I’ve been told we’re supposed to call them goals and not resolutions now. Personally, I don’t think it matters what you call them as long as you are committed to working toward them.
The turn of the year is always an exciting time for me because I absolutely love the idea of a fresh start – of wiping the slate clean and getting another chance to get it right. To be better. To do more. Or less. To push ourselves. To love deeper.
This year, I tried to focus on ending the year with gratitude. I recently began following Shauna Niequist on Twitter, and she posted about a tradition she and her family do. Each New Year’s Eve, they write down 10 things they are thankful for from that year. My husband and I adopted this exercise this year, and it was so uplifting to reflect on the year and list out all of the experiences we are grateful to have had. I highly recommend it.
Once we finished those lists, we turned to a new page and wrote out our goals for 2018. We decided on five categories:
We each wrote down at least one goal in each category. Then we discussed ways to make them realities.
I wanted to share some perimeters we set for our goals this year, in hopes of helping you crush it in 2018.
1. Set Attainable Goals
Tyler always tells me I am “all or nothing.” It’s actually become a common joke in our house. I jump in the car and turn the heat on full blast at 90 degrees. “All or nothing,” Tyler will say. I talk about wanting to run more often and 30 minutes later register for a full marathon. “All or nothing.” I hear about a new podcast and listen to the entire season in one day. “All or nothing.”
I laugh when he says it, but the truth is I do have tendencies to be a bit impulsive, and when I commit to something I really commit… at first, anyway. This is usually why I am terrible at new year’s resolutions. I take off full speed ahead on January 1st after some lofty, unrealistic goal, filled with ambition and drive. “This year, I’m going to travel to the moon, adopt a polar bear and solve world hunger.”
All or nothing.
Only it ends up being nothing. Because we all know, it is not realistic for me to travel to the moon, adopt a polar bear and solve world hunger – not all in the same year anyway. But on January 1st, when I get on that inspirational high, there’s no telling me otherwise.
So this year, we tried to shut that down before it even began by making sure all of our goals are actually attainable. For instance, for my physical goal I wanted to try to run every day. Maybe for some people this is totally possible, but the reality is, this is my first year running my media company full time, I’m trying to blog twice a week and write a book and spend time with my husband and have a social life and keep my pets alive, so running every single day is probably not going to happen. I am now realistically aiming to run 3-4 times each week, which is totally doable and healthy for me. Attainable goal.
2. Be Specific
If being unrealistic with goals is the most common mistake people make on New Year’s Day, not being specific enough has got to be a close second. This year, we intentionally set precise goals to work toward. For our financial goals, instead of “save more,” Tyler put a target amount to shoot for each month. For personal, instead of “write more,” I’m aiming to write from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. every Friday.
When we’re not definitive, it gives us too much wiggle room to trick ourselves into thinking we’re making more progress than we actually are. We may not want to be specific because it opens us up to failure. If I say I’m going read 40 books, and I only read 30, then I failed at my goal. Failing makes us feel vulnerable, and none of us like that. (I’ll write a little more about failure further along in the post.) The truth is, setting specific goals should motivate us to have an exact target to work toward. So be brave, and be specific.
3. Check Yo Self
The reason we love new year ressies is because they are full of possibility. If we’re being honest, they are not as fun three months later when you are no longer feeling motivated to change. That’s why it’s important to set a time to check in on your progress a few times during the year.
I set a reminder on my calendar for the end of March, to prompt Tyler and myself to check our progress and see where we stand when it comes to accomplishing our goals. We plan to do this every three months. This is necessary for a couple of reasons.
- If you have neglected your goals, it serves as a reminder to get back on track.
- If you are frustrated that your goals are not as easy to achieve as you thought they would be, this is a fabulous time to think back on why you set them in the first place. It can help you get motivated once again to finish what you started.
Check yo self.
4. If Nothing Changes, You Are Still Enough
I need to get this tattooed on my forehead or something because I forget it
It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype of goal-setting and achieving and growing and learning and progress. And while these things are not bad, at the end of the day, accomplishing or not accomplishing your goals does not define who you are as a person.
If nothing changes in 2018 – if you do not take a single step toward being a more successful person than you are today, if you do not make more money, lose more weight, read more books, spend less time on social media, learn a new skill, travel to a new country, go to the moon, adopt a polar bear or solve world hunger, you will be ok because you are enough. You are lovable and capable and worthy exactly as you are.
Desiring to do better – to be better – is a positive exercise, but it in no way gives you more purpose or validation than you have right now. Today.
So I hope you rock 2018. I hope you set attainable and specific goals, and I hope you check in on them throughout the year and remind yourself why you started this journey. And if December 31st rolls around and nothing has changed
I hope you know you are enough.