There is something about the new year that brings with it great possibility. A blank slate and a chance to refocus and reset your priorities. I try to take this mentality of reflection and self-awareness with me throughout the year but let’s be honest it’s easy to fall off the bandwagon without some system for accountability. The new year is a reminder to stop, slow down and set some goals for the coming year. I try not to call these resolutions because I want them to be more concrete, achievable and inspiring. This year I am using a few amazing tools to refocus my life for 2018 and set my yearly goals. Keep reading to learn more.
So before we can dive into setting goals, we first have to define what a goal is and the purpose for your goals. Do you want to improve your health, make more time for self-care, lose weight, learn a new skill? If you answered yes to any of these things, why? How will your life be better if you achieve these goals. I think the reason behind the goal is the motivation to help you achieve it. Many times, we skip the reason and jump right to the goal thinking only about the goal itself. So now, why set goals. For me setting goals is all about intention. It’s easy to go through life from one day to the next without thinking. Setting goals helps me actualize my purpose, my focus and my desires. By setting a goal, I give myself something to work towards and an overarching theme by which to compare my decisions to. Throughout the year when making decisions about whether or not to take on a new project, go on a trip, or stop an activity I will look back at my goals and see which decision supports my goals and helps foster the happiness I have set out to create.
My dear friend Joanna gifted me the Cultivate What Matters Goal Setting Planner for Christmas and it has been a huge inspiration to me over the past two weeks. Not only did the packaging and designs ignite all of my creative juices, but I really enjoyed going through the goal planning steps to get clear on my focus for 2018 and the WHY. I have also been reading Choosing Happiness. These resources combined have really challenged me to examine what brings me happiness and joy and create goals that help me cultivate that happiness throughout the year.
After some reflection and working through the planning pages of the Goal Planning Workbook, I have chosen the following 5 areas as my priorities for 2018. I chose these areas because all of these areas bring me joy, happiness and feelings of purpose or satisfaction. I figure if I fill the next year with activities and habits surrounding these priorities I will sure to experience joy regularly.
So from these priorities I have created 5 meaningful goals, which I will share below – 1 for each priority area. I found the Goal Action Plan template quite helpful as I was refining my goals.
- Goal: Your words don’t have to be perfect. Just write the goal in whatever words you have!
- Why? Write out why you want to cultivate your goal, and connect it to something that really means something to you
- The positive effect taking action on this goal may have on my life and others: How will this goal change you and others? Think of the biggest possibilities here—the most profound positive impact this goal could have. Even if your goal feels “small,” write out the big possibilities! This can be a huge motivating factor when you define the possibilities.
- How I will feel at the end of this year having made progress on this goal? Imagine it. You made progress, finished your goal, or made it to a milestone. How will that feel? Remember: focus on progress, not perfection!
- Starting steps: I used to write out “action steps,” but after listening to thousands of women tell me how stuck they felt in starting things that mattered to them, I realized that the most important steps were the first ones. So, write out some very small starting steps. You’ll see my examples below!
- How I will know I accomplished or made progress on this goal? Most of my goals don’t have an “end” date, but it’s important to be able to measure your progress somehow. How will you know you made progress on this goal? Write out some ideas.
- Encouraging words: Give yourself a strong pep talk, encouraging words, or an inspiring quote go with each goal.
- How I will celebrate at the end of 2018?
I have completed the action plan steps for one of my goals so you can see what it looks like. You can also check out the founder Lara’s example of the planning process here.
While I love to play with colored pens and make things pretty. Do NOT worry about what your goal planning sheets look like. It’s not about what the words look like on the page, it’s about how the words will transform your decisions and actions throughout the year. I have to keep reminding myself of this as well. Notice the mark outs and mismatched colors in a few of the images? Well please know that I struggled to post those. I am a recovering perfectionist. We are all a work in progress and goal setting is no different. I plan to complete my other 4 action sheets over the next few days.
If you follow me on social you know I am all about accountability, planning and staying organized. When setting goals and tracking progress throughout the year accountability and organization are key. I have tried almost every method under the sun both paper and electronic. Though I have most of my daytime job calendar in my iphone calendar, I still like to use a paper journal for my goals, habit tracking and daily reflection. I try to make it a habit each morning and each evening to reflect on my progress both on a daily basis and as related to my larger goals. Like everyone I get busy and will slip out of my routine from time to time. In those cases, I try to take some extra time over the weekend to catch up. I find if I wait longer than 3 days to reflect and track my progress I have forgotten what all of the information I need. For the past two years, I mostly used my BUJO (Bullet Journal) and while I loved that method, I found I didn’t always feel inspired to design the pages and layouts each week and thus my tracking would become inconsistent or unorganized.
This year I will be using this planner from Target along with my monthly Tending Sheets from Cultivate What Matters to track my progress and keep my life organized and full of joy. The best part is the tending sheets can be color coded to match your goals so you can see your progress over time. You can either keep the tending (tracking) sheets in the Cultivate What Matters Planning notebook, hang them in your office or add them to your daily planner like I plan to do.
So what will I be tracking this year? I will be focused on the small steps and actions that will take me towards my goals. From month to month my tracking may change depending on my progress. I will adjust my tracking and the action steps for that month accordingly to my needs.
Below is a sampling of some of the habits I have tracked in the past and areas I try to reflect on either on a daily or weekly basis.
- Self care activity
- Exercise (minutes, activity, level, etc)
- Water intake
- Emotions (high, low, happy sad, stressed)
For January I think I will track the following
- Exercise Goal: 30 minutes 5 days/week
- Clean eating Goal: 6 days/ week
- Self Care/Love Goal: At least one conscious act of self care/love EVERYDAY (journaling, reading a book, taking a bath, meditating, facial, etc)
- Gratitude Goal: Record at least one thing I am grateful for each day. If I fall down the comparison hole on social media, I should record 2 more things I am grateful for.
So where do I go from here? I have used some of the starting steps from each goal to complete my first monthly task list. So looking ahead I will begin to take action on some of the initial items on my tending list.
I also went through my tending list and added some of the checkpoints to my planner. This way, my tending list and day to day planner will be synced and both will help me track and celebrate my progress toward my goals. I am already checking some items off the list like starting a photo album on my phone to collect screenshots of beautiful emails, texts, comments or notes that from all of you, Not only will capturing these correspondence help me feel better when I am down, but they will also help me reflect on and celebrate the success of My Cancer Chic and lives the blog touches throughout the year. I also just signed up for ShineTexts which are amazing affirmations texts sent right to your phone each day. I can’t want to have all of that positivity coming my way. You can register now and get the same awesomeness in your inbox.
I wanted to share my goal setting process with you all to hold myself accountable and to inspire you to reflect on 2017 and set your own goals for 2018 which encourage you to live with more joy. I hope you found this post helpful and I would love to know what your goals are for 2018. Tag me on social media @mycancerchic when you set your priorities and goals for 2018.