The Approach I'm Personally Using to Goal Set This Year - Jenna Kutcher

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The Approach I’m Personally Using to Goal Set This Year

Jenna Kutcher 

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I know the beginning of the year means all kinds of BIG things—I think this year more than ever before. It’s when we evaluate the past 365 days and look at what went well, what needs to change, where we can improve, where we hope to grow, and how we can grow and do better. There’s something that feels magical about a fresh start even if we know in our logical minds that nothing major is influenced by throwing a calendar up on the wall…

If you know me, you know I’m not a huge “resolutions” person per se, but I do see the tangible value in reviewing what went down over the past year and seeing what can shift to make the next one even better and I love setting goals and vision casting for what’s coming up. More than just lines on a page, I want to really have a compelling vision of what I hope the year will hold that I can cling to when life hits the fan. 

I’ve spent a lot of time these past few months being quiet and still with myself, almost going internal in order to look not only at my habits and work processes, but also my belief systems, core values, and how I’m showing up in the world. This year, I’ll be approaching goal setting a bit differently. Ready for it? Let’s dive in!

More Intuition

This year, for me, the way I want to approach goal setting is a little less strategy and a lot more intuition — and while that might sound a little woo-ey, I’m also using the logic-driven principles to help us follow through.

After a year like 2020, I think we’re all feeling a little drained, we’re tired of the uncertainty, we’re sore from all the pivots, and we’re clinging to the things that we can control and white knuckling those.

For me personally, I’ve really struggled with planning this year because there are still so many unknowns, specifically in our personal lives. I’ve been quite open with our journey to grow our family and as we embark on the next chapter of hopefully expanding our fam even more, it’s brought up a lot of past trauma with our losses and a lot of worries and fears.

It’s something we don’t really talk about a lot as women in business. As someone who loves a calendar and a good quarterly goal, I’ve found myself mentally planning a pregnancy and wondering: will I be sick the first 20 weeks like I was with Coco? Will travel be a thing again?  How will these deadlines work with a maternity leave? And behind all of those questions lie the biggest ones: will I be able to get pregnant and stay pregnant? 

I know I’m not the only one who has had all of these thoughts, especially as a planner, so I just want you to understand why I’m not attacking this year with a list full of SMART goals and a sparkly new planner. My ultimate goal isn’t a number on a page or in my bank account, it’s not an award or accolade, the biggest goal for me would be creating the space and preserving my energy to be able to sustain a pregnancy and make Coco a big sister and so everything else feels secondary to that goal right now.

As we venture into this new year as a community, there are just some questions that we can’t answer looking ahead, which is why this year I want to lean more on my intuition and trust in my ability to pivot and be fluid as my dreams shift or the timing unfolds. 

All of this to say, if you’ve been feeling all the feels over the last few months to a year, regardless of if you want to grow your family or you business, and you have been pulled deeper within yourself to evaluate not just what might be perceived as external symbols of success, but also those internal markers for how we’re doing in our spirits and our souls… then maybe this will resonate with you, too.

Peace over profits

Over the years, I’ve focused on running a business that brings me peace. There are entrepreneurs out there who tout bigger and better as the name of their game year after year and I just don’t subscribe to that notion.

As we approach this year, my goal is to pursue a FEELING over a number. Peace over profits. I want to approach each day with excitement and flexibility, I don’t want to do business frantically. I want to leave room for family time, I want to launch when the time feels right, I want to have goals that work into my life and not build a life around my goals.

Of course, profits will always be the thing that drives a business, the center that literally keeps things running and bills paid. But every single business decision I make this year will be framed through the lens of… “Does this bring me peace, or is it only about profits?” If it’s the latter, we won’t be pursuing it. 

When I choose peace, I’m ultimately choosing presence in the moment I’m in. My friend recently told me that when I’m going through life fully engaged, fully present, I have the ability to “fatten a minute” to make a minute feel like an hour or even a day, because our presence is that powerful and that’s the kind of life I want, especially as a mom.

This year, I honestly don’t care how shiny an opportunity is, who’s offering it to me, or what the payout is. If it doesn’t fuel my peace, if it’s not fun for my team, it’s a no for me. This might seem like a luxury to some people, it is, no doubt, but I also believe that no matter your age or stage in business, you can prioritize your peace with each business decision you make and opportunity you pursue. 

In saying “no” to the things that aren’t perfectly aligned, you’re making room for the best “yes-es” that will likely yield even better results. In fact, I think that following your peace actually can lead to MORE profits down the line as you take on work that’s more and more aligned with your purpose, values, and passions.

What does this look like in practice?

If you want to adopt this idea, the first thing you need is to get really, really familiar with who you are at your core, what motivates you, and what you value.

