Setting Goals and Reaching Them
Did I sound like Dr. Phil there? Do you set goals? How’s that working for you? He always made me laugh when he said that, because usually it wasn’t working for whoever he was talking to.
Setting goals used to be a scary thought for me. Too big. Kind of like those stupid questions you get in job interviews: “Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?” Did you ever want to say, “Well, not here, that’s for sure.”? But you never did.
Anyway, I’m getting off track. Setting goals doesn’t have to be a big scary thing. In fact, they don’t have to be big at all. We’re not talking New Years resolutions here. We’re not even talking goals that have to be broken down into smaller and smaller pieces until you can start to work on them. I’m not so good at that, but I’m working on it.
What I’m talking about are more like monthly goals. What do you want to get done this month? And I know, usually you would do this at the beginning of the month, but whenever you’re reading this, feel free to jump in and set some goals you can get done in whatever time there is left in the month.
Monthly goals are easy. They have to be, because you’ve only got a few weeks to get them done. And maybe if you’re really good at goals and seeing the big picture, reaching each month’s goal will help you reach a big one by the end of the year.
I’ve been doing this for a while, thanks to Jenny Penton and her Planner Perfect Method. Jenny believes that you should set goals each month, not only for things you have to do, things for your home, but also for yourself. Jenny is an amazing artist – she incorporates her paintings into the planners, journals, and other items she sells. And she’s also a great motivator.
For the last few months, I have been setting aside a page before my month begins where I can set some milestones for the month. None of them are big; they’re not supposed to be.
If you’ve been around the blog since the beginning, you may have noticed that I mentioned the concept of Kaizen once or twice. Basically continuous small improvement.
My Example for January
I didn’t make as big a list for this month as I usually do, but some of my goals for January are:
- Check my bank balance daily (because I’ve been trying for months to get my checkbook and the bank to agree just once)
- Weigh myself each Wednesday
- Do yoga daily
- Work more on this blog – I have a huge prioritized list, but for now, more posts and an email once a week
- Try one new meal per week. We’ve gotten into a rut, and I admit, I haven’t kept up with it, but this week we’re trying two, so that’s progress.
You see? You choose small goals that you can easily accomplish in a month. I’m not trying to lose 20 lbs this month, but I am going to weigh myself weekly, try to eat healthfully, and do a 30 day yoga challenge.
Maybe next month I’ll add in something specific to weight loss, or maybe just doing what I’m doing will help by the end of the year. Either way, there’s no pressure.
Your goals should be small enough that you can put them on your to-do list. They should be tasks, not projects.
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had purchased Cultivate What Matters, a goal setting workbook. It’s very intensive. There are a lot of worksheets to go through before you even get to goal setting, and when you do set them, they’re big ones.
I have to be honest – it’s a lot to learn and take in – and I’m not sure of it all yet. For one thing, the workbook has you re-evaluate your goals every 3 months. So I’m not sure if these are meant to be year long goals, or quarterly ones. I guess they could be either.
Anyway, if you have already set year long goals and want to achieve them, the best way to begin is by breaking them down into smaller ones. Could you break them down into four parts? One for each quarter? And then take those quarterly goals and break them down into monthly ones?
And if your monthly goals are still projects rather than tasks, maybe you could break them down further, until they were just one step at a time. That sure takes the scary part out of a big goal, right? Maybe I should start with not eating a Snickers bar, just for today….
Keeping Track of Your Progress
In order to stay motivated to keep working on your goals, it’s a good idea to track them so you can see your progress. Cultivate What Matters has what they call a Tending List that helps you do that, but you could just as easily do it in your planner or phone.
Bullet journals are famous for being used as trackers. People track all kinds of things in their bujos, from water intake to all of the books they’ve read. It would even be easy to add a little line (or a sticker) to any kind of planner you use to track your progress. I bet there are even apps for your digital planners and phones.
Hey, we could go old school, buy one of those big fat crayons that Crayola makes for pre-schoolers, and put an X on the calendar each day. Of course, that would only work for one goal….
Do It! Start Reaching for Those Targets!
Please tell me you already have goals. Even if they’re New Years resolutions you’ve already given up on. Pull them back out, take another look at them, and let’s see what we can do with them.
First, how many goals did you set? Three or four is good. Ten? Not so much. That’s expecting you to reach a goal every six weeks or so. No can do.
Next, got any goals related to self-care? Yes? Awesome! Is it attainable? Cause that’s important. Make sure it is. Revising a goal is perfectly fine. Who’s making the rules around here anyway?
No self-care goals? You know you have to take care of yourself. And you should make time for it and enjoy it too. Set a goal for self-care. A pedicure every two months? Cool. How about one healthy meal a day? Or two extra glasses of water? And be sure to check out this week’s newsletter for a really fun self-care idea. You can sign up below.
Now did you set any goals that will make you have to stretch a bit? Not literally stretch, unless you’re like me and decided to start a yoga practice for real this year.
No, I’m talking about something that will challenge you a bit – take you out of your comfort zone just a little. That will keep your year interesting!
So, remember everything I’ve said. It’s all written down right here if you forget. 😉
Now go out there and set some goals! We’re going to make this year the best!