The Two Questions You Must Ask In Setting Goals That Really Matter


by Brent Haydey



To make a real difference in the year ahead approach setting goals by beginning with these two absolutely vital questions.

  1. What keeps me awake night after night?
  2. What am I most excited about creating in the year ahead?

They can apply to you business, your career, you health, or any important aspects of your life. 

Setting Goals

One speaks to what is holding you back and getting in your way from what you really want while the other speaks to exactly what you want. One looks backward while the other looks forward. Answer each question from a big picture perspective and then create an action plan to address it over the course of the year. 

Just imagine what your business and your life will look like when you address each one through the year. Imagine the filter down impact it will have on EVERYTHING!

Setting goals like these focuses on important changes rather than urgent matters. These goals will lead to exponential growth in business and life altering changes beyond it. Unfortunately these are also the things that often get bumped by urgencies when things get “busy”.

Setting goals by asking what keeps me awake night after night

You know that one thing that tends to cause the most stress and the most overwhelm that leads to you lying awake at night wishing it would just go away and be done with forever? It could be in your business, at home, or somewhere else in your world. It could be a system or process that is causing the problem or it could be a person.

For a client of mine it was a poor financial management system for his business. His company was bleeding cash as a result. Invoices weren’t getting sent, some not getting paid, clients were confused, employees frustrated, and he was stressed having to constantly deal with it all. Upon delving deeper into it he also discovered that one particular staff member was dropping the ball furthering his stress and his time involvement to deal with it. It was impacting his work and he was carrying the stress home too. Not good!

Change had to happen.

In setting goals, commit to fully addressing your key issue this year. It won’t necessarily be easy but, once again, imagine the energy that will return that currently is drained from you each and every time this issue comes up. Imagine being able to refocus your time and energy towards something that actually matters. It’s that important.

For my client there were tough decisions to be made. His workload actually increased as he began to make changes. But over time he got the right system in place and he got the right people in place. Financial efficiency is up, cash flow is up, his clients are happier, his team is happier, and he felt like a massive weight has been lifted from his shoulders.

Now if you came up with more than one thing that keeps you awake and causes stress then you’ll need to prioritize them. Trying to address them all at once will probably add even more stress and overwhelm. 

As that first priority is coming under control or is addressed completely get going on priority #2. Remember you’re in it for the long game. Even if goal #1 is the only one you address, like my client, it just might be the difference maker for you this year.

Setting goals by asking what am I most excited about creating in the year ahead

Think about that one thing you’ve been super amped up about starting but have not been able to find the time, energy or focus to make any real progress on it. That one thing that continually gets put on the back burner because you have been overwhelmed with everything else. That one thing that, when it gets launched or significant progress is made or you get to fully experience it, will take your business or your life into a whole new level.

How often is setting goals such as this just beyond reach because of some fear, some excuse, or simply because of a powerless belief that it just cannot be?

Two years ago I asked this question of my family. We dreamed a number of dreams and I knew the process of setting goals would be the essential first step in having them come true. My daughter was now old enough so that we could plan a family adventure vacation that was much more to our style than some of the ones we felt we could do when she was younger.

Our goal was to spend the summer exploring Thailand planning a flight in to Phuket and one out of Bangkok with very little set in between. We did our research on places we wanted to visit and things we wanted to do. But we wanted to really go with the flow and share the experience of figuring it out on the go with our daughter.

We had a life altering experience in many ways but it wasn’t as simple as booking flights and scheduling time off. It had to start with the dream and setting goals. Then the action planning to make it all happen came. Not always easy considering the impact it would have on my wife’s job, my business, and each of our families too.

In the end if the goal is clear and the why is strong enough and there is enough of the right support available amazing things will happen.

So what is it in your life or in your business that you really want to create this year. Just like the last section on keeping you awake at night if you have more than one goal you’ll need to prioritize. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Now you might be thinking “what about the rest of the goals”? In typical business goal setting you might do a much more specific process of setting goals that drill down into a number of very measurable metrics that you want to achieve. Sure, go ahead and do that too but this process that I outlined ought to come first.

Start with the big picture, important but not urgent things. When you create change on that front you will open up energy, focus, and time for achieving all of the other metrics you set for your business.

When you create this level of change you will remove barriers to living with the work life balance you desire fully embracing life while you continue to achieve at a high level at work.

Success, your definition of success, will be yours!

Go for it! Setting goals that matter and achieving them this year can change your world.

Feeling stuck on how to then achieve your lofty goals? Check out my related post… How To Achieve Goals And Create Real Change In Business And Life!

Feel like you need even more support. Contact me today. I’d love to explore how I can help.


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About the Author

Brent Haydey Profile PhotoBeginning with a degree in exercise science and kinesiology, Brent Haydey has evolved over thirty years as an entrepreneur; building four businesses, and as a health, executive, and life coach.
Learn more about Brent >

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