Recently, I’ve been really into working on the goals I set for this year, but I know that normally by February the goal motivation and energy of many have already started to run out. I have always been a goal-oriented person, but I realize that not everyone is, which is why I wanted to talk a little bit about I set and achieve goals. For anyone looking for some help with goal setting or wanting a little push to keep going, here are a few things about goals that I have picked up over the years.
Things to Know About Goals
- Goals don’t have to start on January 1st. January 1st is an arbitrary date. Even though I, personally, start my goal list every year in January, I have goals on my list that I started working on back in December of 2020. Last year, I added some goals to my list when we were already halfway through the year. It really doesn’t matter when you set your goals or when you start to work on them, what matters is that you start.
- Goals can change and evolve over time. Let’s say you made a goal to go to the gym five times a week. Maybe two months into your goal, you realize that you were a little too ambitious when you initially set your goal to go to the gym that many times per week. Instead of giving up on your goal completely, change it to something more manageable! Maybe try to go to the gym three times a week or see if at-home workouts work better for you and your schedule. Change the goal a little, and start working on your new goal!
- Goals don’t have to take a year to complete. Some goals might take a year to complete, but others could take multiple years, some only a few weeks. Just because it’s a shorter or longer-term goal does not mean you can’t add it to your list.
- Goals should be unique to you, and shouldn’t be what everyone else is doing. Just because “losing weight” is a common goal, doesn’t mean it needs to be yours. Maybe your health journey looks more like drinking more water every day or increasing your daily step goal. Think about what is important to you and structure your goals around that.
Goal Tips & Tricks
If you are struggling to actually achieve the goals that you’ve set, here are a few tips to help you get started.
- Break them down. If your goal is to become a millionaire, that’s great! But you are not going to get there overnight. What are the small steps that you can take every day, every week, or every month, to get there? If you work in a predominantly client-focused job, your smaller step might be to go to more networking events (when it’s safe, of course). If you feel that the next step for you on your journey to becoming a millionaire is getting a promotion, focus the next year or the next couple months on what you can do to get a good performance review. Just figure out what your smaller steps are, and work on those– I promise they add up!
- Make them attainable. Let’s continue with the millionaire example. Becoming a millionaire takes time and work. It’s probably not realistic to make something as big as that your year-end goal. Realistically, you are probably going to have your smaller, broken-down steps on your goal lists for a few years, and that’s ok! Dream as big as you want to for your long-term goals, but make sure your shorter-term ones are realistic and attainable.
- Schedule time for them. If you don’t set aside time to work on your goals, they won’t happen. Remember those smaller steps we talked about? Break those steps down into individual tasks and put those on your to-do list or in your calendar. That way, you are blocking off time to work on your goals and making active progress on them regularly.
In case it’s helpful for you to see a real-world example of goal setting and goal achievement, here are some examples of two goals I set and achieved in 2020.
Goal 1. I am a big journaler/photobook-er/memory keeper and one of my big, overarching goals, was (and still is!) to keep up with my memory keeping because I know how easy it is to fall behind. At the beginning of 2020, I wanted to use all the extra time I had on my hands to put a system in place that I could actually keep up with. I had tons of photos on my computer and phone, but what was I going to do with all of them? What about all the memorabilia I had collected from trips and vacations? How could I make it easier for myself to archive all my personal memorabilia in the future?
My first step: breaking my goal down into a few separate, manageable tasks. First, I would organize my memory boxes and create a system that would make it easy for me to organize new tickets, letters, and cards as they came in. Next, I would get started on creating photo books and finally print all the photos that were sitting on my computer and phone. My year-long goal was to have photo books for 2017 through 2019 completed so that all I would need to do is create one book per year to maintain my collection and keep it up-to-date moving forward. Then, week by week, month by month, I worked on each individual book, breaking each one down into a series of smaller tasks (gather photos from the year, delete duplicates, select the best ones, edit photos, create the book, etc.) until each one was completed. By the end of the year, I made a total of 4 photo books and had completely caught up with the current year!
Goal 2. Another goal I had in 2020 was to improve my physical health. In case you didn’t already know, I had hip surgery on my right hip back in 2016 to repair a torn labrum. At the time, I was also made aware of a tear that was starting to form on my left side too. Without regular exercises, guess who was at risk of needing surgery on their left hip? Yes, that would be me. Well, sure enough, at the beginning of 2020, as a direct result of not keeping up with my hip exercises, my left hip started hurting. That’s when I made it a goal to incorporate regular hip exercises in my workout routine and made a point to come up with a regular exercise schedule to make sure I didn’t fall off the wagon again. Fast forward to 2021– I am still doing my hip exercises regularly (and sticking to my exercise schedule!), and my hip hasn’t bothered me in months.
Hopefully sharing some of my goals and how I approached them gave you some inspiration and ideas of how you can set an achieve your own goals! Don’t forget, just because it isn’t January any more doesn’t mean you can’t start setting those goals!
Go get ’em!