A New Start?
Goals or resolutions (as they are often called this time of year) are tricky things. The idea of a new year romanticizes us into thinking that we really can start with a clean slate. But the truth of the matter is, there is no new start. You really have the same of whatever you had on December 31st, come January 1. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make goals, it just means we have to be realistic about achieving them.
Wait, doesn’t being ‘realistic’ mean that you can’t make “literally anything” happen?
Nope! You can make literally any goal happen with this method! The catch is that the magic goal might not happen this year, but maybe several years down the road. Does that sound discouraging? Don’t let it. You’re about to take the first step!
Goal Setting 101
- Get a planner or calendar that you can physically write all over.
Planners are all the rage right now, so they aren’t difficult to find. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Either a book or a wall calendar is fine, just make sure to keep it somewhere you won’t forget. It needs to serve as a reminder for you and your goals.
- Write out your goals on the inside cover (or separate sheet of paper, so you can scribble things out until you know what you want) bullet style.
Need some inspiration? Here are a couple of goals I’m going to work on this year:
- Kindergarten prep for 5 y/o
- Potty Train 2 y/o
- Lose 20 lbs.
- Find 3 new rotation meals for weeknight dinners
- Create realistic end dates for these goals. Keep in mind that they may not complete this year. Here’s mine.
- Kindergarten prep for 5 y/o (End Date: 8/12/18)
- Potty Train 2 y/o (End Date: 2/15/18) Night Potty Training (3/15/18)
- Lose 20 lbs. (End Date: 5/13/18)
- Find 3 new rotation meals for weeknight dinners (End Date: 3/1/18)
- Create checkpoints to meet on your way to your goal. These need to be related to your end goal in order to keep you motivated. For example, if you are going to plan to lose weight, and you meet your 5 lb. loss checkpoint, then you can treat yourself to a new shirt.Space the checkpoints as you see fit. Is your end goal 6 months away? How much encouragement do you need to keep going? Do you need a checkpoint every months, every two months, more, or less? You decide and pick a small reward for yourself for each time you meet your checkpoint goals.
- Create milestone tasks to help carry you into your new goal. Incorporating your goal into your life will help you to stay motivated to meet it, and it will fit perfectly into your life when you reach it, thanks to all your previous prep work. Disperse these into your schedule where they make sense.
What’s a milestone task?
A milestone task is a job that will help you to reach your goal. Are you planning to lose weight? You will need to incorporate milestone tasks of throwing out your junk food, meal planning, buying healthy groceries, buying a scale, and cleaning out your closet. Your milestone tasks can be repeated (like meal planning) or can only be done once (buying a scale). I find that blocking out these tasks for the whole week, instead of one single day, make me more successful.
- Write your goals and plans to achieve them into your calendar or planner. Assign each goal a color and use that color pen or highlighter for your each of your goals. Use a red pen to either check off tasks/checkpoints finished or ‘X’ off what you may have missed.
Rule Your Year!
Make sure to leave your calendar/planner out where you can see it and interact with it on a regular basis.
This goal setting method allows you to see your goals all the time. You’ll still know what you want and how to get there in June! Long term tasks can’t just magically happen on their own. If you take the time to fit your goals into your life, you are allowing yourself the chance to succeed.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!