Tomorrow marks a new day, a new month, a new year, and a new decade! January 1st is historically the day to make changes in your life to set yourself up for success in the calendar year ahead of you. Whether you are reading this on December 31st or April 19th, you can always make a fresh start for yourself. However, the traditional New Year’s resolutions don’t always seem to do the trick as we seem to forget about them within a few weeks of the new year. We get right back into our regularly routines and those resolutions fall to the wayside.
So instead of making any resolutions, I set goals! This sounds way too easy to work because all I did was use a different word instead of ‘resolutions’, right? Wrong. Goal-setting is different in how you go about it. Resolutions might be ‘working out more’, while a goal would be ‘working out 3 times each week with a trainer so that I have arm definition by June’. Goals are specific, easy to measure, and have a timeline/deadline. When you commit to a goal, you are getting yourself set up to truly make changes.
How do we do it then? Let me break down my steps to creating goals for the year that you can actually stick to, track, and hold yourself to!
- Brainstorming/Reflection – In years past, I have done this alone; thinking about what I want to change or how I’d like to see my upcoming year. However, this year I did this in 2 parts with the first one being a joint effort with my husband. He’s not a planner AT ALL, so sitting down with me to talk about our past year and plan out where we want to go and what we want to do in the upcoming year was about the last thing he wanted to do when I suggested it. When we were all said and done, it was one of the best conversations we have had as a couple. It brought things to light that I hadn’t considered and got us talking about things that one or both of us wanted to see change, do differently, or aspire to. This is a time to ask yourself questions about what you have been proud of from the past year and where you feel like things haven’t gone the way you would like. The key is being honest with yourself (and with your significant other) here or you won’t set goals that have any true impact. Leaders In Heels offers a ‘Year In Review’ worksheet that I recommend as it helps you get started asking those questions of yourself. Here’s a downloadable copy for you to use: Year-End+Review
- Put your goals down on paper! This is a huge part of setting goals for yourself. Taking pen to paper makes it more permanent and helps you to see things clearly and see them often! Once you have it all finalized, it is important to keep your goals someplace where you can see them on a regular basis. Use your brainstorming sesh as your jumping off point for writing out your goals and try to hit all of the areas of your life; work, friends, family, finances, hobbies, and anything else that you feel has value.
- Spot check – Take another look at each of your goals that you have written down. How long with each goal take you to achieve? A month? The calendar year? How are you going to make each goal become a reality? Answer those questions on your paper and determine how frequently you will revisit this to see what your progress looks like. An easy way to remind yourself is to periodically have a reminder go off on your phone. Most phones have calendars that you can use to create daily/weekly/monthly reminders so that you don’t let your priorities fall away when life happens.
To help you put all of this together, I’ll share a few of my own 2020 goals with you! Some of these are my own as an individual and some are a combined effort with my husband, Drew.
- Put $XX,XXX into savings. Drew and I are hoping to buy or build a house in the next few years, which requires some serious $$ to put down. So we set this goal to keep our savings on track this year! Over the 12 months in 2020, we know we need to be putting $X,XXX into the account each month so that by the end of the year we are meeting our overall goal.
- Read 8 books. I have set a reading goal almost every year as long as I can remember! I have always loved reading, but one year I went a little crazy and set a goal of 30 books and then wasn’t really enjoying what I was reading because I was just shooting for the target. This year I chose to make a target of 8 because I can aim to read 1 book about every 30-45 days. That gives me the breathing room to spend time doing other things I love without the pressure I put on myself with that higher goal.
- Practice yoga 3-5 times per week. My ultimate goal would be to be doing yoga in some capacity on a daily basis. However, with the migraines I have had over the last few months, I want to give myself something a little more realistic to start. Yoga has been a great way for me to help ease my anxiety, which will tackle my overarching goal of looking for and practicing ways to control my anxiety. (Setting a goal with my anxiety is a little more difficult since I’m still learning about it and about how it is triggered/affects me so that I can better manage it).
Now that you have these tools and ideas at hand, have FUN taking time to connect with yourself so that you can set goals and create a life you love!