Will you crush your goals this year?

That’s my plan for sure! We just ended the first quarter of the year, which means it’s time to pause and check in on how we are progressing towards our goals.


This check in will help you evaluate where you’ve achieved success, made some progress, where you may have fallen behind, and where you need to go next quarter to crush your annual goals. Checking in on your goals can ensure a fruitful year.


What are Quarterly Rocks?


You may recall from my post earlier this year, 7 Tips to Make This Your Best Year Ever, that Gino Wickman, author of “Traction”, suggests that we break our annual goals into Quarterly Rocks.


Those Quarterly Rocks are what’s important and what we should focus on for the next 90 days.  If you haven’t read “Traction” yet, I highly recommend you do so!



I have my goals for the year broken down into quarterly, achievable chunks. Personally, I look at my goals at least twice a month. When I am really diligent about achieving my goals, I check in on them weekly.


What I have found is that the more I check in on them, the better I do at achieving them. Having a clear view of my priorities in this way also helps me retain my focus. I’ll share more about this in a minute.


Know Where You’re Going


I’ve mentioned the importance of goals before and why they are integral to your role as an instructional designer, leader of a training team, a consultant, a freelancer, or to anyone chasing success.


Setting goals gives you a very important opportunity to lay out where you’re going and figure out how to get there. Performing your end of quarter goal check in allows you to see if you’re headed in the right direction, or if you need to recalculate a bit.


Besides the practicality of setting goals, goals can also be great motivators. There’s nothing more satisfying than crushing your goals and seeing them crossed off of your list and being able to celebrate your accomplishments.


No matter how small the goal or “rock” that you’ve completed, celebrating meeting those milestones – big and small – is really important. Positivity equals productivity!


Managing Your Goals


To keep my goals in focus and in front of me, I have a goal board in Trello. Trello is the tool I use to project manage all of my client and business projects, but it is also a great place to store my goals. It helps me keep my goals organized by quarter and for the year, and it provides me with visual insight on my progress.


Trello is FREE (always a plus!) and you can easily collaborate with other team members and clients, too.


SMART Goals Trello


PowerPoint, Word, and Excel are also great tools to track your goals. Before I switched to Trello, I used a PowerPoint slide deck, which was housed in a shared folder so anyone on the team could access the department goals. I had the team’s goals and the goals of each individual team member in the slide deck.



Benefits of Sharing Goals


Making the goals visible to anyone on the team provided transparency and accountability for us all. We used the goal deck during our bimonthly meetings to report on our progress towards achieving our team and individual goals as well as discuss any potential barriers to achieving our goals.


Everyone on the team always knew where we stood collectively and individually. There were no surprises.


It’s important to use whatever tool works best for you. The point is to keep your goals front and center so that you can easily review them often to stay on track and achieve your annual goals.


How Often Should You Check in on Your Goals?


As I mentioned above, I prefer to review my goals weekly, but I’ve slipped out of the habit recently. And, unfortunately, when I checked in on my progress a few days ago, I found that I’ve missed many key goals for the quarter. A couple were missed by a long shot.


Why? Because I wasn’t focusing on what’s important. I lost my focus and started chasing squirrels. I distracted myself with things I thought were important but did not move my business forward or towards crushing my annual goals.


Uh oh. Can you say, “fail!”


So, what do I do now? How do I get back on track for next quarter and for 2019? It can feel daunting when you check in on your goals only to find you’re way off course.


Taking a step back at this moment and approaching it the right way can make all the difference. The good news is that I still have plenty of time to get back on track for the year, but it will take a little butt kicking (my own) to get it done.


End of Q1 Check In Steps:


First, which of your goals or “rocks” were completed? Mark these as done.


Second, which goals were missed? You will need to level set every goal that was missed. Assess what went wrong and why. Being honest about any mistakes made during this process can help you get to the root of the problem and help you be more successful next quarter.


Third, ask yourself, “how can I do better?” Take some time to evaluate your goals and your approach to achieving your goals. What can be done differently going forward to move you toward success?


