In just a few days it will be Christmas. That puts us one week away from the beginning of 2020. For many of us, this represents our opportunity to set New Year’s resolutions, which are generally successful through about February before they fall apart. The promises we make to ourselves are usually blurry and not very well-defined. We say we want to “get fit,” but what does that really look like, and how will we get there? How can we create a more clear-cut plan and not fall off the wagon just a few months from now? 

Here’s the method I use and refine a little bit each year…

Let me start with this. I don’t achieve every goal I set every year. If you’re looking for a silver bullet, there isn’t one. But, what I’m about to share with you is a recipe for success that has helped me live a fuller life, focus on what’s important, and grow. 

If that’s what you’re seeking, you’re in the right place. 

First things first… If you haven’t already taken some time to reflect on 2019 and the year that you’re about to wrap up, do that first. I shared my annual reflection worksheet in my last blog, and you can revisit it here. Understanding where you’re coming from is a critical step for planning where you’re going. Do not skip this – there is so much to learn from 2019 that will influence your 2020.

With your 2019 annual review completed, you can start thinking aspirationally about the year ahead. What does your perfect 2020 look like? What do you want to achieve, and how will you get there? 

I’ve been setting annual goals for a few years now, and I’ve used a few different methods to do it. Over time, I’ve developed a framework that works well for me, and I’d like to share it with you here. I hope that my personal process might help you as you’re setting your 2020 goals. You can download my goal setting worksheet here:


Pop it open, print it out, and let’s get started…

I start by completing my Depth Chart. It takes about five minutes to do. This simple exercise helps me quickly assess the areas where I’m already creating some depth in my life and uncover a few areas where I have gaps. It won’t take you a ton of time but will help you quickly kickstart your goal setting process. 

Then, I select two or three areas from my Depth Chart where I want to focus my energy and attention. There are probably many areas that could use some attention, but focusing on just two or three, or even one, will help you to give your goals your full attention. Less is more!

Once I’ve defined the areas where I need to work, I move on to setting my goals. I spend some time thinking about what I want to accomplish, and more importantly, why it matters to me. With those answers in mind, front and center, I write down a S.M.A.R.T. goal for each area. Not familiar with what a “S.M.A.R.T. goal” is? I walk through it in detail in my goal setting worksheet. Finally, with my S.M.A.R.T. goals written down, I define two actions I am going to take to achieve those goals and who in my circle I will ask to hold me accountable. 

I’ve worked hard to make this process simple and to create something that will help me (and you) be successful. One of the keys to this success is using ninety-day timeframes. Traditionally when I would set annual goals, I set them in January and never looked at them again until December. The ninety-day timeline, which I learned using E.O.S., has helped me achieve many things over the past three years. Simply put, you create a goal for the next three months, and then each week you check-in and assess your progress. Rather than a full year of work, which can easily lead to procrastination, you have thirteen weeks to accomplish your goal. Then, at the end of thirteen weeks, you set another goal. 

The Takeaway

Don’t miss this opportunity to start 2020 with the right mindset and a focus on creating real depth! As I’ve shared before, it can be easy to focus on width. I want to be good at everything, and be everything to everyone. That’s simply impossible. Make this the year that you focus on going deep in the right areas, creating depth and living the life you want!

Think big and aspire for more in 2020!

– John