I’m ambitious, but ambition doesn’t always translate into time management or even a completed to-do list. I aim to change most if not all of that in 2017, but to do so requires a plan.
Everyone knows this is the time of year for resolutions and healthy projections about the year to come. In all the holiday craziness this hardly seems a great time to set goals for the new year. Yet, most of us will.There is just something about the turning over of a new year that makes everything seem possible. Still, all of those good feelings don’t generally come with a guidebook. There’s not always a great way to turn good intentions into accomplishments. So, I decided that in order to give myself the best chance at knocking things off my bucket list I had to start with a clear plan.
Set some goals. Make a plan. Execute.
Simple enough except I’m a Virgo and nothing is ever that simple. The over analytical side of me hopped right up to the plate to determine exactly how complex I could make this simple task, starting with setting my goals for the year. Just before I was utterly defeated, I found a way to streamline my process and ensure the goals I picked for this year were achievable.
I’m sharing my process now, because I know I’m not the only one who could use a little guidance when determining goals. This four rule process helped tremendously when it came time for me to narrow my years goals down. With any luck, it’ll help you too. Use what you can, discard what you can’t, and be sure to leave a comment about what you would do differently!
Rule 1: Goals must be reasonable.
I’m a wife, and a work-from-home mom who is currently pregnant. Time is of the essence. Any goals I set for the year have to be carefully woven into an already stretched day. I have to be honest with myself when determining what things I can accomplish in the loving chaos that I live in. This isn’t a chance to short myself by not choosing heavy hitters who drive my purpose. I still have to do the work of forward movement. In order to orchestrate this, I must choose goals that are obtainable if nothing changes and flexible when everything does.
Example. I will read 100 books in 2017 vs. I will read 52 books in 2017.
An effective goal has both a deadline and is measurable, but more on that later.
For my schedule anything more than a book a week is too high of a commitment. So my goal must take this into consideration. However, it is not unreasonable within my schedule to find time for one book a week. Even though, it would probably be easier to commit to only one book a month it would not be challenging. I want the challenge.
Rule 2. Goals must feed mind, body, and/or soul.
This one is layered for me. Most often in my busy schedule if something or someone is to be neglected it is me. Putting myself last on the list can sometimes make room for our families bigger picture, but when I am depleted everything in my house seems to stop. In order to continuously be a loving, supportive wife and a loving, devoted mother I have to make time for things that renew me. I must find the time. My goals must prioritize my needs and still honor the needs of those I love.
Goals are personal even though they have rippling effects in some cases.
Example. Taking a twenty minute walk alone to clear my head is not always feasible. However, walking the dogs with my husband and children keeps everyone occupied, gives us quality time and still allows me a little internal space to clear my head. Not to mention, the healthy benefits of a little fresh air and mobility.
You now what your needs are. Do not be afraid to pencil them into your goals. Burn out, fatigue, anxiety are all very real. If you (or I) ignore the needs of the mind, and body the soul will suffer every time. Your goals should offer every imaginable opportunity to bring out the best in yourself to yourself.
Rule 3. Goals must challenge.
Here’s the deal. Goals are about growth. No one grows from remaining comfortable. If a goal does not push, pull, or at the very least coax me out of my comfort zone (comfortable way of thinking, feeling, or doing things) then they are not productive goals.
I have to do the work, to push myself toward greater accomplishments at the risk of being uncomfortable. Things that don’t move, rust. While contentment for what I have when I have it is great, stagnation is not. In the words of Walt Disney… Keep moving forward.
Rule 4 . Goals must have a sense of urgency.
Deadlines are not fun, but they are effective. Executing my goals with efficiency and maximizing my ability to remain focused on them requires an end date. In fairness, the end date must be realistic to the goal. Most goals have layers, different requirements. Consider them individually and honestly when working on your timeline.
No matter how hard I try, I am not gong to trim 7 inches from my waist in 48 hours.
7 inches in 30 days is a realistic deadline and honest to my metabolism, and health routines.
By being honest with yourself about your timeline, you increase the likelihood of success for that goal. Gives yourself the best shot to be successful. The endorphin release is worth it.
I used these rules as a foundation for all of my goal setting. It is by no means a definitive list nor am I an authority on goals, but I have had some success because of them.
By all means, take what you will from my little list of rules. Edit them, discard what does and doesn’t work for you. Do whatever you must, but make goals and stick to them. No matter how small or large, all the positive changes we willingly make for our lives are significant changes. Just don’t be afraid to take the leap.