Starting Strong Is Good, Finishing Strong Is Epic

Emma Stirk Setting GoalsArticle by Emma Stirk

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know it’s November…but as a high performance success coach, I know that NOW is exactly the right time to review the year so far, to reflect on the results, challenges and successes 2017 has brought, and even better, to start and plan what will happen in 2018!

So what will the new year mean for you?

Is 2018 going to be bigger, better and more exciting?

The bottom line is, it’s entirely up to you – and that is where the real excitement of a new year lies. A clean slate, the anticipation of a fresh new year, your chance to make next year better than this, in fact why not make next year your BEST year yet!

But how I hear you cry?

Fear not! Don’t worry if you’ve never set goals before or ever had a real plan for your year ahead – I used to be exactly the same! As a solicitor working in the corporate world, my only goals were to survive until my annual summer holiday and to manage the stress of meeting my financial work targets! I didn’t start to set life or family goals until the last few years, but doing so has had a profoundly positive effect on my life. By committing to some clear goals, I’ve found I’m more focused, more motivated and way more effective so it’s definitely something I recommend doing, AND to help you finish your year on an organised and EPIC footing, I’ve put together my goal setting guide to help you below.

Your EPIC goal setting guide!

As a self-confessed goal digger I love an opportunity to review my goals! I include monthly and weekly review sessions as part of my business planning so I can keep a check on my progress and recognise and celebrate any successes or wins (it’s SO important – no matter how small they may be!).

This process helps me to stay clear and in control of my life and businesses, whilst also increasing my motivation, productivity and results! It’s a win – win!

Here are my 10 steps to goal setting success:

Step 1: Review and celebrate the wins

Look back over your year so far … what has gone well? What are your work or business successes? Did you achieve any financial targets?  What about personally?  What are you most proud of this year so far?

Action: Make a note of all of your wins and successes (now matter how small or insignificant you think they may be – a win is a win!) and also what you’re most proud of.

Step 2: Reflect on any challenges

Life doesn’t always go according to plan (even if your plan is epic!), but bumps in the road, challenges, and frustrations, are not always a bad thing. See them as opportunities for you to grow, adapt, and learn new skills. Take a minute now to think back over situations and instances that have frustrated, challenged or upset you over the year.

Action: Make a note of your challenges and then against each one make a list of the skills you developed as a result, or what you’ve learnt as a result.

Step 3: Get clear on your direction

A goal is the end result or end outcome. To get to that goal you need to be clear on your direction. Take a minute to consider what is important to you right now. Then, consider where you want to be at the end of 2018. What do you want to be doing? How do you want to feel? Including feelings when you are setting goals helps you to attach to the goal more (which helps you stick to it!) and makes it more meaningful.

Action: i) How would you like to feel at the end of 2018 – write down 3 feelings;

  1. Why is it important for you to have those feelings?
  • What do you need to have achieved in order to have those feelings?

You can apply these questions to business, work or personal situations. The answers to iii) will be your goals for 2018.

Step 4:  What’s the deadline?

When you know what the end outcome is, whether it is a feeling, or an achievement that brings about that  feeling, think about the date you want to achieve that goal.

Action: Write a list of your goals and place a date against each one. These dates must be non-­ negotiable. These will be your timescales for the year.

Step 5: Make a Plan

Once you have your deadlines you can make a plan to achieve them.

Action: Taking each goal in turn, break it down and make a list of everything you need to do to reach  that goal. These steps or ‘mini tasks’ become the actions you will take to get you to your end goal or outcome;

[For example, if your goal is to run 5k by the end of July 2018, your mini tasks could be to purchase new running trainers, walk for 1k, walk and run for 1k, run for  1k etc…  until you make it to 5k!].

Step 6: Breakdown the Plan

Having a clear breakdown of all the action needed to get you to your goal allows you to see your goal in manageable (and achievable) steps. As with step 4 above, in order to stay focused and maintain motivation, each step or mini task needs a measurable and clear outcome;

Action: Take each step or mini task in turn and set a date for completion of each one.

Step 7: What else do you need?

What skills or support do you need to achieve your goals? What external resources will help? Is it people or tools? This could mean seeking support from a friend, colleague or partner or researching and learning new skills;

Action: Make a list of what other resources else you need to achieve your  goals and how and where you can find them.

Step 8: Consider the threats!

Being prepared and planning ahead is key to achieving your goals and ensuring unexpected events don’t knock you off course. Whilst we can’t anticipate the truly unexpected, we can consider the likely scenarios that might arise and could affect our results!

Action: Make a list of any anticipated events or situations that could arise which may affect your progress. Make a note of ways in which you can limit the situation arising, or steps you can take to keep on track should it arise.

Step 9: Name your prize!

What’s your motivation? Achieving your goals and making 2018 your best year yet will be EPIC, and that’s reward in itself, but if you’re anything like me there are some days when a little extra reward is needed to take that action towards our goals. Setting mini rewards for completing the steps on the way will help maintain your motivation throughout the year.

Action: Against each step or mini task deadline set a reward for achieving that milestone. These rewards can be anything from a bubble  bath, new book, spa  day, weekend  away…  just ensure you choose rewards that motivate and excite you (and that reflect the level of action needed to achieve that step!).

Step 10: Be prepared!

Once your plan is made it’s time to take action. To step into your new organised and focussed power! To get excited about the success you WILL have next year.

Action: Be prepared to take control of your day, to start it right. You’re on a mission to be EPIC so take 5 minutes each morning for you – think about your goals and how you’re going to feel when you achieve them. Read through your list and visualise yourself achieving them. Remind yourself why it is important for you to achieve them and the rewards and celebrations you are going to have for completing each step along the way and for achieving the goal itself.

Your goals are there for the taking – it’s up to you! Make it your time to be epic and crush them!

For further information on how you can get in control of your day or how I can provide you with personal coaching to make 2018 your best year yet, visit my website at where you can find more details of my services PLUS download your free copy of my ‘win your day’ guide!

With luck and gratitude

Emma x

Emma Stirk Setting Goals

Emma Stirk is a Success Coach and Business Mentor for women, having left her corporate career as a high flying solicitor to set up her own business – and she nailed it! – two years later she had grown the business to a global turnover of over £700K.

Emma leapt from the corporate world after the birth of her second child, to set up her own business from home so that she could work more flexibly around her girls and be more in control of her own destiny. As part of this business she has personally coached and mentored hundreds of men and women to start their own successful businesses and to engage in their own personal development, driven by her passion to share what she has experienced first hand.

During her legal career she balanced her day job alongside being a legal mentor and coach for up and coming solicitors, as well as designing and implementing a variety of learning and development projects for her team, so providing guidance, support and direction has always been an essential part of Emma’s life.

Having experienced the damaging effects of school and workplace bullying, emotional and physically damaging personal relationships, depression and anxiety, Emma understands the challenges women face be it in the workplace, at home, or as a #girlboss. Having identified her own limiting beliefs, Emma knows what it takes to smash through them and to overcome personal challenges in order to succeed in life and business.

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Lou - Woman Ready


I'm Lou, founder of Woman Ready. I started this blog as I realised lack of confidence had affected so many areas of my life over the years. I want to feel bolder, more inspired, more empowered, more self-assured - and I want other women to feel the same.

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