Fourth, rework goals, if necessary. Are the goals still realistic and obtainable? Were the goals too large for the quarter or were the planned too early in the year? Did you set yourself up for failure with unrealistic or unobtainable goals from the start?


Creating SMART Goals


Creating SMART goals is one of the most important steps to take when setting your annual goals and Quarterly Rocks, especially if you want to see results in your next end of quarter goal check in! Check out what makes up a good SMART goal below.






This acronym goes back to 1981 when George T. Doran introduced it in his article discussing the importance of objectives and the difficulty a person can have in setting them.


You can use the SMART method to narrow down objectives into smaller chunks, making them easier to handle and complete within your set time frame.


Corporate environments often use the SMART method, but it really can be applied in all aspects of life. Like in your role as a training leader, instructional designer, eLearning specialist, or consultant.


You can even apply the method to your family, financial, or fitness goals. Even to launching your own business. The principles of success are the same across the board. Remember, work SMARTer not harder!


Put a Curve on Your Optimism


It’s human to err on the side of optimism instead of setting realistic and achievable goals. In fact, researchers have found that the human brain may be biologically hardwired to be optimistic. This is known as Optimism Bias. If you want to learn more about Optimism Bias, you can check out this article on VeryWell Mind.


I am certainly guilty of the Optimism Bias, but knowing my brain is hardwired to underestimate how long it takes to complete projects and the amount of work that goes into achieving a goal does help me curve my optimism.


With time and practice and using SMART goals, however, I will continue to get better at being more realistic in my planning and so can you!


It’s all about failing forward, right?


Keep the Squirrels Away


The other day I had a realization while I was eagerly running through a slew of ideas on things I wanted to do – building some new courses, writing an e-book, bringing in new clients.


All the while, I was wondering how in the world I was going to manage all of these things, and to be honest I was beginning to feel pretty overwhelmed.


Then it hit me – I should only be focusing on the things that are directly related to achieving the goals I had already set for my business. Ding! Ding!


Once I realized this, I immediately felt relief and clarity and was able to refocus myself and begin making some progress. The feeling of relief I experienced was similar to that of when I complete one of my Tidying Up projects using the KonMari method.


With my renewed focus on what’s important, I was able to refocus myself, revise my goals and continue moving forward with all my 2019 plans in a more realistic and achievable way.


Don’t let the goal-completion side track you! By breaking my goals down into smaller “rocks”, being realistic and SMART, and by setting end-of-quarter goal check-ins, it’s definitely easier to head in the right direction!


It’s as simple as rinsing and repeating every quarter to crush your goals in 2019 and every year after!


How’d You Do Q1?


Tell me how your end-of-the-quarter goal check-in went! Did you hit your target goals, or did you miss your mark and have to re-strategize? What helps you stay focused on completing your goals?


Be sure to leave a comment below! I want to hear how your 2019 plan is taking shape and if using any of the strategies discussed has helped you in achieving your goals.


Got Questions?


My Facebook Group is a great place to add your questions and engage with other instructional designers on different topics related to instructional design, so jump on in and join the conversation. 



The Testimonials are In:


Shola Richards

Working with Shanwtay and Katie at the Instructional Design Company was a dream come true. Their creativity, expertise, and professionalism throughout the entire process was beyond top notch. I engaged them to help turn my first book into a training course, and I could not be happier with how the final product turned out. If you have an instructional design project and you’re considering which company to work with, you can stop your search and thank me later. They are truly the best in the business.

Shola Richards


Graphic Designer

I joined the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program because I struggled to find jobs in instructional design beyond the development phase. I’ve done a couple of training programs with lots of random projects, but I was overwhelmed, not connecting the dots, and not good at structuring my writing to hit learning objectives. I was looking for motivation and direction at beginning a better Instructional Designer.

After taking the Instructional Design & Tech Certificate program and joining my fantastic team for support, I found the structure and approach to be what I need to take my next steps, evening improving my skills in the development stage.

