How to Set Your 2019 Goals And Wildly Increase Your Chances of Success

At FounderForward, we are big believers in goal-setting.  Go figure! We are coaches. 

The good news is that most of our clients are too… when it comes to their businesses.  Indeed, most founders and executives put a great deal of time and effort into creating Objectives and Key Results (“OKRs”) for the New Year.  

But when it comes to self-examination and setting goals for personal growth – most fall short.  We totally get it.  The end of the year is very busy and you don’t have time.  Well, we say  “make the time.”  As a leader, it is your job is to scale yourself alongside your business.  

“Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development”   
— Jim Rohn

Over the years, we have developed a 4-step process for goal-setting that we have found to be quite successful.  We are sharing here in hopes it may serve as a way to facilitate your own goal-setting process and increase your likelihood of success.

STEP 1: Get to the heart of the goal

Heading into the New Year, most people make a list that is predominately activity and habit-based.  

  • Be more productive at work by doing x, y and z

  • Workout 3x a week

  • Cut down social media use by X

  • Make it home 2 nights/week for dinner with family

True goal-setting goes deeper than simply listing the things you want to “do” in the New Year.   When it comes to your big, bold goals, it’s more about who you want to “be.”

Start by asking yourself why you want to commit to an action to help uncover the bigger goal.  

Other questions to answer to tee yourself up for success are: 

  • Why is this goal important to me?

  • What are my current strengths in regards to this goal?

  • What barriers or hurdles (internal and external) might I face?

  • What help / resources might I need? 

STEP 2: Create a plan

Once you have carefully thought through these questions, you can then move into “doing mode” by establishing what actions you can take to achieve your goal.  Make sure to think comprehensively about the mindset, behaviors and skillset required for success.  

Once you know what actions you will take, you will need to commit to a frequency and/or completion date. These are important, as you need milestones to measure progress and keep you on track.

Lastly, don’t forget to decide how you will reward yourself when you accomplish your goal.

Below is the template we use ourselves and with our clients. 

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“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

—  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

STEP 3: Visualize success

Upon completing your development plan, we suggest doing some visualization work.  For those of you thinking this is hokey stuff, it is not. There is actually a good deal of scientific research substantiating visualization as a tool for improving your chances of success.  Besides, we are simply suggesting that you close your eyes and visualize what achieving a specific goal looks like.  From that place, tap into what that success feels like and sit with it for a minute or two.  Revisit this exercise often - particularly in challenging times as it can serve as a powerful re-motivator.

STEP 4: Create accountability

It is crucial to be able to monitor and manage your progress.  One of the best ways to do this for big goals is to break them down into quarterly and/or monthly chunks.  Beyond that, develop a system (spreadsheet, calendar, app, whatever) for tracking completion of your actions and micro-achievements. We also suggest finding an accountability partner (a friend, colleague or coach), as studies have shown that when you share your goals with others, you are twice as likely to achieve them than if you keep the goals to yourself.

May all your goals become a reality in 2019!


For an amazing framework for year-end reflection (it is never too late), read our friend Steve Schlafman’s amazing post, How to Conduct an Annual Life Review That Will Catapult You Into The New Year.


Do have big plans to take yourself to the next level in 2019?

Join our first online Masterclass February 12th.