Updated: May 14, 2018
I am a huge fan of setting goals, in fact, I set new ones all the time. I’m a strong believer that January is not the only (or best) time to set goals. Goals should be set and achieved all the time.
Setting new years goals has become so cliché, but I still think it’s important to do. The beginning of a new year is a fresh start and a great time to decide to just go for it.
That way, this time next year you can pop open a bottle of Champaign and celebrate your accomplishments and that you were brave enough to go for it. In this post I hope to help you set goals that are relevant and truly meaningful to you so that you can slay 2018 and feel like you are the boss of your life, because YOU ARE!
First off, I wanted to share with you a method of setting goals that I used last year and will be using from now on because it makes this process so much simpler.
Theme your Year
Instead of making a bunch of unrelated goals, try choosing a theme for your goals this year. Your theme can be one word or a small phrase, but should be something that is very specific to you.
For example, last year I set some goals for my blog. My theme was “Growth”. All of my goals were focused on the growth of my blog, and when I would come across decisions that I would have to make, it was easy: will this help to grow my blog?
If it would, I would consider it. If it wouldn’t, I would disregard it or save it for a more appropriate time.
Overall, the year took a turn that I wasn’t expecting, but in the end, I do feel like my blog grew and so did I. I learned so much and my blog “grew-up”, you could say.
How to Choose a Theme
If you already know what direction you want to go in 2018, you might find it easy to set a theme. But if you feel a bit lost, I have a little exercise that helps me chose my theme.
When you have a few minutes without distractions, take a blank sheet of paper and start writing down things that are important to you.
The best time to do this is first thing in the morning or when you have some alone time in the evening. The worst time to do this is just after scrolling social media. Seeing what the rest of the world is doing is inspiring, but will probably cause you to set goals that don’t actually resonate with you. They aren’t true to you, but they look good.
Write down things you want to change or get better at, and try to keep it to a few words each.
This can be in all areas of your life: health, relationships, self-development, career, or creative outlet.
Once you have everything written down, look at you page and see if there are similarities throughout. Maybe an underlying theme would be “Be Bold” if you want to take big steps in your life and career, or “Balance” if you want to excel in some areas but pull back in others.
Choosing a theme for the year might help you decide what’s most important to you, and help you focus on that. I also found that my specific goals were harder to remember, but I always knew what my theme was since it was just one word.
Once you decide what’s most important to you in 2018, you’ll want to set goals within your theme. I thought I’d just quickly walk through my key points to remember when setting goals.
How to set goals:
In my opinion, every good goal is set with these four things in mind:
1. It’s Measurable.
You need to make your goal measureable so that you care crystal clear on when you reach it. A goal like “I want to be healthier” is super common, especially come January. But how do you know when you’re reached this goal?
Is it when you are able to take less sick days? Is it when you are able to finish your workout without breaks? Is it when your skin clears up? Is it when you lose that extra 15lbs?
If you never know when you’ve reached it, it may seem unreachable. Subconsciously you may think you’ll never get there because you can’t see realistic steps, and there is no finish line.
So instead of a goal like “I want to be healthier”, try to set a goal more like “I want to be healthier so that I can lose 15 lbs”. This goal has a clear finish line, and it makes it seem more doable than the super vague, generic goal we started with.
2. It’s Specific.
This is where you reassure your subconscious that it is possible by explaining exactly how you’re going to get there. Going off the first example, if your goal is “to be healthier so that I can lose 15 lbs” then you need to figure out exactly how you’re going to do it.
So replace that statement with something like “I want to be healthier so that I can lose 15 lbs by eating a balanced breakfast each morning, exercising three times a week, and stop snacking before bed”.
This goal has very doable steps and a clear finish line.
3. It’s Written Down.
I am such a huge believer of putting pen to paper. Not only will writing your goals down help you remember them, it also steers you back on track when you get lost along the way. I like to write my goals down somewhere that I can find easily, or check regularly.
If you have a notebook or journal, this would be a good place. Or writing them in your weekly planner, or you could even create a vision board to illustrate your goals and hang it on the wall somewhere you go every day.
Personally, I use all three of these methods. And throughout the course of the goal, I write them down again whenever I feel I need to be more specific or need to be re-inspired.
If you’re more of a digital note-taker, you could create a word document, save a note on your phone, or even create a secret Pinterest board instead.
4. It’s Meaningful to You.
Like I mentioned, setting goals right after you put your phone down from scrolling Instagram or Facebook isn’t going to help you set goals that are true to you. My best advice would be to take a bit of a digital detox before setting any goals. We are so heavily influenced by social media and it can persuade us to want things we don’t actually want.
If you can’t bear the thought of leaving your phone for any length of time, then try thinking about your goals first thing in the morning when you can sit quietly with no distractions. And before you check your phone.
Let yourself dive deep into your thoughts, and try to listen to your intuition. Maybe you’ve wanted to lose weight for a few years now and it’s always one of your resolutions, but has never stuck. You may find what’s more important to you right now is going back to school, or traveling, or learning a new language.
Don’t feel guilty for not setting the goals you think you “should” be setting, worry more about the goals that truly resonate with you. Those are the ones you will make happen if you give enough energy to.
A really good way to tell if your goals actually resonate with you and are truly meaningful is to take another look at them in a day or two. If you have goals written down that you already forgot about, then they are probably not what you should focus your time and energy on.
This year, I encourage you to look deeper within yourself and set goals that really resonate with you. Find a theme that you can stick with and set goals that are challenging and achievable.
Make 2018 great!!