Getting Your @#%* Together
Updated: Feb 18, 2020
Having read, watched and listened to a lot information about effective goal setting I’d like to share what has worked for me. I hope you find it useful too.
Some people find it easy to work out what they want in life. Others struggle. Sometimes life takes a huge detour and we find ourselves lost and needing to deconstruct and re-evaluate everything. I have found it helpful to start by looking at the big picture:
Where would I like to be in 5 - 10 year’s time?
If you’ve never done this before why not give it a go. This was a game changer for me.
I spend time dreaming about what my life would look like if it unfolded perfectly? If you have an artistic or visual bent it might be helpful to create a “Vision Board.” This is a poster-sized piece of paper covered with images and words cut out from old magazines that ‘speak’ to you. Images and words that stand out as representative of the life you want to create.
I think about my life right now:
What have I already accomplished?
What is going well?
I revisit my values:
What is important to me?
What do I want out of life?
One activity I found helpful was to write my own eulogy thinking about what I would like people to say about me at my funeral. A little macabre perhaps but helpful. In last week’s blog I shared a mindfulness exercise that takes you through this exercise.
Answering such questions helps me work out which goals will have the biggest impact in getting me where I want to go.
Next I write down my talents, abilities, skills and resources remembering that resources and skills can include things and people and they tend to evolve with time so need to be revisited every year.
Can my talents, abilities, skills and resources help me achieve what I hope for?
Maybe I need to plan to obtain some new skills and resources in order to fulfill my dreams.
Finally I decide for the year ahead:
What do I want to let go of?
What do I want to give myself to?
For me this is often tricky and in fact I am struggling with it right now. Juggling competing interests and passions. So much we could do in life but with finite time and energy what is it we are really passionate about? We simply can’t say “yes” to everything.
I spell this out by formulating 3 or 4 specific major goals for the year. Any more and I have found I just can’t remember them. I make them positive statements that focus on success rather than failure. This year my goals reflect 4 key values: relationship, experience, action, and learning.
Research has found that the most successful people choose goals to reach for rather than problems to be solved. If you tend to set negative goals (eg. stop biting my nails) you can turn these into positive ones by asking yourself the question:
“What needs to be done?”
I make sure I write my goals down and get some feedback from those I trust. I want them to be challenging but doable and reflecting my values and beliefs. A 2015 study by psychologist, Gail Mathews, found that when people write down their goals, and make them specific, they are 33% more likely to achieve them than those who just think about them.
Do you ever set New Year’s resolutions? How do you go about it? What goals and dreams inspire you this year? With 2020 just beginning now is the perfect time to write them down. If you would enjoy doing so, feel free to share in the comment section below.
In my next blog I get right down to all things planning related. The best way I have found of planning my days, weeks and year to get stuff done.