I grew up in a family of glowing free spirits as the only “type A” or highly regimented and a fairly neurotic organized member. Perhaps to comfort me my mother has always added “but you not annoying and preachy about it…”. I’m not quite sure when or how I became like this exactly but it seems to have always worked for me. Sometimes I think being in boarding school since grade 7 has something to do with it, at least in part.
I’ve always been a strong believer of goal setting by way of writing lists. I pretty much have lists for all sorts of things. For work- collections of talent, funders, and a random one of people simply doing interesting things around the world. My personal collections are organized by senses- things I see, taste, feel, hear and smell or hope to. While it’s certainly easy to get carried away in developing lists, whether they are collections like mine, or to do lists for everyday tasks, lists can help you to improve your life and goals.
I don’t know about you, but these days I’m finding that people in my world are less interested in the idea of setting resolutions and will often say “I don’t believe in resolutions… I just live my life…”. While I obviously think everyone should live the way they wish, I’m still one of those people who believes in goal setting and tracking. Goals will change your life for the better. Left to chance however, life generally has a significantly less likelihood of just happening the way you want. Setting goals doesn’t have to be so intense or intimidating. It can be reflective, intentional, playful and inspiring all at once.
Decide Your Start Date & Timeframe
To begin, you must decide when you’d like to start. I personally craft my yearly goals on my birthday and so my year begins then. Since I’m an October baby, my year obviously doesn’t fall on the celebrated new year but it’s a new year for me so I do it. I’ve found that I’m a lot more motivated to improve my life when my birthday comes around compared to any other time of the year. That said, finding a time where you’re highly most motivated is important in setting clear intention and direction for your life. For you it might very well be new years, or maybe September for others coming back from the summer or symbolically springtime, a time for freshness. Just decide.
Visualize & Write Everything Down
Once you’ve decided on the when, make sure your goals are clear, specific and measurable otherwise they won’t feel attainable. I can write more about this another time but something that helps me is thinking “This time next year I will be/ have…”. In doing so, I can picture myself have accomplished that goal and can feel it too. Although the art of the visualization is often dismissed as unrealistic daydreaming, it really is a powerful step in achieving goals. If you can’t picture and feel it, then you won’t bother doing it.
Put It Into the Universe
Putting your goals out into the universe will help you stay true to them. Depending on your comfort level, you could put them somewhere you can see them everyday. Maybe your fridge, mirror or if you journal daily put them there. On the other side of the spectrum, you could share them with family, friends, colleagues and even online.
In my experience I’ve found that the more “public” your goals are, the more accountable you’ll be. This is in part due to the fact that if you share a goal, whoever you share with will keep asking you how it’s going all the time. I’ve shared many goals online before like fitness, losing weight, eating vegan and more recently, this daily blog.
Just Do it. Again
Once you have your goals all set and ready to go, just do it. It’s that simple. In my years of working with successful individuals, I have come to the conclusion that it’s not how well you do something, it’s that you do something. Most people I’ve worked with are not particularly skilled and great at what they do, at least not naturally. It’s that they become skilled and great at what they do because they keep doing it over and over again. Practice will pretty much always make perfect.
Whatever your goals are, you have to understand that you will likely have days where you won’t feel like trying and that’s ok too. Just don’t stop trying. You may even have days when you fail or skip working on that goal, and that’s ok too. Just don’t stop trying again and again and again.
Be sure to let me know your tips for successful goal setting and tracking you use in your life.
Until next time – live & love,