When you don’t know how to get from Point A to Point B
Finding a way to set and achieve meaningful goals can feel like an insurmountable challenge. I’m uncovering how you can actually start setting 90-day goals with a strategy that actually empowers you. Use this approach to break through the overwhelm, uncertainty, and confusion and make consistent progress towards your dreams. Whether you’re aiming for personal growth, career advancement, or creative pursuits, the power of this 90-day goal approach is a game changer.
Here’s how we normally approach goal setting:
We start by thinking about making a decision, wanting to make a change, or reaching a goal. And because we’re conditioned to believe that our follow through has to be a success, we think we have to know all of the steps to get us to our goal and desired outcomes.
We might get overwhelmed by all the options and directions that can get us to our goals and get distracted from planning by the confusion. And this is where we hit the roadblock of analysis paralysis. This keeps us from moving in any direction.
The Experimentation Mindset:
We know life rarely follows a linear and predictable course. No matter how much planning we do, there will always be unknown variables, unexpected obstacles, and the need for adjustments along the way.
The essence of the 90-day goal approach lies in embracing experimentation over a rigid plan. It starts with understanding and accepting that there’s no way for you and I to know what these hundred steps are going to ultimately end up being for us. But we can get started and let the experience from our actions inform us what the next steps are going to be. From there, I want you to evaluate your plan regularly and stay clued into “is this working for me?” And if it’s not, ask yourself “how am I feeling? Do I want to try something else?”
Making plans to meet your goals from this approach encourages you to focus on shorter, more manageable timeframes while allowing room for changes and pivots. We don’t need to know all the steps when we start. We don’t need to have all the answers. Instead, we can set out on a journey of discovery, making gradual progress and refining our direction as we gather valuable insights.
The 90-Day Goals Method:
Pick a short term goal to work toward for 90 days. This is short enough that you can change your mind afterwards but you can still evaluate, experiment, and decide to do something else. Three months is long enough that you can give yourself some time to figure out, “is this working or is this not? Is this something I like?”
Doing something for a month doesn’t really give you the information that you need. And a lot of times, it puts pressure on you to try to go hard at your goals because you only have a couple of weeks to meet them. Sometimes life happens and things fall off. So give yourself more time to breathe and get a lot of data and information that you can use to evaluate.
Write down the parameters of your 90-day goal. These parameters operate as your guides to keep you on track as you continue to experiment and check in with yourself over the 90 days. You will not be changing your goal for the duration of the 90 days but these guides will exist to keep you consistent as the approach to how you reach your goal evolves.
Every 90 days, you can decide if this is the goal your focus is going to go to and if this is what you’re going to do for the next 90 days. Evaluate and see if there are other approaches or goals you want to work through.
Putting it into practice:
A lot of my clients struggle with knowing they don’t want to do what they’re doing (in their careers or personal lives), but they don’t know what else they want to do. They struggle with, “how do I really know what the next thing is? What lights me up?” That can feel really overwhelming because there isn’t a concrete thing to build a goal or plan around. It’s not like they can Google search the answer. So it requires some experimentation.
To start, I ask them to contemplate on, “what can I focus on for the next 90 days? What can I give myself some parameters around in order to figure this out?” This will depend on where a client is on their journey so this advice is going to be different for each person. For some, that might mean giving themselves 90 days to experiment or explore things that they’re curious about. Maybe they decide, for the next 90 days, they’re going to see what actually brings them joy. Maybe take classes or try new hobbies to get there.
Whatever they decide, they have to come up with some parameters around that decision or goal so that they’re not going down Google rabbit holes every day. Let’s say they decide to take a dance class every week for 90 days. This parameter of showing up to dance class, with regularity (once a week), for the duration of 90 days, will act as a bumper guide as life or circumstance moves in and pulls them from their goals. The parameter doesn’t limit which type of dance class, what time they go to dance class, or how much time they have to spend at dance class. But it does guide them to consistency and exploration of what works for them when it comes to realizing their goal of what brings them joy.
Why it works:
Focusing in on one goal for 90 days helps your brain cut through the overwhelm of needing to do all of the to-do list, all the time. It gives you a waypoint to come back to when you get caught up in all the things you ‘should be doing’. You can’t focus on all of the problems all the time. But what you can do is make progress.
The reason this 90 day experimental approach to your goals is (what I think) the secret to life is because it gets you out of a place of overwhelm and puts you in a mindset where you can actually take steps. The baby steps you take will, over time, be the secret to all your success. Any lasting change and goals you want in life are not a flash in the pan or the results of ‘going hard’ for two weeks. It’s what you can do consistently over time in order to create the result you ultimately want.
Start Seeing Progress
By setting short-term goals, evaluating your progress, and adjusting your course accordingly, you can achieve remarkable growth and success across various aspects of your life. When you start seeing the progress you make, you start rewiring your thoughts. You start realizing, you don’t have to go full speed. You can still make a lot of progress when you slow down and experiment with how you realize your goals.
If you want help with setting up your 90 day goals, I have an entire course inside the Quitter Club called 90 Day Decisions, that goes through all of this in more detail. Click here to join and get your 90 day plan in place for you.