Do you know what you want to achieve in your life next year? Starting to think about this in January robs you of a month already. Worse still, you tend to set goals with haste, often not giving enough time to think it through. That’s why the next 4-6 weeks (prior to the end of October) is a wonderful time to set your life targets for next year, before Christmas “Silly” season dominates your time and attention.

Here are some handy tips when you set out to define your goals for career and life:

Setting your Career Goals for 2016

1. Ask yourself the 100 year old question

Towards the end of your life, whenever that might be, what will you want to have achieved both in your life and your career? Write down the 5 things that most come to mind. Then ask yourself this question for each of them “Why is that important to me?”
This basically has you “start with the end in mind and work backwards from there”.

2. Let those 5 Achievements become the category for each goal

Most of us set goals, hoping they life deliver on a “Chief Aim of Life”. Our advice is to choose the Chief Aim, then let the goals cascade from there. For example, one of your Life aims might be “Do Something Super with the life I was given” and your Why might be “Life is a one-time precious gift that you take with both hands”.

Then, your goals might be about stepping out, being uncomfortable, stretching yourself, learning something new, etc. Goals will come to you easily when you tackle it this way, rather than the other way around.


We have all heard of the SMART principle with goals. It stands for:
– Specific
– Measurable
– Attainable
– Relevant (to you)
– Time Driven

This stage is simple – just ensure each of your goals meets all of the above. A good explanation of these stages is made on Your Coach’s website – Coaching Tools – Smart Goal Setting

4. Set March, June, September milestones for your career goals

The goal killer is setting sizeable targets so far in the distance that you can never review how far in the journey you are progressing. The people I have seen over the years that are best at achieving their goals really break it down in to very digestible bite-sized chunks. Set yourself 3 month milestones, and even try to set weekly and monthly guides as to where you should be.

5. Download a Goal APP to keep it fresh in mind

There are some great programs out there now that allow you to input, track, measure, and review your goals. Strides, Lift, HabitSeed and many others all do similar jobs for you – keeping your goals and habits top of mind.

6. Pick a Goal Buddy and speak regularly

We seem to get fit quicker with a personal trainer; goals are no different. Having someone in your life to hold you accountable to your goals really helps. A weekly / fortnightly check-in call or catch up where you share what progress you have made will keep you on the right track.

So many people create goals, start off enthusiastic, and then fade after a short period of time. Give a commitment that you will not allow your Goal buddy to do this, and they make the same commitment to you.

It may feel slightly premature to start setting your 2016 goals, but then again, when does setting them in early January really work? At least this way, you are giving yourself the time to fully think through what you want to achieve at work and at home next year. By the time January 1 comes around, you will be “biting at the chomp” to get into them and will probably have made headway already on many of the targets.

Brian Briscoe