8 Steps to STAR Goal Setting For The New Year

If you’re looking for a new way to create goals, why not consider STAR goal setting?

Like all goal-setting methods, the STAR goal-setting method is intended to provide an easy framework for setting goals. This is important because you want your goals to be clear enough to execute and accomplish.

So in this post, I’ll break down the steps for setting star goals and provide some examples of goals that you can adopt this year.

What is the STAR method of goal setting?

STAR goal method is a simple framework for developing goals. It simply stands for having goals that are:

  1. Specific – Clearly state what you want to achieve
  2. Timely – Assign a specific date and time frame for when you want to reach your goal
  3. Action Oriented – Identify clear action steps that you’ll take to reach your goals
  4. Realistic – Ensure that you have realistic goals that you can actually accomplish within your specified timeframe and with your action steps

Following this simple framework for setting your goals ensures that you are clear on:

  • What you want to achieve
  • When you want to achieve it
  • The steps you’ll take to reach your goal
  • That attaining your goal is actually possible

What is the difference between START and SMART goals?

It’s likely that you’ve heard of SMART goal setting before. There are several variations of the SMART framework; however, the most widely recognized is:

  • Specific – Are clearly defined so you know exactly what you want to accomplish
  • Measurable – Can be quantified so that you can measure if they’ve been achieved
  • Achievable – Something that can be realistically achieved
  • Relevant – Align with your overall vision for your life or finances to ensure that it’s a meaningful goal
  • Time-bound – Have a target date for when you want to accomplish your goals

As you can see, the STAR method and the SMART acronym are very similar. And, depending on which variation of the SMART goal method you adopt, the only difference will be the aspect having measurable goals.

Either way, both are very easy frameworks to adopt for setting your goals. You’ll be able to clearly define your goals with either one. Using these methods, you’ll go from having a vague goal to a specific goal that you can work to accomplish.

8 Steps to Setting STAR Goals For The Upcoming Year

Now that you know the framework for setting STAR goals, let’s dive into the steps for goal setting. Following these steps will ensure that you have attainable goals for every area of your life.

1. Visualize what you want your life to look like

Ultimately, goals are just smaller milestones to actually creating the life that you desire for yourself. So it’s extremely important that you determine what you want out of life.

What is your vision of success?

Your vision should be based on your core values and past experiences that shape how you want your future to look.

By letting your vision shape your goals, it gives meaning to them and makes reaching them worthwhile. Once you know what you’re working toward, you’ll be more likely to actually take the steps necessary to achieve it.

A great way to do this is to create a vision board of what you want your life to look like. It doesn’t just have to include material things, but also words that express how you want to feel, places you want to visit, and relationships that you want to have.

Once you have the overall vision or big picture, you can determine the milestones (or goals) you need to reach and action plan to make it a reality.

2. Break your vision down into categories

If visualizing what you want your life to look like seems a bit to vague, the next step is to look at each area of your life individually. So consider creating goals for the following areas of your life:

  • Financial
  • Physical
  • Spiritual
  • Emotional
  • Relational
  • Educational
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Professional
  • Recreational

Together, the categories cover almost every aspect of life. Next, you’ll identify personal goals that fall under each.

3. Write down your goals using the STAR framework

Under each of the above categories, list no more than 3 goals that you want to accomplish for the year using the star goal-setting framework.

Keeping your list to 3 goals ensures aren’t trying to do too much at one time. Divided focus will slow down progress.

Although there are 9 categories, you don’t need three goals in each. More importantly, you don’t have to work on them all at once. Consider starting a new goal only after another one is accomplished.

4. Schedule daily action items for your goals on your calendar

If you want to accomplish your goals, you’ll need to plan for them. This means going a step beyond just writing your goals down. You actually need to prioritize them.

The best way to do this is to put them on your calendar. Putting daily action items on your calendar will remind you to actually complete the tasks necessary to reach your goals.

Because you’ve already identified the actions necessary to reach your goals using the STAR framework, simply add these actions to whatever calendar you use. You may also use daily task lists to support you in making sure these items get done.

Efficient time management is key to achieving your goals faster. You can use a combination of tools like calendars, to-do lists, or time-tracking apps to help you manage your time to complete your daily actions.

Use all of your available resources to make sure you’re doing the work to reach your goals.

