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Nine Categories for Goal Setting: How to Effectively Set and Achieve your Goals

Dr. Nell January 18, 2021

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Goal setting seems like the thing to do around New Years, but we often fall off by February without a sound strategy. Did you have that planner that you thought would be a game changer? Or a new project management system that doesn’t integrate well with your practice management system? In this blog I share how I did my 2021 goals, and what tools and best practices I love for sticking to the plan.

A mentor of mine once showed me nine categories for goal setting, which really blew me away. Previously, I was operating around business and personal as my two categories. I don’t think I would have been able to come up with nine categories without her list, which I’m going to share with you today and explain how to make this actionable and simple. 

The following categories will have some overlap and can be left to interpretation, but the idea is to make sure you have something in each and every category. Start with annual goals in each category. What do you want to have accomplished at the end of the year? You can make it as simple or detailed as feels good to you, but just start with the year’s goals. We’ll break it down later. 

Nine Categories for Goal Setting: 

Success: This should be a simple definition of what success would look like for reaching your goals. Is it accomplishing them? Is it accomplishing most but learning from each one? Is it that you’re going to make sure to check in with them everyday? Your definition of success is yours to own, but reaching that definition is in and of itself a goal.

Love and Relationships: Are you cultivating a current relationship? Wanting to meet someone new? Wanting to commit to a weekly date night with your partner? This is the section to commit  to what you want in love and relationships.

Health: As a integrative practitioner, I know this one could go on forever. We have so many intricacies and ways we can focus on physical, mental and emotional health. But what tangible things do you want to see in 2021? 

Family and Children: Do you want a family? Do you have a family? Are you trying to grow a family? Maybe you want to find more creative ways to connect with family from a distance.

Self and Spirituality: Perhaps you are looking to improve self care practices, or start a new practice for your own growth.

Knowledge and Education: This is where you can have fun searching for the most interesting continuing education, or dedicate yourself to daily reading as part of your wind down routine. 

Wealth and Prosperity: What are your financial goals? What goals do you have to improve your financial literacy or expand your possibilities for future growth?

Career and Business: Financial goals for your business can go here too. But are you looking to hire someone? Maybe you’re looking to have a certain amount of patient visits per week or create a new arm for your business.

Travel and Friends: Where do you want to travel? Is it feasible with the current travel conditions? Perhaps you want to investigate new local locations or connect with friends outdoors. 

How can you now make this actionable?

After you’ve laid out your annual goals for each category, you’re going to break down each section and do it for the first quarter. You’ll want to look at each goal within the category and say to yourself, “What could I do in quarter one that would put me in a better position than I am now to reach this annual goal?”

An example: I have a goal of having 2 continuing education courses for NCCAOM by the end of the year. So, my first quarter goal is to pick the course topics. I don’t have to have them submitted yet or market them yet, but I at least need to determine the topics. 

Once you do your quarterly, you do the upcoming month. Base the monthly goals on your quarterly. Go through each category and for each quarterly goal, pick action(s) to accomplish in month one of three that will put you in a better position to reach that goal at the end of the quarter. 

Remember that it’s easier to build your way into things, so if I have a goal of making 30,000 in quarter one, that does not mean I need to make 10,000 in January. You could make 7,000 in January, then 9,500 in February and 13,500 in March. Part of making goals and continuing to make goals happen is making them attainable. You build confidence when you succeed in a goal. So as you’re going through this, definitely push yourself, but don’t set yourself up for failure with goals that you don’t have a plan for attaining. 

Have you done your monthly goals? Great, I bet you know what’s next. Weekly! Same system. Look at each goal for the month and then determine what steps are necessary for accomplishing those goals. You can then plan out on a calendar your due dates for each task. 

Reading this, it may seem tedious, but it’s more front heavy work. Once you have your structure, you can do a weekly and daily check in to stay on tack. I have a big picture with deadlines on a monthly calendar which helps guide each week. Many unexpected things will come up each week and definitely each day, so you want to plan for that. The more you can anticipate, the easier it will be to make time for the things that pop up. 

Have some success stories using this method? Would love to hear from you!


Dr. Nell

Empowering listeners with information to enhance their own personal and social awareness in the vital areas of: recovery, lifestyle and true optimization of human performance. Dr. Nell is a Licensed Acupuncturist and the founder of PIQUE Health, a private practice in Beverly Hills.

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