And I mean real serious.
When I wrote out my goals for 2019, I did not put a lot of thought or effort into it. I just wrote them down in bright colours and thought, these seem pretty good, lets roll with it. I wrote about them in my last post, you can read it here.
Now, after a full year of living in my body, – not that I go changing bodies every year, that would be strange and awesome – and living with my goals. I was able to look at what I achieved and what I didn’t. Why they didn’t work and how I could improve. During the year, after learning much about goal setting in various forms, I was able to narrow down what I think are the four most important things for creating goals and achieving them.
Here they are.
1. Goal setting needs accountability
Not just to be stuck on your wall (no matter how pretty they look) or written in your diary where only you can see it. Goals need someone else knowing them, other than yourself, to be successful. It is easy, too easy, for me to go ‘Right, I’m done with these’ on a not so wonderful day and not be held accountable. You need someone you can reach out to for motivation, help or just to have a chat with on those days that are a little tougher, when your goals seem unachievable or you’re finding it hard to get back on track.
Unless of course you are one of those people that are so goal driven you don’t need anyone, ever, to help you get there. I’ve never met one of those people…if you have, I would like to meet them.
So, go and tell someone, not just anyone but someone who you trust, won’t judge you and is happy to check in every now and then to see how you’re going. I have 3 people keeping me accountable, 4 if you include Sam, but he kind of just has to listen and doesn’t really get a choice. Poor guy.
Setting up that accountability means you are owning what you want from your life. Be proud of that. I know I am, because I want more for my life.
2. Goals need smaller goals
They need a plan of attack, not a crazy ten chapter book but a rough map of how to get there, at least when you’re first starting out. This is how I best know how to explain it:
I refuse to use to have Google maps or any navigation system, tell me how to get somewhere. I don’t want to know if I need to take the ‘first exit, or third exit at every round-a-bout on a single street. I just need to know that I straight until the end of the street and then turn left. That is good enough. I’ve seen the map; I know roughly where to go but I’m not bothered too much if I get a little sidetracked or thrown off course a little bit. If I turn right at the end of the street and have to do a U-turn, then that is okay. Life is meant to be flexible and fluid.
You don’t need to have every tiny detail listed but a few pointers won’t go astray.
3. Goals need a way of being tracked
This one didn’t hit me until very late in the year. I had no idea how I was going with my goals. Because my goals were so grand with no plan there wasn’t really a way for me to track them. However, once you break them down a bit, they become so much easier to track.
For example, I want to get rid of my asthma puffer and I have narrowed it down to dairy being the biggest cause of this. So, I am using a habit tracker to mark off each day that I don’t have dairy. The goal is not to consume dairy for 12 months to gradually wean the use of my asthma puffer.
As for the goal of being more consistent with my creativity, I drew up a schedule to see where I can fit in those hours around the things in my life that I can’t change. I then don’t have to think about where or when I can write or create my artwork, I’ve already scheduled it in. I just have to refer to it when I get a bit lost or sidetracked for too long.
I’m working on a new schedule right now, so I’ll show you and explain it in further detail as soon as I’m done.
Finally, and I think this is the most important one.
4. Goals need a WHY.
- Why am I doing this?
- Why these goals?
- Why now?
I repeat the answers to these to myself daily as a constant reminder. Without my why, my goals would fall by the wayside. They would become nothing because I have no attachment to them. They could honestly belong to anyone. When you initially write goals, you are full of emotions like excitement and anticipation. You are on a high, like ‘Yeah, I can do this!’, but after a while they become just words on paper. This is where your why comes in. It will take you beyond those early days and weeks, when it becomes harder to work towards your goals. If I’m having a tough day, this is what I repeat to myself because it gets me back on track.
That is it. Simple, right?
So what are my goal you ask? Well here are my personal and health goals:
- Wake up at 6AM:
- Begin by setting alarm for 6:15am.
- Increase to 6am after 2 months.
- Increase my weekly income:
- Work an extra day or hours at my current job.
- Sell artworks in a combination of originals, commissions and prints.
- Become consistent with my artwork and writing:
- Draw up a schedule where it is easily visible or can refer to easily – allocate time each day to create (write, draw, paint etc).
- Spend less time on my phone…
- Strengthen my ability to work hard, commit and focus
- No more procrastinating as stress relief. For example, mindlessly scrolling social media, looking up pointless things on the web, reading the crappy news websites.
- For downtime I can meditate, go for a walk, do yoga, read a book (preferably fiction and not an audiobook)
- Make time for myself:
- Allocate either half an hour or an hour per day for myself. Morning or evening – this is to be outside my creative time.
- I will journal, work out, meditate, read.
- Write a plan for my first book:
- To be done at towards the end of the year after I have proven to myself that I can consistently write for myself and my blog.
- Get rid of my asthma puffer:
- Give up dairy for 12 months – it is my biggest asthma trigger.
- No sugar for 3 months:
- I am addicted – own this.
- No refined sugar (maple syrup, dried fruits and coconut sugar allowed in minimal quantities).
- Increase smoothies, fruit, veg, nuts and seeds to avoid supplements.
- Lower my body fat percentage and increase muscle mass:
- To maintain my joints, especially my neck, back, knees and hips.
- 3 days of strength training. body weight and small weights.
- 3 days of cardio (jogging, running, swimming or cycling).
- Do some form of low intensity cardio daily (walk, yoga).
- Stay consistent.
They probably seem super boring! But my biggest overall goal is to become consistent, mostly for my mental and physical health. Why? For myself mainly but also for my family. Without being consistent, I won’t be able to achieve all my other goals. Consistency is my biggest challenge and so I am working on my daily systems and habits to become more consistent in my life with anything that I do. More on this later.
There you have it. Goal setting in a nutshell. I cannot take credit for what I have written about on how to create goals. Many other, much wiser people have said it all before me, but this is my take on it, and I hope it inspires you to write down a few or maybe just one.