5. Define your milestones

As you work toward your goals, there will be milestones to hit along the way. For example, before you lose 20 pounds, you’ll first lose five. That is a milestone.

Milestones are important to track because they help you see your progress. In other words, they are what you’d call key performance indicators (KPIs). Hitting these milestones within specific time constraints will reveal if you are making progress toward the finish line or not.

If you find that you’re not hitting your milestones, it can be an indication that you’re taking the wrong approach and need to reevaluate. 

Once you know what those milestones are, be sure to track your progress toward them. One good way to do this is to use a goal-tracking coloring sheet that you color in as you get closer to your final goal.

6. Create systems to stay on track

Successfully reaching your goals will require that you have systems in place to stay on track. In simple terms, a system is merely a process by which things get done.

Now, this doesn’t have to be any complicated.

An example of a system that you can use is setting out your workout clothes the night before so that you can easily prepare to exercise in the morning. Or meal prepping so that you don’t have to worry about finding healthy meals each day. It can even be using an app to track your spending so that you stay within your budget.

Create systems that make working toward your goals easier and actually fun to do.

7. Find an accountability partner

Having an accountability partner can help you stick to your goals and get them accomplished. This is particularly true if you struggle with being disciplined or self-motivated.

Accountability partners help you stay motivated, challenge you to reach higher, and, more importantly, hold you accountable for the goals that you’ve set.

This is a vital part of setting your goals because once you’ve committed them to someone else, you’ll feel obligated to fulfill your word.

If you want to ensure that you work toward your goals and would like the support of someone else, make this the next step in your goal-setting process. This can be one person or a small group of people whom you share your goals with to hold you accountable.

8. Find ways to celebrate your progress

Celebrating the completion of your goals is an important part of the process as well. You want to acknowledge the work that you’ve done. You also want to recognize the fact that you’ve accomplished what you intended to.

As you are setting your goals, make a note of how you plan to celebrate once you’ve met certain milestones. For instance, if you hit a milestone of losing 10 lbs, perhaps you’ll go buy a new outfit.

Everyone’s motivation will be different. Nonetheless, find a celebration worth working for to further incentivize you to take action!

15+ Star Goal-Setting Examples

If you need some inspiration for goals that you can set for yourself, here are some star goals examples that you can adopt.

Although these are all good ideas of goals that you can adopt for yourself, remember that it’s just the beginning. Use them as inspiration as you create your own.

Financial goals

  1. Save $1,000 for an emergency fund by December 31st by transferring $40 into savings every two weeks.
  2. Save $5,000 for vacation over the next 9 months by transferring $556 on the 1st of each month into the vacation sink fund account.

I recommend checking out our financial goals blog post for more ideas.

Physical goals

  1. Run a 5K in under 30 minutes by December 31 by training every day.
  2. Drop 2 dress sizes in the next 3 months by doing 30 mins of cardio 5 days a week and following a balanced meal plan.

Spiritual goals

  1. Read the bible for 30 minutes each day for a year.
  2. Pray each morning and night.

Emotional goals

  1. Spend 1 hour per week doing self-care activities for the next 12 weeks.
  2. Complete a 7-day mental detox over the next 30 days.

Relational goals

  1. Have 2 date nights by the end of each month with my spouse.
  2. Spend 1hr with each child individually each week.

Educational goals

  1. Read/listen to 12 books on personal development and non-fiction by December 31st.
  2. Take 4 online professional development trainings related to my career or business by December 31st.

Entrepreneurial/business goals

  1. Start a new side hustle in the next 30 days to create an additional $1,000 per month in income.
  2. Join the local chamber of commerce by May 30th.

Professional/career goals

  1. Attend two in-personal professional conferences by September 30.
  2. Hire a career coach to help with salary negotiations and career change within the next 60 days.
  3. Learn one new career-related skill within the next 3 months to increase my marketability.

Recreational goals

  1. Book a vacation to Bali within the next 18 months using money saved in the travel sinking fund.
  2. Go sky diving on my 35th birthday.

Ready to use STAR goal setting?

Whether you’re creating long-term goals or short-term goals, using this method is effective in helping you create different types of goals.

At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to create the life that you desire. A great place to start is by making sure that you have goals that align with your vision.

Fo Alexander

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