Too late? No! Here is an easy way to set your leadership goals today

Kathy Archer
4 min readJan 20, 2023

No goals yet for this year? It’s not too late

It is the third week in January already, and perhaps you are one of the ones who have yet to set your goals for the year. I have many clients in your shoes. They need to find the time to draft their goals but are struggling. But rest assured. It is not too late to set them. Now that the dust of the holidays has settled, you may be in a better place to do that.

Setting goals is essential to leading a nonprofit organization but also essential to the development of your capacity to lead. Yet, it can be challenging to find the time and focus on doing so amidst the busyness of day-to-day operations. Below you’ll find easy strategies to help you develop goals that will build your competence and confidence as a leader this year.

You do need goals

First, let’s get clear. You do need goals. As teleological beings, we perform at our best when we have targets to work towards. You know this if you say you do your best work at the last minute. A looming due date is a fabulous target to motivate most of us.

Without goals, you wander in circles

Without goals, we can quickly feel like we are just going through the motions and not making progress. Without targets, you are wandering aimlessly. That is why you may feel like you are just going in circles!

With goals, you are intentionally creating your leadership experience

Are you taking an active role in shaping your future? You are if you are intentionally creating life, days, your career and your personal life as you choose.

When you are intentional, you create your leadership and life experiences by reflecting, deciding, setting goals and planning, all before you take action.

The easy goal-setting method

Gather thoughts

Whenever anything comes to mind about your goals, jot it down on a sticky note or digital file. Your brain is always thinking, and you have ideas, awarenesses and ah-has. Those are important to capture.

Schedule time to review last year

As little time as 5 minutes will do. Begin by reviewing the past year and reflecting on your strengths, areas of growth, and accomplishment. Here are some prompts to get you started:

  • I have grown stronger in this way last year…
  • The part of me that is coming alive that I am loving is…
  • This is the part of my inner growth that I am most proud of last year…

EXTRA HELP: Nonprofit leaders, you need to do this now to make next year amazing!

Create a future vision

Knowing where you are going will help you get there. It would help if you had that target to aim at. Craft a quick vision of what you want in your future by answering these questions:


If I have the “perfect” life, career and relationship:

  • This is what it would look like…
  • This is what it would feel like…
  • These are the kinds of things that would be happening…
  • These are the kinds of conversations I’d be having…

EXTRA HELP: Most nonprofit leaders miss this step critical step when setting goals

Rough out your goals

Consider the steps you need to take this year to move closer to that vision. Draft 2–3 goals to help you achieve that vision. They don’t need to be perfect, SMART or finalized. Draft is the important word here. You’ll continue to refine them as you work on them. Just get something down on paper as a starting point.

Expand the goal into a plan

Once you have your goals, develop a plan to achieve them, including specific actions, practices, and training.

Consider what habits you need to develop to maintain your goals over the long term.

  • What daily actions will you need to take to stay on track?
  • How will you make those habits a part of your daily routine?

EXTRA HELP: Create your plan to ditch “Survival Mode”

An example of how it works:

Vision

Perhaps you imagined yourself as a courageous leader. You visualized how you are stronger, more assertive and more confident. You got a sense that as you grew, you could feel yourself doing tough things like addressing issues, setting boundaries and being true to yourself.

Goal

Your goal could be to increase your confidence level in your leadership role.

Plan

Your plan could include:

  • Learn to manage my thoughts by reading and applying the concepts in the book: Mastering Confidence: Discover your leadership potential by awakening your inner guidance system.
  • Learning more about leadership competencies by
  • Reading leadership books
  • Listen to podcasts.
  • Attend training.
  • Practice public speaking by joining Toastmasters.

The bottom line

Taking the time to set goals and create a plan to achieve them intentionally can significantly impact the success of your leadership and personal life. By being intentional and self-reflective, you can progress toward your desired experience of blending life and career. Regardless of the time of year, it’s always possible to start creating the future you want.

Originally published at https://www.kathyarcher.com.

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Kathy Archer

Helping women leaders make it in the nonprofit world. Leadership Development Coach * Best-Selling Author * Wife * Mom * Grandma * Mom to one boxer named Zeus!