Let me start by saying nothing is easy, I know false advertising, but if we could make goal setting easy these 4 steps would be your thing. But seriously I am always looking for the easy way (no, I’m not lazy ;)- I’m just efficient and why spend too long doing something I can do quickly and more efficiently.) There are ways to making thing easier though and when it comes to goals, I’ve found great success with using these tips!
I think a lot about a lot of things. Deep I know but really. I’m not saying I philosophize or have particularly deep thoughts, especially now with 2 young children. I’m just someone who spends a lot of time thinking about a myriad of things. One of the things that’s always on my mind is how to live a life that’s complete and full and feels stress free and happy! Yea, I know no small task.
To be honest I think about this so much and so often and accomplish it so infrequently that I will see copious amounts of time of thought doesn’t necessarily a success make. Or something like that…
Overall I would say that what I’m thinking about is how to be better, how to help those around me, how to make this world more enjoyable a lot of pretty big things and it all falls under the category of goal setting. Goal setting has become very important to me as of late it helps contain my thought, it helps me to name it, and to put it into tasks that feel attainable. I’ve tried lots of ways and am still learning about setting goals but for now I’ve got 4 great tips that have helped me tremendously.
1. Name specific goals.
One of the things that I’ve found most helpful to curb my overthinking and feel like I’m making progress is to be really mindful about naming my goals. And to get more specific about them. I’m often thinking too big- like I want to be happy. Well no shit, Sherlock. It would be a bit strange for me to seek unhappiness in my life. I’ve got to break it down. What does happiness look like for me? What will help me to acquire happiness? I have to stop here for a minute and say this is VERY TOUGH. One I don’t believe that happiness is something I will just find one day, I need to be aware of the moments that already exist. So this is the first difficulty with some of my goals they are too broad. I try to do some brainstorming about general feelings I want in my life, because I think in the terms of feelings often- hence the happiness thing. Then I try to name what would help me have that feeling and pick goals accordingly. ie. One of my October goals is to have a morning gratitude practice, where I write down a few things I’m grateful for everyday because this helps me to refocus by realizing the happy stuff is happening right now and sometimes I’m failing to notice! I think writing things down helps me so much, which brings me to the 2nd step.
2. Write them down.
This is so important for me!!!! And apparently this isn’t ground breaking, Forbes has a good article about this. I’m sure there are a ton of facts about why writing down your goals. As stated in the Forbes article the study done by Gail Matthews at Dominican University showed that writing down your goals helped you to accomplish more than if you didn’t. And if that’s not enough. If you’re busy and scatter brained like yours truly then it helps to write them down for the sole ( can we pause for a minute here and discuss why sole with this meaning is spelled the same as sole of your foot, that’s just weird, I actually had to look this up because it seemed too strange to be true!) purpose of remembering. Now, do you see with my tangential thinking why I may need to write crap down. I think part of why it works, and I’d imagine the study at Dominican University looked into and explained this further, is that it gives me a new sense of accountability once it’s written down. Speaking of accountability.
3. Find a buddy.
This for me has been amazing. I cannot tell you how long ago but I’m thinking it was the beginning of 2015 a good friend of mine who I’ve known for about 10 years and I were discussing New Year’s resolutions and we were commenting how we liked making them but sometimes it seemed so lofty and so far away. We thought monthly goals would work and we decided we’d check in with each other to share our goals and give updates on them whenever. This is not a very complex system at all (which I love about it!) We literally think of a few goals a month ( I think we both usually pick 3 or 4.) We share with each other via text or email (sadly we don’t live close.) And then throughout the month when we feel like it we check in, maybe to say oh hey I’m doing this thing that I said I was going to, go me! And then cheer each other on. It’s really a fabulous system and I bet you have someone as awesome as this in your life who would be totally up for this.
4. Make a specific time for goal setting.
The last tip is just as important as the others. Life is freaking busy and I guess for the most part that is a good thing. But this aspect can often get in the way of planning or being strategic in our lives because when there are dishes to be done, children to be raised, and Real Housewives to be watched who has time for things like goal setting ;). I’m going to be honest and say that of my 4 tips this is the one I’m least regimented with and that is mainly because I wish I had more time set aside for goal setting and I’m thinking that I should be blocking time for this out more regularly in my schedule. I will say that the monthly process has been such an improvement for me though because its consistent and helps me to have a time frame that feels do-able. If I’m not loving a goal I only have tops 31 days to try to make it work and then I can choose a new one. Also, it helps to not feel overwhelmed by another task in my life.
So what’s your plan? Any new goals you’re trying out for the end of 2015? Who says we can only start fresh on January 1st? Set a goal, follow these steps, and then give someone a high five because heck you’re awesome!
For some more great ideas and another take on making your goals a reality go check out my friend Kristin over at Toddler and Tomatoes and her thoughts!