Oh my gosh! It's December already! It seems like I was just getting ready and planning for 2017 but in less than four weeks it will be 2018! Did you set goals for yourself this year? Were you able to accomplish all of them? Maybe you accomplished a few of them but not all? That's OK! Congratulate yourself for the wins you did have! Every win no matter how small or seemingly insignificant is still a WIN! Have you begun setting goals for 2018? Even if they are simple things that you want to do or hope to accomplish, setting goals gives you a template or map for making your way through the next twelve months! With a little discipline, setting and achieving your goals in 2018 is easier than you think,
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.
2 Chronicles 15:7
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SETTING AND ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS IN 2018
I'm a bit obsessed with setting goals for myself. Many of us start with the “New Years Resolutions,” which are quickly forgotten as life takes over. We may say out loud to our friends and family that we want to do this or that, but as the year comes to an end we realize that we didn't really accomplish what we'd said we wanted to. Why is that? Why do we say things and not follow through? It's so easy to just SAY things, but the follow-through is what most of us have a problem with. So how do you follow through with accomplishing the goals you've set for yourself? Here is the key to setting and achieving your goals in 2018 and beyond.
Set Motivating Goals
If you are going to set a goal, it needs to be something that you are actually motivated to accomplish. If you have a vague interest in making it happen – it most likely will NOT happen! Don't set goals for yourself based on what others are doing or what others think you should do. Your goals need to be important to YOU and no one else. It could be anything from losing weight, starting a fitness plan, going to college, or starting a blog. Whatever it is, make sure you have a true desire and drive to make them happen. When you set goals that you really don't have a fire for achieving, the lack of achievement can actually leave you with a sense of failure.
The best way to find out what these motivating goals are is to write down all that you want to accomplish. Then, go through each one and list a ‘WHY' for why you want to achieve them and put them in an order of importance to you. From that, write down (for each one) how disappointed you would be if you were unable to accomplish it. Go back thru the list and review your answers. If you won't be too disappointed for not accomplishing it, it probably isn't something that you'll be motivated towards making happen.
Last year I set several goals (around 15 or so). Some were common – working out 4 days per week. Some were important to me – getting my license to carry and going to the gun range. Some were more personal – growing in my walk with God. I didn't accomplish every single one of them – specifically, I didn't complete a 3K, but I did manage to accomplish the majority of them. Each win left me feeling more and more confident in myself and my abilities to challenge myself. When I looked back on the year, I noticed that the ones I didn't accomplish were actually not that important to me, which is most likely why I didn't work harder on accomplishing them.
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed - Psalm 20:4Click To Tweet
Set SMART Goals
I'm sure you've heard of the term “SMART Goals” but are you actually setting SMART Goals for yourself? In a nutshell, SMART goals are:
Be sure your goals are clearly defined. You must have a solid view of what your end-goal is vague or too broad, you are less likely to keep focused on it. One example of a vague goal would be “I want to have more money.” A more specific goal would be “to reduce monthly expenses.” Another example of a vague goal would be “I want to be more sociable this year because I have no friends.” A more specific goal would be along the lines of “I want to join a women's' group so I can be more sociable and make new friends.”
In the previous example, “be more sociable” is not really a measurable goal. However, “joining a women's group” is clearly measurable. In regard to the goal of reducing expenses, you can measure it by giving it a value (reduce expenses by X% each month). If a goal isn't measurable, how will you know if you are making progress?
I'm a huge believer in “go big or go home,” however, make sure your goals are actually attainable. Don't set the standard so high or the goal so far out there that it's not realistic for you to attain them. Yes, set big goals if you want to challenge yourself, but make sure there is an ACTUAL possibility of you achieving them! For example, wanting to lose 30 pounds in 2 months is not realistic, nor is it healthy. When you set goals that are unrealistic, you set yourself up for disappointment and self-defeating thoughts towards attaining other goals. Start small and build up to the big stuff so your confidence will also grow!
Be sure the goals you are setting are relevant to the direction of your life (or where you want your life to be). For the most part, they should be somewhat related to the changes in your lifestyle needed to accomplish the goals are in line with each other and not all over the place. You only have so much time in your day for your normal activities. Achieving goals takes time away from that so set goals that complement each other. One of my past goals included more physical activity, my walk with God, and getting my dogs more exercise. While they seem completely different, I was able to take my dogs to the park several times a week, get my own physical activity in during that time, and also sit and reflect on life and talk with God. These were all important to me and related to my lifestyle, which enabled me to accomplish them all without getting overwhelmed.
It's important to give yourself a deadline for accomplishing each goal. Open-ended goals lead to procrastination (I'll get around to it later) which leads to never getting around to it. Even self-imposed deadlines give you a sense of urgency for completing a task. This is why it is important to set short and long-term goals so that you aren't overwhelmed with having too much to do in a short amount of time. Some of your short-termed goals could actually be stepping stones to accomplishing a long-term goal.
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage - Proverbs 21:5Click To Tweet
Write Your Goals Down
Did you know that by writing your goals down, you are more likely to work on and achieve them? Simply saying what you want to do is really just a temporary thought that quickly gets replaced with all the life stuff. When you write your goals down, you are sort of making a commitment in writing to yourself. You know the whole “power of positivity” stuff like keeping motivating and encouraging quotes visible in your home or workspace? Well, this same concept applies to setting and achieving goals. Write them down and post them everywhere! Seriously! You can either write just a list of your goals and stick them to your bathroom mirror so you see them while getting ready for your day. Tape them to your computer screen so they are right there with you throughout your day. If you make To-Do lists, incorporate your goals into the list or put them across the top. JUST WRITE THEM DOWN!!
Have an Action Plan
For every plan we make in life, we typically have a map for accomplishing it. If we are going on a trip, we map out the route. Moms with kids definitely have a daily schedule for getting through each day. Why shouldn't setting and achieving goals be any different? If you want to lose weight, what specific steps are you going to take to achieve that? If you want to get a promotion at work, what steps do you need to take to get there? Always have a map for where you want to go in life and be sure to include “pit stops” along the way for taking a break or reviewing the plan to see if it needs to be adjusted. Your action plan can (and should) include scheduling time on your planner. Consider yourself an appointment that you have to go to! You are important and you should treat yourself with the same importance as doctor visits or other things you would normally pencil in on your calendar.
Hold Yourself Accountable!
It is too easy to get caught in that thing called “life” and let your goals fall to the bottom of your “to-do” list. Staying motivated and having discipline will keep you on track. Whether you put something on your calendar or planner to check-in with yourself once a week or month or put an alarm on your phone to remind you, you have to be accountable to yourself and stay on top of it! Another option is to find an accountability partner and help each other stay on track with achieving your goal milestones.
BRING IT ON 2018!
So now that you have the foundation for setting and achieving your goals, what are you waiting for? What changes or improvements have you wanted to make in your life? Every January 1st, we get to begin a new chapter of our lives. It's an opportunity to overcome obstacles, improve our personal or professional lives, improve our walk with God. So many opportunities for making amazing changes in our lives. The best way to get started is with a great planner! CLICK HERE for some the best planners that I've come across for bloggers and goal-getters!