. Also, what do I need to do to get my staff upskilled?

Financial. How’s my revenue? Where are my different revenue streams going to come from? I look at my investment properties and portfolios as well as my other business interests. I get specific about how my revenue is going to come in and go out.

Intellectual. Up until a few years ago, I’d only ever read five books in my life. That was partly because I always struggled with reading. After learning some new techniques and different ways to do things, I now have a thirst for knowledge and reading. Here are a few of my favorite books:

  • “Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, Invest 12 Minutes a Day,” by Amishi P. Jha
  • “The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War,” by Malcolm Gladwell
  • “How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World,” by Steven Johnson
  • “Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance,” by Alex Hutchinson and Malcolm Gladwell

Relationships. By bringing my wife into this, we realized we didn’t have as much time for us and for our children as we wanted. So, this helped us get really clear on blocking out time for us. We didn’t know what we were going to do, but this was going to be specifically our time. 

Community. Who do we want to give back to in the upcoming year? 

Adventures. Where do we want to travel to?

Spiritual. For me, this is meditation, so I think about what different meditation techniques and retreats I would like to try in the upcoming year.

Environment. How do you want your environment to look? Who are the people you’re going to hang out with? What sort of food are you going to eat? I do a 90-day office cleanse. Every 90 days, I have a thorough clean-out of my office.

Quarterly preview. Here, I’m looking back to look forward. What were my biggest wins for the quarter? How many did I get? What worked and what didn’t? What will I keep doing? What will I improve on? What will I start doing, and what will I stop doing? I grill this into my weekly review as well.

And then, I do a full annual review where I revisit annual goals and celebrate victories.

I hope these ideas help you have a fantastic new year.

Corey Williams, of Christchurch, New Zealand, has been an MDRT member since 2013 and is a Top of the Table member. This was excerpted from the 2019 Top of the Table Annual Meeting presentation “Why I decided to set annual goals before the beginning of the year (Court of the Table and Top of the Table member exclusive).

For more about goal setting, read:

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