Happy New Years! I hope you all had an amazing time celebrating the end of 2017 and start of a new year. With the new year comes new goals for many. If you don’t have your new years resolution set yet, don’t fret. I’ve never been big on New Years resolutions for myself. I just didn’t feel like I was ever really set up for success to achieve them. Go to the gym three times a week … well that one lasted less than a month. Eat healthier … I had a salad. Did that count? Is that healthier? Am I done and can I have that bowl of chips now?
I think it’s safe to say, I’m lousy at New Years resolutions. Which is weird because I work in corporate sales where we have TONS of goals for everything, and I totally rock it! My type-A personality thrives on setting and achieving goals and targets! So why do I nail my goals when they are work-related, but totally belly flop on my personal resolutions?
Time. I didn’t think my personal goals should be “work” so I wasn’t putting much thought into planning them out. I’d get an idea and pluck a goal to go with it out of thin air (more or less). I didn’t have any system / framework / process / (substitute over-used cliché term here) / etc. for creating my personal goals. After years of flopping on my New Years resolutions I decided to finally take my learnings on goal setting from the corporate world, and apply them to my personal goals because really, shouldn’t I be investing my best effort into the things that are personally most important to me!?
Step 1 : Identify Your “Big Rocks”
Stephen Covey, an educator, writer of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and really smart dude, talked about becoming “the programmer” and writing the program for your life. In order to write the program, you need to understand what your content or “big rocks” (i.e. priorities) are. If you could only do ONE thing, what would it be? If you could do a SECOND, what would that be? And so on and so on. Figuring out your big rocks is important, and it doesn’t have to be a lot of work. Think about the different roles you play in life (i.e. spouse, parent, child, coach, friend, employee, etc.). What do you value the most within each of those roles? These are your big rocks, and now that you’re super clear on them you can set goals that will allow you to focus on each area. We are all busy people. We don’t have time to do it all (as much as we try!). By getting clear on our priorities we can cut the BS and create awesome goals to nail what’s really important us!
Step 2 : Choose One Area of Focus
One focus per goal, no exceptions. Don’t try and get clever and create a “kitchen sink” goal …. you know what I’m talking about – those goals that look a bit like a grocery list with lots of “by” “and” “so’s” thrown in. I am going to focus more on me by making time for fitness, and eating better so that I can lose weight. You can create multiple goals, each focusing on a different area, but keep the goals separate. This way you can clearly mark when a goal has been achieved and celebrate, rather than always feeling like you’re only part way there. Creating S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound), will make sure you are remaining focused and not throwing it all in there!
Step 3 : Lean Into Your Strengths
Ever notice that often our goals are created around a weakness or “opportunity”? Any of these sound familiar : I need to lose weight, I need to get more organized, I’m going to eat healthier? By focusing our goals around weaknesses we are putting ourselves in a position to feel inadequate, embarrassed, frustrated, etc. Not exactly a motivating place to start from, is it?! We should be building our goals around strengths. Identify what you are awesome at, and figure out how you can use that to achieve your goal. I’m going to use my ability to connect with people to create a workout club with friends. My organizational skills rock so I’m going to start meal planning to ensure I’m eating healthier. Doesn’t it feel better to lean into a strength? By reframing our goals, and leaning into strengths to accomplish them, we are starting from a position of power and setting ourselves up to crush our goals!
Step 4 : Break It Down
Now that you are clear on your priorities and have a goal in mind, break it down into manageable chunks. Create milestones for yourself along the way. Some goals can be BIG, and that’s a good thing. But BIG goals can seem impossible to achieve. By breaking it down into small milestones, it gives you reason to celebrate along the way, as you achieve each step. #partytime 🙂
Set yourself up for success right from the start, by finding an easy “quick win” right out of the gate that can really get the momentum going. For instance, if you’re goal is to get more organized, your first milestone could be purchasing a planner. A quick trip over to Amazon and you already have a win to celebrate! #nailedit
Step 5 : Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Goals
Life happens. Things change. The whole reason for setting goals is so that you can live your best life … don’t let a goal that’s not working for you get in the way of that! Take time regularly to make sure your goals still align with your big rocks. If your circumstances have changed, and the goal is no longer driving you towards achieving your big rocks, change it! You set your goals, and you have the power to change them whenever you like. Don’t look at changing a goal as a failure. Feel proud that you had the self awareness to recognize that it wasn’t working, figure out a new goal that works better for you, and rock it!
This blog is the result of a personal goal I set for myself last year. I realized I was focusing all my energy on work, and wasn’t making time for the things I really enjoyed. Wanting a creative outlet, which for me often becomes the kitchen, I turned to blogging. I was able to lean into my passion for learning new things to learn enough of the technical side of web design to make the blog a reality. I then used my organizational skills to create a regular posting schedule that has helped keep me focused on making the time for creative activities.
So what are your big rocks, and what actions can you take in 2018 to focus on achieving them?