When to Set Goals to Easily Maximize Your Personal Growth

You are currently viewing When to Set Goals to Easily Maximize Your Personal Growth

Sometimes you’ll feel disorganized with your personal growth system. Part of this is trying to figure out when to set goals for the greatest efficiency.

You can set goals anytime, but there are some times in life that are better. These include the start of the year, month, or week; after a setback; during a new beginning; when your day gets off track; and every 13 weeks. Setting goals at these times brings greater motivation and organization and can help you reach your goals.

Today we’ll just be going over the top three times to set goals. These are the ones that I’ve personally used for greater success and I highly recommend you set goals at these times also. 

Let’s get right to it!

1. Set New Goals Every 13 Weeks

I’ve been setting and achieving goals for nearly 20 years and for a long time I got it wrong. I’d only set new goals at the beginning of the year only to struggle to remember them and stick to them consistently. 

The problem is, most people try to do it this way too. And it’s probably the main reason why people can’t seem to stick to their goals.

Instead, you want to set goals once a quarter, or every 13 weeks. This gives you structure and will help you maintain your momentum throughout the year.

I originally learned about this idea from The 12 Week Year. In the book, authors Brian Moran and Michael Lennington explain why the traditional way of setting yearly goals is so broken. 

The problem is you get excited about your goals, overwhelm yourself, then forget about them by the end of January or earlier. It’s not your fault, this is just the way that the world thinks it should be done. 

But the 13-week system (12 weeks working and one week off) beats this by giving you that new-year-new-you feeling four times a year instead of once.

Since learning about this and shifting my goal-setting system accordingly, I’ve seen a massive increase in the number of goals I can achieve each year.

Plus, it’s much more rewarding and my motivation is high year-round. 

To take advantage of this just put some time on your calendar at the end of each quarter on the last Sunday of March, June, September, and December to set your goals for the next quarter. 

During this hour, set new goals and work on your goal-setting system. You’ll be amazed at how much more you can accomplish this way.

2. Reset Your Goals Daily Whenever Your Day Gets Off Track

Do you remember the last time your daily plan got thrown off the rails? I’ve had multiple days like this, unfortunately, but I’ve learned a lot from them. 

It can be anything from a kid getting sick to an emergency problem on a project at work or even disappointing news. 

These things are not only discouraging, but they also make it difficult to reach your goals because they make it tough to stay consistent with your action plan. 

If this sounds too close to home for you, you’re in the right place. Even if this is a nearly everyday occurrence for you, there is hope. And it’s also one of the best answers if you’re wondering when to set goals.

Rather than letting your day stay off track when it gets off track follow these steps: 

  1. Pause. Take a break. Go on a walk and write down what’s going on.
  2. Schedule another time to worry about it.
  3. Replan your day, setting new goals with the new constraints.

If your kid throws up and you’re late to the game, take the first five minutes of the game to reassess and set new goals for the rest of the day.

When you get pulled over and you’re already late for work, just breathe. Take a moment to remember what you’re grateful for, then write a plan for the rest of your day in a note on your phone.

If you’re camping and your tent and gear get blown into the lake by a storm, it’ll be alright. Get everything out of the lake and dried off, then re-evaluate and replan your daily goals accordingly. I know this works because I just had this happen to me.

Whatever situation you find yourself in, learning the skill of pausing and re-setting your goals throughout the day will help get you right back on track. 

And it makes you more resilient, productive, and persistent in the long run too. When you have this ability, no setback can permanently bring you down.

3. Beginning of a Week, Month, or Year

According to research, you’re more likely to stick with your goals if you plan to start them at the beginning of the week, month, or year. Researchers refer to this as the “fresh start effect.”

It works because you have more motivation and energy at the start of these time periods. This comes from a natural feeling of having a clean slate from which you can work. 

When you don’t feel down from what’s happened earlier in the week or month, it’s a lot easier to commit to a set of goals. 

This is why I recommend you prepare your 13-week goal-setting cycle the week before the quarter begins so you can start fresh, and energized this prepares you to take advantage of the extra motivation that new beginnings bring. 

Be careful not to let this idea hold you back though. It’s easy to say you’ll start on Monday and then fall apart throughout the week only to repeat the process again the next week. You’ll never achieve your goals that way. 

Instead, stick to the 12-week year and commit to daily action steps. See if you can stay consistent with them for 84 days straight.

And if your day or week gets off track, replan it like we’ve talked about. You don’t have to set high standards for the remainder of a day when it doesn’t go as planned. 

Just get done what you can and plan to start full strength tomorrow. 

That might mean committing to only 10 minutes of exercise when your kid gets sick in the middle of the day and then planning on having a fresh start by working out for an hour first thing tomorrow morning.

Do what works for you. Take advantage of fresh starts wherever possible, but don’t let it hold you back from starting something awesome right now.

Remember, every little bit makes a difference.

Wrapping Up

There are a lot of good answers to the question “When should I set goals?” The best and most effective times that I’ve found are:

  1. Every 13 weeks
  2. Whenever your day or week gets off track
  3. Anytime you have a new beginning, like the start of a day, week, quarter, or year