I am 100% a fan of making New Year’s Resolutions!!!
I know many people don’t meet them, but I don’t find that to be a flaw in WHAT New Year’s Resolutions are, I simply think most folks could use some kick ass “How To” coaching on goal setting.
So that’s what I intend to do today…
Elevate your New Year’s Resolutions so that they go from lofty OUTCOMES written on a sheet of paper to manageable TASKS that you are ACTING on throughout the year.
I’m going to write this blog post a little “backwards” because I don’t want this process to “get lost” in words and paragraphs if you don’t need them.
So I’m going to give you the steps to goal writing FIRST.
Whenever you see (*) that means if you’re curious or confused there’s an explanation at the bottom.
STEPS TO YOUR “LET’S CRUSH 2017 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS”
- Find some quiet time and space in your day and get as comfy as possible. Wine, coffee, tea, pjs, prayer or mediation… do whatever you have to do so that you are not feeling stressed. You are in a frame of mind to think big thoughts and big dreams.
- You need paper and pen because this is a PROCESS you are about to undergo. This is NOT a 2017 “to-do” list. Grab your diary, bullet journal, or several sheets of paper and your favorite pen or pencil.
- * On a sheet of paper, create 3 -5 life categories where you want to experience change. Each category must be broad and not have any or much overlap with the other one. For example, Fitness, Career, Family.
- Under each category just free write ideas you’d like to happen. Don’t worry about any timelines or barriers right now. It’s important that you begin your thoughts by saying… “If time, money, education, expectations, and fear of failure were not an issue…” and write those dreams down. Take all the barriers out when setting your vision!!!! You will address fears in just a sec.
- By the way, if you feel hesitant to write anything down because you feel a bit exposed, vulnerable, or like it’s impossible… you’re on the right track!! This document is YOURS and you need to give yourself PERMISSION to be AUTHENTIC.
- You can acknowledge fears or mindset barriers on a different sheet of paper to keep you aware of things you DON’T want to attract in your life or as a reference point for future self development. You don’t have to shove fears and pain away in a little box. Give them a voice. Write them down. As Brene Brown brilliantly exposed… “Shame cannot withstand being spoken.” so just looking at them in the face provides you the reference point of GROWTH.
- ** Time to REVERSE ENGINEER your goals. You will want a sheet of paper for each life category you created. Title each one. For example: Fitness Goals 2017, Career Goals 2017, Family Goals 2017.
- For each life category break up 2017 into quarters starting from the END of the year!
- October -December,
- July- September,
- April- June, and
- January -March.
- Look at your free writing sheet, if you stated that a 2017 goal is to lose 15 pounds then your job is to state IN THE PRESENT TENSE (not the future tense) what you are DOING CONSISTENTLY (not perfectly) by the last quarter of the year that get you to that goal.
- I strength train 4 times per week.
- I order grilled or sauteed foods when I go out to eat.
- I drink 2 glasses of wine on Fridays and Saturdays with friends.
- I drink 2-4 liters of water daily.
- If you are consistenty doing these things by October, November, or December of 2017, what is it reasonable for you to do July- September, April- June, January – March?
- BAM!!!! You now have your task list for the first quarter of this year!!!! OMG… your goal doesn’t seem so big and scary anymore does it? If you’ve done this with healthy expectations, you are looking at January – March like … hell yeah… I got this!!!!
- Repeat this process for all the other categories you’ve picked.
- *** CAUTION: If you focus on everything, you’re focused on NOTHING!!!
- The hardest part if you’re not careful is revisiting your plan. Out of sight, out of mind. In sight, in mind. If you respond well to technology, set reminders on your phone every two weeks. Make them fun or uniquely yours so that they propel you to either look at your list, modify your list, or continue on the path you’re on. I’m a bullet journal girl now so my 2017 vision and goals travel will be traveling with me every day.
- #MindsetCheck: FORWARD PROGRESS is success – Not landmark dates and pounds and numbers you set arbitrarily months prior!! Your plan can shift and move WITH you and keep you in motion. It’s not meant to hold you down. LET YOUR DREAMS EVOLVE.
* CREATING GOAL CATEGORIES TO FIX THE PROBLEM OF MOTIVATION
This is what I want you to know about motivation… it naturally comes in WAVES… with highs and lows.
So when you catch a wave on high… congrats!… it’s time to get to WORK. This is the easiest time to harness focus, tenacity, resilience, and grit so it’s an awesome time to begin doing the hard things it takes to get you to your goals.
Here’s the thing… that wave will inevitably come to shore and THAT’S fine and completely natural! You can expect to hit a low about every to 30-60 days.
The problem I see people make most often is that they get stuck on the brilliance of what being on that wave was like and STAY on shore waiting for that SAME wave to come back and scoop them up on another wild ride so they can finish their right all at once!
Uhm… nope… that wave is gone and trying to re-create it and force it to the finish line gets you STUCK and in a rut.
What you need to do is be excited for all the steps closer you are now than you were before. Be self aware enough to understand that maybe your whole system and life needs to do nothing more than to work on KEEPING that goal for now.
And if you’re lucky one of your other goals might catch your eye. It might speak to you and say, “hey… you ready… let’s ride.”
2. ** REVERSE ENGINEERING GOALS
This is NOT a new concept… maybe a new term you haven’t heard before.
If you’re a teacher, you know exactly what this looks like.
You identify the vision and goals from the course of study, you break that down into your year’s course syllabus, you break that down further to create your units, you chop that down further to create your tests, you shave that down to even further to create your week’s lesson plans where each day has it’s own tasks to be completed.
You take a MACRO look and REVERSE the learning process from there.
Not a teacher? Do you grocery shop? Betting your best food weeks are when you can take a MACRO look at your life, month, weeks and plan accordingly?
If the objective is… I want the family to eat their proteins and veggies then you are forced to ask questions like… What days are we at home? What days are the kids activities? When is that board meeting again? What days am I cooking? What days are take out days?
I’m betting most of what’s on your agenda repeats itself for at least a season so you begin to see patterns like:
Monday is a crock pot day so you google a recipe for that, Tuesdays kids have activities so it’s take out so what restaurants have the best proteins and veggies, Wednesdays it’s church so sandwiches and salads are easy, Thursday all the best shows are on so we’re all at home and try a new recipe etc.
You build your menu, then your grocery list by REVERSE ENGINEERING your week, month, or season.
*** 3. LIFE IS MESSY
Life doesn’t happen in a neat and tidy list or calendar.
Despite your best efforts, you may NEED TO CHOOSE which goal speaks to you. Which wave do you want to catch? Where do you most want your initial focus to be?
It is inefficient to try to do ALL the categories at once. Then again, I don’t know you and I don’t know your exact goals either.
Some may be as “easy” as organize my house so you’ve literally picked one room in the house to tackle each month.
If that’s the case then yeah… I think you could totally organize your bedroom a little each day in January and also hit your fitness January – March goals at the same time.
Also, don’t get all bent out of shape if your fitness wave only gets you through the first 6 weeks of the year. No biggie. Totally natural! Put that goal to rest… doing your best just to maintain… and simply go to another category. I bet you’ll be crazy excited to tackle that one.