I love goals. I think that’s quite apparent from this blog, as I set yearly goals and monthly goals and I have been doing so since I started writing here in 2009. I just think there’s something really fun about setting goals, about envisioning the things you want to achieve.
I don’t set goals because there’s any part of me that needs to be fixed. On a day to day basis, I am generally happy with my life and proud of what I have accomplished with the odds that have always been stacked against me.
But life isn’t perfect and I’m not the best version of myself yet. Can I just admit that and admit that yes, I want to be better tomorrow than I am today. I have areas of my life that I need to work on. Some of that work will happen in therapy and some of that work happens with me taking serious, deliberate action to achieve my goals in order to live my best life.
Lately, though, I feel as though I have not been as intentional with the goals I set nor have I been putting in the work to achieve the goals I make. It feels as if I’m setting these goals just to set them, you know?
I want to change that in 2016. One of my themes for this year is “deliberate action.” What I mean by this is I want to be very deliberate and mindful about how I am spending my time and my energy. I want to set goals that get me closer to where I want to be. I want to spend my time doing the things that bring me joy, peace, and fulfillment. I have very specific plans for this year and I want to come to the end of it feeling good about the choices I made and the goals I accomplished.
So, I made a list of long-term yearly goals. And then I took that list of goals and I figured out what I wanted to focus on during the first quarter of the year. Because I can’t focus on all of the goals. I can only focus on some of them.
After making my yearly goals, I drafted up a little worksheet to brainstorm what goals I wanted to attack during the first quarter. (My nerdiness when it comes to goals has reached new heights this year, and it makes me the happiest.)
So, let’s talk about the brainstorm session. I started with my main goal, which is to finish my novel and prepare it for publication. (Side note: even though I had written more than 70k words in my novel last year, I felt the need to change up my story a bit because the conflict between my two main characters didn’t feel authentic. It’s going to require some major rewrites, but the story will be much stronger because of it.)
I know I want to have my novel completely written and ready for the lengthy editing process by the end of June, which puts me at writing 100,000 words between now and then. But I also need to rework the outline I had written, which is my focus for January. So, I decided that my Quarter 1 goal for this category is to finish outlining this new version of my novel and to write 40,000 words. (Obviously, Quarter 2’s goal is already set in stone: write 60,000 words.)
From there, I broke this large quarterly goal into three monthly goals. So, this is what it ended up looking like:
Now, it was easy to figure out my focus for my main goal because it’s just one goal. What does this goal-setting process look like for the other categories that have multiple goals I want to complete? Well, this is where the fun starts!
Let’s focus on the health and fitness goals I want to achieve this year. This year, I want to lose 20 lbs, drink more water and less soda, exercise consistently, start therapy, and to figure out what is causing my nighttime congestion. That’s a lot of goals! But it feels less crazy when I break it down into what exactly I want to achieve this quarter and how it works out on a monthly basis.
First, I knew I needed to set a goal of losing 5 lbs in order to stay on pace to lose 20 lbs this year. I also wanted to start working on my exercise and daily water drinking habits, as these are the two habits I want to really focus on in 2016. I also had to start figuring out this dang nighttime congestion this quarter because I am very tired of it. So, with all that in mind, here’s what I came up with:
So, you can see that I’ve broken down these goals into manageable, actionable steps. Step One is January, in which I am solely focused on drinking 16 oz of water a day and exercising three times a week. Baby, baby, baby steps.
Step Two in February adds in using a neti pot (in the hopes this clears up my nighttime congestion) and to research therapists.
Step Three in March adds in the super simple, itty-bitty goal of making an appointment with a therapist (as well as continuing with drinking water, exercising weekly, and using the neti pot).
It is my hope that by making simple additions to my diet – for this quarter, drinking water daily and exercising – it will lead to slow and steady weight loss. I’m only shooting to lose 5 lbs this quarter! That’s not even 2 lbs a month… a completely doable goal. (This is why I’m aiming to only lose 20 lbs this year, even though that will take me less than halfway to my goal weight. I don’t need to lose all my weight at once. Being 20 lbs lighter would be amazing and it won’t take huge, sweeping, drastic changes to get me there.)
I want to be much more intentional with the goals I am setting each month, and to make sure that they lead me to completing the majority of the yearly goals I set. To be honest, there are really three main goals for me this year: to finish my novel, to lose 20 lbs, and to build an emergency fund of $1,000. Those are the goals that would leave me feeling majorly successful if I can mark them as complete by the end of 2016.
Okay, so all that said, what are my goals for January? Well, I have more than a few, but I won’t be sharing all of them on the blog. But here are some of the goals I want to achieve this month:
- I want to finish outlining my novel, so that I have a good idea for how I plan to rewrite my story.
- I want to exercise three times a week for 30 minutes at a time.
- I want to drink 16 oz of water per day, using my new handy-dandy water cup.
- I want to re-read the first Harry Potter novel and I want to watch Forrest Gump for the first time (I know, I know – how have I not seen this movie yet?).
- I want to get in the habit of using my planner and budget notebook on a daily basis, so that I feel more in control of my goals, my schedule, and my money.
What’s a goal you’re working towards this month?