At the end of each year, I talk about new year’s resolutions and what they look like for me. Generally, I despise the “one giant goal at the beginning of the year” approach. This is for a few reasons. 1) You shouldn’t necessarily wait until the new year to start working on a goal. (I do, however, understand that a specific start date can make things easier – so I’m not completely knocking this one.) 2) Plenty of people do not take the time needed to come up with a plan on achieving their goal. 3) Most people have given up by February 1st.
My past resolutions have generally focused on one thing each month. For example, my overall goal of “getting healthier” was broken down by month. January was all about drinking more water, February was daily meditation, etc. The idea was that I would focus on one goal a month; that goal would become a habit; then I just add on the next goal at the beginning of the next month.
That method is no longer working out for me.
I recently found a YouTube video that is all about setting achievable goals for 2023. (The video is called “Watch this if goal planning gives you anxiety.” I am forewarning you now: the process used in the video was quite anxiety-provoking for me. However, I think that’s partially because I tried to do it all at once, instead of taking breaks as suggested in the video.)
The key that I took away from the video was NOT setting a goal to be accomplished in 2023! The secret is to set goals that do not have a required completion date. You get it done when you can. In case you can’t watch the video right now, here’s the basic idea:
- Brainstorm every single thing you want to accomplish.
- Make a list of everything you *already do* daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly (so you can get an idea of how much time you even have).
- Separate your brain dump into categories.
- Mark off the goals that one-offs (things you don’t need an actual timeline for, you just need to get off your butt and do them).
- Slowly but surely, narrow the ideas down until you have the top six or so goals that you want to focus on.
- Break each goal down into about eight steps.
- Mark which steps are HABITS and which are PROJECTS.
- Now, the important part (at least for me): For the month of January, write down the first step for each goal. DO WHAT YOU CAN. If, at the end of January, you haven’t completed that step – THAT’S OKAY! Just move it on to February.
Hold your accountable (with a friend, a reward system, etc.) but do not beat yourself up for not accomplishing what you had hoped. Life happens and sometimes plans get thrown off course. This is probably why I have struggled in the past – I plan out my entire year and then, when life happens, it messes with everything and my schedule no longer works. That can be extremely discouraging. So, this year, do what you can as you can. Aim for your goals but don’t worry if it’s not working out as originally planned. Hey… maybe my goal this year should be having more flexibility…