At my core? I want to show up for my family first, my husband, my kid or kids. I want my energy to go to THEM first and my business and audience second. I’m a small town mom who enjoys family time, loves being able to step away from my laptop in the middle of the day for a jog with my husband, who wakes up and puts her baby to sleep every single day.

I also have this enormous passion for teaching other women how to market their businesses effectively and build independent wealth through doing what they love. I love creating content and showing up and sharing what I’m learning so others can learn alongside me. 

Sometimes I feel like I’m living this double life but the real magic happens when those things integrate with each other. It’s like finding a flow-state for your life that includes the things you love and treasure the most.

One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that our two biggest values are found in our time and money and depending on where you’re at in your life, one will be more valuable than the other. There will be seasons where money is king and you’re willing to trade all your hours to make that money and there will be seasons where time is your currency and you’ll shell out money to get that back in big or smalls ways. It’s this ebb and flow but ultimately, in the season I find myself in, I value my freedom of time more than anything else and the capacity to choose how I spend it.

There is zero shame in where you find yourself right now. Maybe defining your answers to these questions would help you to see what your vision for this year holds for you. Ask yourself… What does my perfect day look like? What does success mean to me? What motivates me right now? Why do I wake up every day and do what I do?

If you can really get honest with yourself about these questions, I believe you’ll begin to carve out an idea for what it takes to protect those values, and ultimately define your peace enough to get to a place where you can protect that peace. 

I think, too, that saying no to these peace-draining opportunities only leaves room for us to say YES to future opportunities that really do fill up our cups and add value to our businesses and lives. I know not everyone’s a believer in the Law of Attraction, which is the theory that like attracts like… but I’m fully on board with it and have actually felt and SEEN its power in my own life.

Hear me out… when you are saying NO to opportunities that drain you, don’t excite you, stress you out, or leave you feeling depleted, you’re creating a standard for yourself to only allow the empowering and uplifting opportunities into your space. If like attracts like, then saying no to the wrong things communicates that you don’t want to attract any more opportunities like that… leaving more room for the right opportunities to present themselves to you.

In the Mood to Optimize

We want to throw gasoline on the already lit fire, so to speak. I’m taking a list of all the things we’ve done in recent years and looking not just at the numbers results but assessing how much time and energy it took to pull off.

If something didn’t work or wasn’t worth the outcome, I’m ditching it. If it moved the needle and was exciting to do, then I can bring it into my decision-making sphere where I THEN ask myself if it brings me enough peace to continue pursuing this year, too.

I bet there’s a project or a task that comes to mind even now, up to a year later, that didn’t feel special and purpose-driven or even remotely close to something you’d want to repeat again — not even the pay made it worth it. 

So often I go back to a method that helps me really process and understand what I’m thinking and feeling, and I’ll recommend it here, too — Open up a journal or a Google Doc and reflect back to your biggest projects of the past year. Just do a brain dump of all the things you did, what you worked on, what you created, launched, proposed, or refined. 

Take some time to honestly assess and review: What worked, what didn’t, and how did you FEEL about them? Now, my team actually likes to do this immediately following a launch, because we’ve gleaned so much insight about how these major pushes actually *felt* versus just what they did for our bottom line.

We spend a day just pouring our feedback in and looking at it from all angles, not just the numbers angle. It’s a beautiful way to review and a lot of times as entrepreneurs we’re on to the next thing so fast, we don’t really pause to ask ourselves: how did that feel? Do I want to do it again? Was it worth it? 

When the same opportunity or launch comes around again in the next year, we look back at that document and remember little things that we didn’t like about the process, and we’re careful not to incorporate those things again.

Reflecting on these things immediately after is ideal, but if you haven’t all hope isn’t lost. Even taking time to empty your brain of the thoughts and feelings surrounding your biggest projects of 2020 now can give you a clearer picture of what you should be focusing on in the upcoming year. Take a little inventory, schedule some time to look at the results and assess based on time, energy, and income! 

The Big Picture

I’m realizing more than ever really that so much of this next year isn’t in our control and so I want to focus on the things we CAN control. Ways to work smarter and not harder, being sure to focus in on the pursuit of peace and simplicity, and knowing that we may need to adjust work to reflect and fit our family first.

Setting up our goals and measuring my success this way feels so… freeing. It’s not my usual go-big-or-go-home mentality that I’ve sometimes let slip into autopilot. It’s not going for the most ambitious, audacious goals. It’s not about bigger being better or pursuing more, it’s about pursuing the RIGHT things for me right now and I hope that’s possible for you, too. 

It feels GOOD to allow my gut intuition to be in the driver’s seat a bit more this year, and to let the right opportunities present themselves as they’re meant to. I think this new way of protecting my peace within my business decisions will only reap more goodness and more peace in the long run, for myself, for my family, for my team, and for my audience, students, and followers.


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