Two Surprisingly Powerful Questions to Ask Yourself When Setting Goals

As you read this, it’s likely I’m holed up in Brooklyn, reflecting on my last year and setting some goals for the next one. It’s that time of the year when we think about what we want out of the next year and we make plans for how to get it.

But we’ve all been in that place where we either don’t know where to start on setting goals, or we set goals that we may not be able to actually achieve. I’ve been giving trainings all month on creative goal setting and I feel even more convinced than I did a few weeks ago that creatives need an approach to setting goals that play to our strengths (dreaming up what’s possible) and adjust for our weaknesses (overcomplicating things!)

But speaking of overcomplicating things, let’s keep it simple.

Here are two of the most powerful questions that I’ve discovered to ask yourself when setting goals:

How can I supersize my goal?

Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In talks about how women think less is possible for them than there really is—we can develop what she calls a ‘leadership ambition gap.’ Tara Mohr, author of the book Playing Big talks about it as playing bigger.

So ask yourself, how can you make your goal twice as big? How can you dream bigger? How can you ask for more?

I recently heard from a woman who took my class a few years ago and got a big salary boost as a result. In her recent performance review, she didn’t feel a need to ask for a promotion or raise, but she decided to ask for something—and asked for an extra week of vacation….and got it! Now I love my job, but I’m a little jealous of the fantastic vacation schedule she’ll have next year.

Supersizing your goal for you might mean:

  • Putting a dream client on your 2018 prospective clients list
  • Asking an artist you love to collaborate with you on a project
  • Committing to spending every Friday on personal development and working on new ideas

How can I work smarter not harder?

One of the reasons resolutions fail is that we add, add, add to our plates, without thinking about what we’ll have to subtract in order to free up the time and energy to take on these new commitments. Breanne Dyck, a coach I follow suggests that we should think about how to get double the benefit for half the work.

Women can sometimes fall into taking on way more than we need to, and overcomplicating things for ourselves because we fall into people pleasing, and don’t realize that we can advocate for the resources we want and need.

So ask yourself, once I’ve set this ambitious goal, how can I work less hard for it? How can I offload one of the things that would need to happen to someone else, how can I get help? How can I tap into resources that are already there?

Working smarter not harder on your goal might mean:

  • Asking for a few hours of a junior staff person to go with your promotion to running projects
  • Asking your partner to take on a household task that you’ve been doing for years
  • Asking your industry group to promote your services as a thank you for organizing their spring soiree

I wish you a wonderful 2018 ahead—I hope it brings you more than you thought was even possible for yourself—with more calm, ease and joy in the process.

And I’m inviting you to invite me into your process.

What are your goals for 2018? Hit reply and let me know.

And Happy New Year—