My 2016 quarterly goals

IMG_0075It’s that time of year again! In 2015, I started setting quarterly goals, rather than New Year’s resolutions. To be sure, I have some year-long resolutions for doing things like eating vegetables. But setting quarterly goals allows me to focus on one big thing at a time. I know there are other things I intend to do during the year, and there will be a time for those things, but now is not that time. In any case, here are the quarterly goals:

Q1- career: come up with my next non-fiction book idea
relationships: host a massive party for my daughter’s preschool mothers in March (already in the works)
self: be able to complete the 18-minute treadmill workout I clipped from Oxygen magazine

Q2 – career: revise the NaNoWriMo novel I wrote in November 2015 (and an earlier version in 2014)
relationships: have a really good time at my 15 yr/reunion
self: run 10 miles at 10 min/mile

Q3 – career: write a short collection of sonnets
relationships: an extended-family beach trip in late July
self: I’ll be going to Paris in September, and plan to do some great exploring

Q4 – career: meet speaking income goals for year, plus 50% booked for 2017
relationships: do one fun holiday thing one-on-one with each kid
self: learn to play Linus and Lucy on the piano

If you’re setting quarterly goals, I’d love to hear a few of them.

Photo: We stopped at Dairy Queen on the trip back from Indiana on Friday. Any “eat healthier” resolutions had to wait until January 2!


21 thoughts on “My 2016 quarterly goals

  1. I really only have small daily/weekly goals right now, but this is a great idea! I think I will set quarterly goals for travel, since that tends to be the first thing to fall by the wayside when we get busy. Thanks for sharing!

    1. @GirlFriday- I love the idea of quarterly travel goals. I do have some other trips I didn’t list coming up. SXSW will put me in Austin in March and I bet it will be beautiful. We’d also like to do something for spring break, and the last week of summer. It could be a full year!

    1. @Alex- that’s not why I’m going, but I’d totally be up for doing something if we could create a good opportunity. Feel free to email me if you have ideas! (lvanderkam at yahoo dot com).

  2. I’m following your lead, Laura, and setting quarterly goals.
    Q1 Work: Develop a business plan for 2016 (aiming to have this done in January). Sell 30 seats for Camp Ignite, a 3 day summer camp style retreat for women who are changing the world.
    Personal: KonMari house. Exercise 150 mins per week, minimum.

    So far, I’m really enjoying the motivation that comes with quarterly goals, which seem so much more doable than yearly goals. I worked a few hours each day this long weekend, and am about 1/4 of the way through my business plan and have KonMari’d three rooms of my house, out of 7. It’s already feeling lighter and more expansive, and I’ve taken 3 huge boxes of donations to the Salvation Army!

    Feel like updating us on your Q1 goals at the end of March? That would help me stay accountable, and I’d love to hear whether or not yours change. And I can’t wait to hear your next book idea!

    1. @Maggie- of course I’ll update! Happy to do that. Although if I figure out the non-fiction book idea everyone will be hearing about it 🙂 And nice work on the business plan – this is the first year I’ve really set targets for certain areas of business and I find it does have a real focusing effect.

  3. These are great, I’ve made yearly objectives and my goals for January

    This quarter:
    Work: 3 chapters drafted, 1 conference paper
    Relationships: Book holiday for the summer, participate in local walking group (husband and I realised we needed a bit of a hobby)
    Self: Try aerial yoga, start tracking cycles in preparation for baby-making

      1. I know, I’m very excited. It’s not overly far off the ground but is supposed to be great for your balance and joints.

  4. I love seeing these. Any reason you chose the 3 categories: career, relationships, self? I like the structure a lot.

    I’m also surprised to find that you plan all your quarterly goals in advance for the year.

    I wrote up mine here:

    But I’ve only planned Q1, though I have two long term projects for the year – to get some form of exercise for at least 20 min daily (gotta start somewhere) and to take, edit and share a photo a day with my DSLR camera so I can actively practice my photography.

    What I feel somewhat overwhelmed about is focusing on all the other stuff I should be striving for as well – billing x hours per week, eating healthy, making time for art with the girls, cooking at home regularly, etc. I do better with fewer things to focus on but all the other little things are nagging at me too – “but what about us?” …

    1. @ARC – Re the structure, it’s the one I use in most of my books, so it just made sense to me. Some things could go in multiple categories, of course, but those seem to be the big ones. As for the question of how many goals to set, it’s tricky, and I don’t think there’s one right answer. I think if you’re aiming for some big, hard life change (e.g. quitting smoking) you’d be best off throwing all your energy at that, and if anything else happened, awesome. But if they’re more modest and less difficult (eat vegetables at breakfast, get 20 minutes of exercise daily) it’s probably possible to aim for a few at once.

  5. I really like these as well – they are clear and achievable. I also think it’s great that you mapped out the whole year; sometimes I have trouble because something that seemed relevant in January doesn’t feel that way in September. Obviously, for some of these goals you have to work on them all year, but what about the others? Start working early or only in their quarter?

    1. @June – it’s more of a guideline than anything else. Last year I planned to run a half-marathon in Q3, but I felt ready by Q2 and had an option available, so I did it. I guess the mindset is that if you feel like working on something early, great, but you’re not holding yourself to it until the appropriate quarter.

  6. Also like the quarterly goal idea–I usually do yearly goals and I’ve decided to leave a few of those for myself, mostly things that don’t involve a huge change from what I’m already doing and that I’d like to keep up for the whole year. For instance: eat more vegetables, read 3 books/month, spend less time on the phone around my kids, and give my kids less screen time. But I’m trying quarterly goals too now! These are all personal/family goals rather than work goals which I won’t get into here.
    Q1: Finish drafting our wills, learn to cook a few go-to recipes (my husband currently does all the cooking and I need to step up in this area a little but my skills are woefully lacking)
    Q2: Do a week of time-tracking (also inspired by your), work out every day for a month
    Q3: try daily journaling for at least a month, go on a kids-free vacation
    Q4: not sure–I’ll be starting a new job during this quarter so I may not have other specific goals other than getting acclimated there

  7. I’m only aiming to plan six months at a time for now…
    Q1: Career – adjust to new clients added for 2016; Relationships – prepare for meeting baby #5; Self: give birth/recover.
    Q2: Career – return to work while hubby takes paternity leave; Relationships – plan more events with friends; Self: get back to exercise after the all clear from the doc.

  8. wow! everything is sweet and simple! Is it this simple in your mind? I have so many small projects/goals/to dos that overwhelm my mind with how and when they should be done and how many other unexpected things will show up in my to do list. Your plan is so straightforward! I need to learn this skill of simplifying!

  9. I’ve developed something I call a Monthly resolution system. I spent the last year setting monthly goals, and while I didn’t hit all of them, it was encouraging to meet most. More than anything else, it gave me a sense of power over my habits, like caffeine, sugar etc… I love my coffee and I gave it up just for 30 days, to prove I could do it… This set off a chain reaction of hitting other goals that I really wanted to build into a habit, and I ended up getting to a workout at least 30 days in a row (something I haven’t managed to do in 6 years! )

    This year, I intended to do this on a quarterly basis, when I found Laura’s Tedtalk and this website. I am going to re-frame some of my priorities on a quarterly basis and see where it takes me.

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