Happy 2020! A new decade a new… twenty resolutions.
Let’s talk about it. Even if I’ve given no thought to what I’d truly like to achieve or do in the new year, I sit down *every year* to brainstorm all of the things it would be great to do.
Over the past few months, my husband and I have gone through some changes ie. moving countries… Naturally, starting all over has a way of opening your eyes to what you truly have the wherewithal to pour your precious time and energy into.
When January rolled around, I thought: I’m bloody exhausted. All I want to do is focus on who and what I care about most.
I look to last year’s goals and while some make sense, I also see ten more that don’t. For example, one was to listen to podcasts and another run a 5K. These are great things to do but really, why? They are so arbitrarily chosen that I want to facepalm myself. Not only have I had a habit of setting random goals, but the lack of follow-through did nothing for my self-confidence. Can you relate?
I’ve noticed this recurring bad goal-setting habit wherein I pick ‘good goals’ like running a 5K, drinking less Diet Coke, and reading X amount of books that I miss the point of a goal in the pursuit of doing good and commendable things for the sake of doing them.Really, a goal should be a stepping stone; it should carry you toward one of two things: a) your priorities or b) a larger goal that is comprised of multiple smaller goals. Click To Tweet
I think a lot of us tend to punch in the dark when it comes to goal setting. So, I’ve laid out the steps that I’ve followed this year when it comes to my own goal setting. I’ll also link some additional resources below.
1.) Get real.
It’s just you and the pen here. Write down your fears first. What are you afraid of and how is that holding you back? Next, write out what you believe (in your heart) what you’re actually capable of in this season.
Are you really going to be able to stick to that intense gym routine and strict keto diet while also managing full-time work, school, and family commitments? Stop it.
2.) Establish your priorities.
Your priorities are what and who you truly care about and want to focus your attention on. As an example, mine include fostering my faith, relationships with family and friends, and continuing my education. Your priorities become the fuel for avoiding burnout; you naturally want to focus on your priorities. In the long run, you’re less likely to “give up” on goals that are oriented around what you genuinely care about.
Example: After living in another country, I am enjoying spending time with family and friends. It’s become a priority that in the midst of life’s business I make the time to see my Mom, Dad, sister, and friends. I’ve prioritized dinner and coffee dates with my parents and friends, dog walks with my husband, and saying ‘yes’ to invitations.
3.) Do a brain dump.
Write out every little idea/goal that comes to mind, even the nonsensical ones. Get it all out there: your desire to start knitting, traveling or working out 3 times a week. Drinking more water, growing your blog, saving X amount of money. Get imaginative and specific.
4.) Circle the goals/ideas that focus on your priorities.
Example: I wrote down a number of things this year including reading the Bible daily, exercising, drinking less caffeine, writing/blogging more, reading more, etc.
I circled the ones that aligned with what I most care about including daily Word time. I also crossed out the ones that didn’t suit my priorities specifically. While blogging is important, I make time for it naturally. I don’t need to set a goal to do it daily or weekly. That kind of goal would just cause burn out.
5.) Choose one goal. That’s it.
I know you want to do all the things, but really, it takes time to develop a habit. You can’t introduce three new habits and not expect to hit a wall that will cause burnout and neglect.
Example: I chose to read the Bible daily as my main priority for 2020. I want to form the habit of reading the Word of God on a regular basis. I’ve set this goal before though in addition to five others. Rather than overwhelming myself, I’ve chosen to focus on the one thing that truly matters and will have the most positive impact on my life.
6.) Make it S.M.A.R.T.
As I said, I’ve made the goal to read the Word daily before. I failed to prepare though. I set the goal/intention and neglected it. It’s sort of similar to choosing a spot on the map and not choosing a course. You can’t just expect to arrive somewhere without a plan to get there.
S – Specific. Reading the Word is specific, but having a reading plan is even more specific. There are hundreds of thousands of Bible reading plans out there. So I went and picked one. I’ll link some Bible reading plans by BibleStudyTools here.
M – Measurable. In addition to finding a plan that I liked, I wanted a plan for following the plan. So, I chose to read for 3 minutes a day or 21 minutes/week. I measure my three minutes by setting a timer on my phone and writing the time of day down on my planner.
A – Attainable. IMHO, this is the most important aspect to consider when you’re setting your goal. Personally, I needed to make the goal so attainable that it would be ridiculous not to achieve it. If it’s impossible not to do, it’s going to get done. Three minutes is long enough to read a substantial amount (such as a small chapter) but short enough that I can do it anywhere at any time of the day.
R – Relevant. Is it relevant to your priorities? Are you going to care about it in 6 months time? Really consider what you are choosing to spend your time and energy doing.
T – Timely. Say your goal is to read the Bible in full in a year. You’ll want to break down that goal so you know exactly how much reading you’ll need to do per day/week/month. Make sure you’ve got your deadline and your road map set to achieve the goal in a timely manner.
7.) Finally, be kind to yourself and understand that there is no such thing as perfect.
We, perfectionists, know the immense pressure of doing things “perfectly.” But news flash, your idea of perfect isn’t actually perfect. Yup, even you with the high standards. So stop being so hard on yourself!
A motto I’ve recently adopted from Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo and her book Better Than Perfect is literally her book title “better than perfect.” Better than perfect means doing what you say you’re going to do or want to do over not doing it out of fear of doing it imperfectly. Done is better than perfect.
To recap, identifying what truly matters to you is going to be the fire under your butt to setting (and keeping!) goals that don’t suck in the New Year.
I’d love to know your thoughts down below on what your 2020 resolutions/goals are going to be and how they reflect what matters most to you!