Goals: Mapping out what’s next with a lot of determination and a little fun

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It’s that time of year full of endings and beginnings. It’s also a great time to take stock of your “wake,” or what’s behind you or what you’ve accomplished, as well as what lies ahead. Toward that end, I thought it might be a fun and worthwhile exercise to proactively write down goals for the coming year on three dimensions.

  1. Personal will give you a sense of what you want to do for yourself and those you love outside of your work life.

  2. Professional can provide clarity on what you want to achieve for yourself over the year ahead

  3. Team can help you reflect on your place in the broader ecosystem and what your objectives might be for the growing and evolving group that you’re a part of at work.

At an executive team off-site a few months ago, my company’s CEO did this at the close of our meetings and I thought it was so interesting for me individually and for the group dynamic, so I just did the exercise again with my team at our recent off-site last week in London. Many remarked on how simple yet powerful the process was and how it forced a level of introspection and planning that wouldn’t have otherwise happened. What was really cool was that we printed out everyone’s slide and used the collection to “wallpaper” the conference room we inhabited for two days. During breaks, everyone took time to review the Goals! others had created and compared them to their own.

I loved how the exercise really helped us get to know each other in compelling ways even though it existed in the background of our meeting and we never formally discussed them. The content sparked interesting one-off conversations during breaks and meals that contributed to the overall mood and collaboration level at the event. Plus, it served as sort of a gift to ourselves and the group as we packaged them up as a single document that was made available to everyone on the team as a takeaway.

I mention it in case it’s something you might want to do on your own or with your team. We’ve created a worksheet you might use that features my write-up as well as a blank template. If you do end up pursuing the process as we head into 2019, I hope you’ll let us know how it goes!


About Christina


Christina Van Houten is the founder of Women at Work. Based in Boston with her husband and two teenage sons, she has spent the last 20 years of her career as a senior executive in the enterprise technology sector. Prior to evolving into tech, Christina founded a women's athletic apparel brand and served in several public interest roles focused on community and economic development. She started working at age thirteen and hasn't stopped since. She’s eager to help women find their way to the best possible life they can achieve.