Gayle Bower


Teacher, Future Instructional Designer

I love how this course let’s you work at your own pace. I got great tips and learned many things. The ongoing support for multiple people and groups is what I love the best. You are never alone in this process. I have been able to adjust my resume and began creating a portfolio of work I’ve completed to add when applying for jobs. I use many of the PowerPoint skills in my lessons and trainings. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to become an instructional designer.

Laurie Henderson


Teacher, Future Instructional Designer

I have searched for the last few years to find some suitable career change where I wouldn’t have to earn another degree and where I could use the talents and skills I already have as a teacher. When I came across the Instructional Design Accelerator course, I loved the fact that Shawntay was a former teacher and could relate to a teacher’s need to transition from the classroom. This was what sold the course for me. Her experiences are invaluable especially when translating teacher duties to instructional designer duties. I would (and have) recommended this program to other teachers I know who are looking to transition out of the classroom. I do appreciate ALL of her feedback on my projects!

Wendy McMillian


L&D Project Manager

The Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator certificate program is one of the most comprehensive ID programs out there for beginners. If you’re looking to grow your schools in ID and development then I highly recommend this program. Not only will this program give you an overview of theory, but you will receive a thorough walkthrough of how to apply what you have learned. Although I had already secured a position in Learning & Development when I bought this course, it helped me to move up into a new position as a Learning & Development Project Manager!

Gabby Grimaldo


Future Instructional Designer

If you have any interest in ID, sign up for this program NOW! Shawntay and her team are top notch! The course content exceeded my expectations in a big way and the encouragement and support continues to be so valuable. You will not feel alone going through this course, you will learn so much, you’ll have many cheerleaders, and you will have fun!

Shanna Howe


Future Instructional Designer

I am really enjoying this program! It’s prerfect for someone who is thinking about a career shift to Instructional Design and does not have a lot of experience. This is my first real introduction to Instructional Design and it’s been the perfect beginner course to help me get my feet wet. The modules are broken down well and it’s great to go at your own pace and at your own time. The modules themselves are very comprehensive and you learn a lot from all of them. I really like how each one build upon each other and you’re working towards the bigger project of designing your first training course from scratch. I’m learning so much from going through this course! I was provided great feedback from Katie and Shawntay through the process via Trello Boards, comments on the Google documents, and Facebook group. This course has been well worth the time and effort and I appreciate the fact that I will always have the resources available to me after I complete the training (just in case I’m not quite ready to transition yet).

Aviva Berkowitz


Future Instructional Designer

I can’t say enough great things about the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program! The length of the program is perfect; it doesn’t feel rushed and there’s just the right amount of structure to give you the accountability you need. There are so many opportunities to get live answers to any questions you have related to the course content or anything ID-related! This program gave me the support and structure I needed to both feel affirmed in the relevant skills I already had coming in and to fill in the gaps I had as a career-changer going into ID. Shawntay, Katie, and all the coaches are super helpful and supportive. I now feel confident that I have the tools and access to resources I need to apply for ID jobs without wondering if there’s something I’m “missing” in the preparation process. I’d highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to transition into ID or who just wants to brush up on their skills in the field.

Krista Johnson Awomoyi


Freelance Instructional Designer

I’d highly recommend the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program. I’m blown away by how much I learned in just 12 weeks. I had ID experience prior to taking this course and was just looking to get a better understanding of applying adult learning principles. This course well exceeded my expectations! Not only did I gain a clear understanding of adult learning principles, I was also able to apply those principles by creating assets for your portfolio using PowerPoint, Adobe Premiere Pro and Storyline. The hands on support that we received was top notch.

Darlene Dalgleish


Instructional Designer

This program is one of the most robust yet fulfilling L&D programs I’ve seen. I learned so much about the industry and about the limitlessness of my own capabilities. I am so appreciative of Shawntay and all of the trainers who took part in the program. They went above and beyond with not only guiding, but communicating live and working one on one or in small groups. If you are on the fence, I say take the leap and you will not regret it! There’s so much to learn, not only from the trainers, but also the learners in your group. Everyone comes in with their own skills and can be additional support and guidance for you. Thank you for creating this program!

Shawnice Edge


Instructional Designer Training Facilitator

Shawntay is an amazing individual. She is very knowledgeable in all aspects of ID and eLearning. She is also very compassionate and loves to help and see everyone around her grow and prosper. Shawntay has been a great mentor to me and she has helped me mature as an instructional designer and eLearning developer. She has provided me with opportunities when others have overlooked me. I am very grateful to have met and built a lifelong relationship with Shawntay.

I recently got hired into my first instructional design / training position and Shawntay was one of the first people to congratulate me!

Brian Hightower


Freelance Instructional Designer

My teacher-to-instructional-designer journey began two years ago when I left my teaching comfort zone and started my first freelance ID job. Now, I’m stepping out of the classroom and taking my freelance work full-time, so I’m thrilled to be joining the Tech Accelerator program. Adding technologies like Articulate 360 and Adobe Premiere Pro to my qualifications will help me take my courses to the next level and attract more clients!

Sarah Smith


Teacher Transitioning into Instructional Design

I am genuinely grateful for this course. I wanted a real-world perspective and feel like I got it. I’m teaching now, but nearing retirement age but can see myself working as an instructional designer well into my retirement years. My other goal is to take as many courses in statistics as possible in hopes of bringing some mathematical precision to the ROI question. Like you say, getting accurate metrics to measure ROI can be a challenge, but I intend to work on that part. That’s unimportant right now, what is important is the fact that I feel like this course was well worth every penny I spent and I would to it again in a heartbeat. I have too much going on right now, but as soon as I get some time freed up I intend to take your course in project management.

Lee R


Turns Your Written Thoughts Into a Masterpiece!

Shawntay Skjoldager can turn your written thoughts into a masterpiece. She is great to work with and the most organized person I know!

Sheryl Rhoades
President and CEO, The Creative Entreprenuer


Shawntay has been incredible!

Shawntay has been incredible and her team is responsive and effective in translating my training programs into professional presentations. Don’t hesitate to contact her for your project.

President and Principal of HRM Consulting, Inc.


IDC is My Secret Weapon to Soar Above My Competition!

The IDC team has been my secret and special weapon of success. They have delivered above and beyond with every single project out in front of them. They have met and beat timelines. They have been Uber responsive every step of the way. I keep them on speed dial and have and continue to recommend them to friends and clients. If you are in need of instructional design and plenty more, this is THE ALL-STAR team that will more than deliver and help make you and your project soar above the competition.

LT. COL. Jason O. Harris
U.S. Air Force Officer, Special Operations Pilot, U.S.A.F. Academy Instructor, Motivational Speaker


A Tremendous Asset to the Project Team!

Working with Shawntay and the Instructional Design Company has allowed our university to meet the growing demands of our programs. Shawntay’s expertise allowed for the course development to be completed on time and met all of the university requirements. Shawntay’s project management skills were phenomenal and allowed my team to work on other areas while she completed this project for us. Her work is of high quality and her professionalism and willingness to help made her a tremendous asset to the project team.

Amanda Buckley
Academic Quality Assurance Specialist, Abilene Christian University


Creative & Highly Talented!

Shawntay is a creative and highly talented instructional designer.  She brought a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and leadership that enabled her to own the design and creation of a full scale facilitator curriculum and train-the-trainer program.  It was a pleasure to partner with Shawntay, her project management and communication skills ensured the project was on time and on budget.

Susan Gatti
President, IMMIXID


Breaks Down Mammoth Projects

“Shawntay is quick study and carefully synthesizes information for presentations that are clear, concise and captivating. Her personality draws the audience in and her content mastery is excellent. A team player and organizer, Shawntay has the ability to break down mammoth projects, keep everybody on time and on task.”

Rick Miller
Author, Speaker, Strengths Coach


eLearning Development

“I have had many opportunities to work with Shawntay—mainly in the support of implementing new eLearning initiatives. I have been very impressed by her ability to quickly learn how to use rapid eLearning development tools and effectively use them to create multiple courses within a short timeframe. Shawntay’s enthusiastic nature, attention to detail, and dedication to her work make her a pleasure to work with and a great asset to both Texas A&M University-Commerce and the broader training community within the Texas A&M University System.”

Ashley Christian
Director of Learning Strategy, Caveo Learning


Top Notch Professional

Working with Shawntay has been an immense pleasure. She is atop notch professional who brings enthusiasm and extensiveexpertise to professional curriculum development and execution. Her knowledge of tried and true techniques to maximize the effectiveness of presentations is invaluable.

Nancy Drapeau, PRC
Vice President of Research, CEIR - Center for Exhibition Industry Research


Fortunate to Find Shawntay!

“I was fortunate to find Shawntay when our organization was looking to expand and update our educational offerings. Shawntay proved herself to be an educational and personal development expert who immediately made an impact with our clients throughout Europe. Everyone who came into contact with Shawntay was immediately impressed by her level of expertise and willingness to share her knowledge with those around her. I would not hesitate to recommend Shawntay to anyone looking for an education subject matter expert.”

Jonathan Burt
Director of Qualifications and NSD Services, Mary Kay Inc.


Short Turn Around. On Time. Under Budget!

“We hired Shawntay to develop a training facilitator’s guide and PowerPoint slide deck for an operations manual heavy with technical content. The project was made more challenging by a very short turn around, 5 business days, and the fact that the operations manual wasn’t complete and was being updated simultaneously with the facilitator’s guide and slide deck. Despite these challenges, Shawntay delivered as promised. On time and under budget.”

Dave Beeman, CPP
Vice President, Andy Frain Services


Need an Expert Who Consistently Delivers?

“Working with Shawntay you will immediately notice her professional presence and poise, but over time her tenacious pursuit of excellence and her skills in instructional development and adult learning will really impress you. I worked with her at Mary Kay, and was able to experience firsthand her great rapport with regional partners in Europe, understanding their unique sales force training needs. In addition, Shawntay consistently exhibited grace under pressure, made executive decisions to move business forward. If you are looking for an expert who consistently delivers and goes the extra mile to get things done, contact Shawntay!”

Mellora Moore
Marketing Director, Academic Partnerships


Quality Products & Solutions!

“I had had the pleasure of knowing and working with Shawntay on more than a few occasions. I found her to be a very good business partner and very committed to delivering a quality product or solution in a timely manner. I have always had a positive experience in partnering with Shawntay and would recommend that you consider leveraging her talent.”

Judy Owen, CPC
Transformational Leadership Coach


“Invest in yourself and take your skills to the next NEXT level!”

Get yourself signed up for Shawntay Skjoldager’s Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program today and be on your way to success! Within the first week of taking her course, you will experience growth! Be sure to plug into her Facebook Q&A sessions for personalized help, too. This is THE course to take if you are new to instructional design or have landed on the training team and need help getting started.

Patrick Hodges
Managing Partner, PHiG


“Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!”

Shawntay has exceptional knowledge and experience with all aspects of creating and implementing effective, performance based training for adults. She is exceptional at needs analysis – identifying target audiences and collaborating with business owners to keep training focused on business needs. And she is great to work with – always providing great support to get projects done on-time and on-target. She is always on the look-out for new and more effective ways to engage learners. Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!

Mike Stubblefield
eLearning Developer/Instructional Designer, Vivos Therapeutics


“Spot on”

I have known and worked with Shawntay  as a education program director and use the expertise of ShawntayMichelle for the development of my presentations.  The service has always been “spot on” with professionalism, care and attention.  Shawntay’s recommendations to my ideas make me look good to my clients.

Owner, Certified Consulting Services


“Shawntay Skjoldager reached in and made my training life so much easier!”

I am new to the training design and development world and I was SO excited to get in there, but I really lacked the real-world knowledge that would set me apart from my peers. And, then Shawntay Skjoldager walked into my life with an outstretched hand and a seemingly endless list of ways to knock every training out of the park. From the Training Analysis Form to the Tay Tay tips, this course made my life so much easier and even ironed out the review process that I had been struggling with for months.

Take time to invest in your own learning and make sure to put Shawntay Michelle at the top of your personal development list!


Katie Carter
Training Specialist, LegalShield

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