Happy New Year!
I love spending time at the end of December reflecting on the previous year and planning for the new year. It’s one of the reasons I love having a December birthday as well, because my “personal” year closes at the same time as the calendar year and I can reflect on both.
I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions per se, but I love goal setting and picking a “word-of-the-year.”
Goal setting might not sound that different from choosing a resolution, but I find the small differences between the two make goal setting a lot more practical and attainable.
- Goal setting allows for flexibility in the outcome while working towards something. Resolutions are typically pass/fail. Failure is definitely NOT the goal, which is why I stay away from resolutions! That said, I sometimes choose goals that are more specific if they fall under the umbrella of a broader goal and I know it is feasible for me to accomplish.
- Goal setting begins with motivation and works towards practical application. When you know and work out of your source of motivation, you are much more likely to accomplish what you have set out to do.
- Goal setting doesn’t stop. If you are one of the very small percentage of people who are able to maintain their resolutions, you may find yourself in a predicament when you get to the end of the year. So you quit caffeine/woke up early/read daily/etc all year… what now? Goal setting is a process that you never finish. Maybe you finished one task under the heading of a goal, but there will always be something else to bring you closer to your goal next year.
Pinterest will give you a million different methods for goal setting, and I think everyone has to try it for themselves to discover what works best for them. Here is the method I use, but I recommend searching Pinterest and skimming through the different suggestions to find what works for you!
- Choose your theme. This is my word-of-the-year. I begin thinking and praying about this in December. Sometimes I get stuck on a word that doesn’t make sense but feels right, and usually it proves to be true of the year to come. Other times it’s more of a vision-casting word that tells what I would want to be true of the upcoming year. This year I actually have a word and a phrase. My word is rest and my phrase is enthusiastically simple.
- Categorize your life. Some people do this by their title- sister, daughter, employee, etc. I personally did it by the things I give my time and attention to. My categories are- health, spiritual, relationships, school, career, home, creative, reading, music, travel, and explore.
- Under each category, think of measurable and attainable things that will bring your theme word/phrase into each category of your life. For example, under “spiritual” I wrote “spend one day each month fasting and praying.” This is something I have done inconsistently in the past but has proven to bring rest and simplicity into my life, so I am setting a goal to incorporate it regularly. Under “home” I wrote, “clean room-of-the-day.” Choosing one room to clean each day will ensure my house stays tidy and means I’m not constantly doing damage control. This simplifies my schedule and brings me greater rest in the long run. For some categories, the goals I needed to set were really multi-faceted and not easily measured, so I just wrote a key word related to that goal to remind me to be intentional about it. For example, under “relationships” I simply wrote my boyfriend’s name, rather than specific things about our relationship.
- Break it down for January. What are the small tasks that need to happen in order to achieve the measurable goals? What is the very first step? Write those things down. A month’s worth of tasks you KNOW you can accomplish within the month. Put that list somewhere you will see it regularly and can check of each task as you complete it. At the end of the month, reassess and create one for February. Rinse and repeat!
What about you? Do you goal set? If so, what’s your favorite method?