How Successful People Set Goals For The Year Ahead

Well, it’s that time of year again. Although the silly season is in full swing, the yearly task of goal setting looms right behind it. Ensuring you have goals in place for the year ahead can determine how well you will (or won’t) succeed, so there’s no better time than now start planning for 2017.

It’s important to stress that “success” is personal. What it means to you might be very different to what it means to the person sitting next to you on the train. So our baseline reminder is this: always set your own goals, ones that are yours alone and yours to smash.

To make the task easier, we spoke to three millennials who have goal setting (and goal crushing) down to a fine art.

Cassie Lalieu

As the COO of UBlanacer, Cassie is in the business of setting goals. She works with a team of NeuroLeadership Coaches around Australia who are trained to apply neuroscience to help clients with leadership and purposeful goal setting. Although she operates in a high-tech world and a business supported by technology, Cassie likes to use the low-tech option when goal setting.


Photo: Cassie Lalieu/supplied

“I find that when I’m writing with a pen and paper I get into my creative flow and I can really let my brain connect to what I’m trying to achieve. I spend so much time on my laptop for work it’s nice to make the goal setting a different experience from my usual day to day work. It becomes a little more meaningful. Then, once I have set my goals, I like to type them in a clear, concise way which makes them feel more official.”

Cassie’s key goal setting tips are…

  • Give your goals a name: Take ownership of your goals by giving them a name that means something to you. Make it something fun, creative and playful that will inspire you and not make you dread the work that has to go into it.
  • Recheck your goals before bed: Have your goals printed out next to your bed and check them before you go to sleep. There’s something magical about reading your goals just before you go to sleep, because your brain then processes the information in your subconscious and you wake up ready to achieve them the next day.
  • Celebrate the wins, no matter how small: What’s the point of achieving a goal and not acknowledging yourself for achieving it? Be clear about what your reward will be up front when setting your goals, it will motivate you and keep you accountable.

Ben Wong

As CEO of Academy Xi, a growing business which offers classes and bootcamps in areas such as UX design and virtual reality, Ben has a lot responsibilities. To stay one step ahead, his goal setting takes place early so he hits the ground running in the new year.


Photo: Ben Wong/supplied

“I create my yearly targets in December, which allows me to start the year prepared on how I’m going to tackle them and what foundations need to be set to make it happen. Goal setting needs serious focus so I tend to do this at home with a glass of red wine in hand and headphones in, sitting on my lounge so I am free of all other distractions.” 

Ben’s key goal setting tips are…

  • Stage your financial goals: When it comes to finances, setting three levels of goals means you can plan for multiple situations. By setting conservative, base and stretch targets you are able to be ambitious with what you want to achieve while also not being completely unrealistic.
  • Break your goals down: Long term goals are important but can feel hard to achieve if you don’t know where to start. This is why breaking them down can make them feel more achievable and less intimidating. You can do this by seperating yearly goals down into quarters and quarters down into months and months into weeks. Knowing what smaller task you need to do each week seems easier to achieve than a big, audacious yearly goal.
  • Don’t forget about yourself: Make sure you include goals that relate to improving yourself and your personal life, not just those that relate to your career or business. These can be categorised into areas such as leisure, fitness and mindfulness so you’re ensuring your wellbeing is a top priority while planning for the year head.

Renee Flugge

A Brisbane export now living in the Big Apple, Renee Flugge is a prop stylist for some of the biggest names in the business and has a portfolio that boasts clients like Vanity Fair, Maybelline, Smash Box Cosmetics and Kelloggs. In an industry that’s highly competitive and fast paced, Renee sets goals each year to ensure she is challenging herself creatively while also taking care of herself.


Photo: Renne Flugge/supplied

“I don’t have a nine-to-five job and I work for myself so it’s hard to stick to a routine. I keep my goals simple by dividing them into three themes: work, inspiration and recharging. New York is exciting but it can be a hectic place to work while balancing a crazy schedule and long hours. Taking time away from work to rest after the busy season is crucial for me to avoid burnout. To do this I make sure I set my ‘recharge’ goal as spending a couple of weeks back home in Australia every year, along with a trip somewhere new that I have never been before.”

Renee’s key goal setting tips are…

  • Work on personal projects: Make sure you set a goal each year to work on a number of your own projects. Carving out time to work on passion projects isn’t only fun, it also improves your portfolio and demonstrates initiative. Your personal style and ideas are always reflected in your work and it’s what sets you apart from other people in your industry.
  • Book holidays in advance: As a freelancer it is easy to book yourself up as much as possible and before you know it, you’ve got no time to take a break. Make sure you book and pay for holidays in advance so you don’t keep putting it off. Try and go somewhere different each year so you’re enjoying new cultural experiences. It does wonders for your creative work too.
  • Create an inspiration board: This can be as simple as an album of photos on your smartphone or an old school pinboard on your wall. Pin or save photos of anything and everything you want to achieve like the logos of your dream clients, the cover of a magazine you want to be published in or a photo of a destination that’s on your travel bucket list. Visuals are an effective way of bringing your goals to life and having it somewhere readily available means you can constantly remind yourself to stay on track.

Hannah Lewis is a corporate manager by day and freelance writer by night. Her work has appeared on websites like Virgin Australia, AWOL and Broadsheet as well as her own travel blog, Tales and Trails. You can follow her adventures and admire cute photos of her dog Marvin at @talesandtrails_.