What Is Your Process For Setting Goals?

A while ago, I posted here on The Club after I listened to a podcast about goal setting Super Testing Bros: Goal Setting with Tom Griffin and Mike Clarke.

After a question on our recent Slack AMA, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to share some more insights into this.

The question asked was

What’s your process for setting goals? I find I get distracted relatively easily when it comes to following a path (I think this is due to accidentally forging my entire career :sweat_smile: ) and now I’m doing things in a more structured way I’m looking for strategies. I’m good at to do lists and more immediate planning but overall stuff? I’m a bit lost

Bruce gave us an excellent insight into their goal-setting process

I’m a massive fan of trello, and a massive un-fan of making goals for things that will happen in 5-10 years’ time. If you have a particular role in mind then that’s great, but the real trick is breaking it down into what you can do about it right now. Back at your other question, that’s where the mentor humans can really help. They know what you need and what you’re missing, and probably what you can do to get there.

I super duper love trello, you may have noticed. I also make new boards all the time, and over the last couple years they have gotten much simpler and clearer.

For example, since I recently started a new role my current goal is to “get good” (redacted Trello board screenshot)

  1. identify a goal you wanna reach in the next year - for other people maybe longer, but if you’re like me and you lose focus then no more than 12 months into the future for you!
  2. talk to someone who knows some things,
  3. choose like 1-2 aspects of the new role or upskill, ignoring the fact that I chose 6 in the example
  4. break it down to solid behaviours or actions, and if you’re lost about how to do that then ask someone who might know, or someone who might know someone who knows
  5. reorganise.
  6. do it again cos you didn’t like the first one you did
  7. realise it got so untidy and unmanageable, so make a new board
  8. feel like you’ve made no progress at all six months later
  9. go back to the first board and remember that thing you couldn’t do before, but lost visibility of because it wasn’t on your newest list or board so you forgot that it was part of your goal and only the new things you can’t do now count >.>
  10. be all like dang I did some things

Also a note on staying focussed and on track, make sure you celebrate enough. Sometimes lists and boards feel like they’re just there to remind you of all the shizzle you have not yet accomplished. The done column, or the ticked items, they’re what count. Not the backlog, not the empty tickboxes. Everything you do brings you closer, and should be celebrated.

What is your process for setting goals?

I personally believe in a SMART approach of setting goals - making them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
There are other interpretations for each letter:
S - significant, stretching
M - meaningful, motivational
A - attainable, agreed upon, acceptable, action-oriented
R - realistic, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T - tangible, trackable
Each one chooses his own meaning.

Does it always work? Mostly I’d say, but not all your goals in life are set by you, both in career and outside of it :slight_smile:

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Interesting, I never thought about goals set by others for me/you :thinking: