Bored? You need a Board – How Goal Boards and Success Boards support motivation and positivity for the New Year and Beyond

goal boards coaching for lawyers

Goal and Success Boards

Anyone who knows me will tell you that at this time of year, I like to review the year gone by, by starting with reference to my Goal Board. Others prefer the term Vision or Dream Board, but for me the word “Goal” is stronger, more empowered. It is a useful tool by which to measure the successes of the previous year. Those achievements, once ticked off, can then form really solid content to add to a Success Board too. Lots of different names for these too: Achievement Boards, brag books, you name it – whatever works best for you.

Are you using either of these tools currently?

Start with the End in Mind

It was Stephen Covey who said, “Start with the end in mind” having identified seven winning habits demonstrated by a number of high performing athletes, business-people and the like. He noticed that they had the ability to strongly visualise their goals, imagine them almost as if they were present tense and lived experiences, to build up a strong connection with them and an intense desire to achieve them.

Permission to Think

Often when clients start their coaching journey with me, I notice that whilst they are goal-orientated people, they have rarely before those sessions given themselves the time or permission to reflect on what it is they what, never mind make a plan to achieve it. This is why the feeling that people are fire-fighting their daily tasks is so common. A simple way to ensure you get the thinking time you need is to diarise it. Not exactly rocket science, but I see so many caught up in the billable hours culture that they rarely allow themselves even one hour a month – perhaps like you would have a coaching session – to do more of the important strategic thinking; seeing the bigger picture without the daily noise.

How can you get comfortable to allow yourself that time? May be diarise it now. Consider where you do your best thinking. For many, this is an outdoor location – one of my favourites is a bird hide at a local nature trial. Make a date with yourself. Commit. Make it happen.

The saying “It’s hard to score without a goal” is so apt. So, I’d encourage you to start there.

Images to become reality

Once you have had some free thoughts around your goals, that’s when the fun starts. Play about with it. Think about getting some visual images, whether off the internet or in glossy magazines, to cut out pictures that represent your goals for the coming year and begin to make your 2022 Goal Board.

There is something very compelling about getting those images in front of you. Put them in a prominent place where you can see them often to re-enforce what it is you are working towards. It’s such a powerful way to stay motivated, especially on the slightly off days. Mine is alongside my desk where I work daily, but I also carry a photo of it on my phone, and copies that I have reduced the image sizes of to fit neatly into the front of my notebook and my diary.


Jim Rohn, American Life Coach, suggested that by getting goals out there onto paper, transferring them from brain to page, you are 80% more likely to achieve them than keeping them swirling around in your head. Whether or not the stats are right, I know from both lived and client experience that there’s no better way to measure your goals than at the end of the year reviewing them and seeing how you got on. This is the perfect way to keep yourself accountable, whether to your coach or indeed just to yourself.

Turning Goals into Achievements

3 really important things featured on my 2021 Goal Board were to do a TEDx Talk, to hire a Virtual Assistant and to outsource my social media marketing. I seriously doubt if I hadn’t had the daily prompts around these that I would have achieved those goals with such determination or urgency. One of my proudest moments this year was taking to the TEDx Stage in Doncaster in Autumn and realising that goal – in truth a life-long as opposed to year-long goal. Interesting though that in the year it featured on the Goal Board, it actually happened!

Success Boards

 Generally coaching is a very forward-thinking intervention, where clients focus on where they are now and think about where it is they want to get to. Coaches help them get there more quickly than had they acted alone. Having said that, important too to acknowledge our skills, strengths and successes, so I often encourage clients to celebrate them. On down days it can be more tricky racking your brain for all the brilliant things you do. So again, think about a helpful, visual reminder. This time, think of all your achievements, the things that make you feel proud, and again get cutting and sticking to create a Success Board: whether it be your graduation; your first pay cheque; your first training contract or gaining pupillage; even your family. Celebrate it. Use it as a tool to feel good about yourself. Remind yourself daily of your worth and value and how, with concerted effort, today’s goal becomes tomorrow’s success.

No better time than reviewing a year and planning a new one to utilise both these tools to good effect: use them to measure your success and growth. And whilst doing that, have fun in the process.




Nikki Alderson Biography

Nikki Alderson, specialist coach, speaker and author, and former Criminal Barrister with 19 years’ experience:

  • supports organisations, law firms and barristers’ Chambers to retain female talent; and
  • empowers female lawyers to achieve career ambitions.

Nikki specialises in 3 areas:

  • Women leadership transition and change;
  • Enhanced career break returner support; and
  • Workplace resilience, mental toughness, confidence and wellness.

She is the author of Amazon No.1 Bestseller Raising the Bar: empowering female lawyers through coaching, ( nominee for the Inspirational Women Awards, Champion of the Year Category and finalist in the 2020 Women in Law Awards, Legal Services Innovator of the Year and 2019 International Coaching Awards, International Coach of the Year Category.