Re-thinking time: How to set goals and commit to them.

Has your 2021 gone to plan so far?

For most of us, by March-April time, our New Year’s Resolutions are a distant memory. We all like to set personal and professional goals in January but sticking to them all year is very challenging for many. ThinkTank had the pleasure of chatting to Kieran Flanagan about how to get really focused on what you want and ensure we schedule time to make it happen.

Kieran is a behaviour expert, author, and thought leader and she has given us insight into how to create systems to keep us motivated. If you have already lost track of your goals or you want to change focus, we don’t need to wait until a new year rolls around to make a fresh start.  To help us reset, at any point of the year, it is important to think about what you are currently disappointed with and understand that what has happened in the past does not predict what will happen ongoing if you don’t want it to. Here is Kieran’s four-step guide to goal-setting and planning:


Start by writing down your goals in these 4 key areas, Kieran has called them the ‘Core Four’ because they help us narrow our focus on the fundamentals. These goals can be as big or as little as you want, and she has provided some questions to get you started.

  1. FOCUS

The next step is to get very clear about what you want. Look through your goals and see if there is a common thread running through them. Ask yourself, is there an overarching theme that you want to achieve or strive for? Once you have this focal point you then think of 1 to 5 words that sum up your aim. For example, “Fit, Fab and Forty”, “Lush, Loved, Lucid”, “Now not never”, or “The Year of Yes”.

Summarising your goals into a short phrase can help keep it top of mind long after you have written them, especially if you are looking at that word/phrase daily.

  1. HUMAN

Often, we are harder on ourselves than anyone else, and our inner critic can be very judgmental when we don’t keep up with our desired habits. We sometimes think something is wrong with us for not being able to stick to an exercise plan or study schedule, but Kieran says we must practice more self-compassion and remember that we are not broken. Kieran reminds us that we are all human and to think of ourselves as perfectly imperfect, we just need to set up systems for success. If we set up processes that make it easier to achieve our goals they are more likely to last. For example, if you have a goal to exercise every morning you could try putting out your gym clothes the night before or even wearing your active gear to bed so you have no excuse. Or you could take some tasty fruit and nuts to work to avoid the afternoon chocolate craving. Find the daily habits that trigger behavioural change.


If you think about focusing time once a week to achieve your goals there are only 52 times you can make a difference in one year.

Kieran suggests breaking your time out into weeks and ideally putting your full-year onto one page so you can see it all. It doesn’t need to start in January and finish in December, but it’s great to see the full 12 months to plan. Start by putting down all the immovable things on the calendar such as holidays, work commitments, study, etc. Then see what time you have left to fill with the things you want to do. Plot in time to do your desired activities, i.e. write a book, go on a course, go to networking events.

Now that you have your focus, strategies, and plan you are ready to make an impact.

We are so excited to hear Kieran in person at our Corporate PA Summit in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland this year, where she will be delivering a Mindset Masterclass and sharing tools and solutions for mental agility. In the meantime, if you would like to hear more from Kieran you can follow her here: @thinkkieranf

ThinkTank specialise in delivering inspiration and ideas to help you reach the top of your career and stay there. Check out our Corporate PA Summit Calendar.

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