Sick of that regret you feel at the end of the year, knowing the year literally just FLEW by and you didn’t accomplish what you wished you did? Whether they were personal goals for work, projects or certifications… you simply didn’t do them.
Trust me, it’s not just you. This is something that many people experience on a regular basis. People create New Year’s resolutions in hopes they can make a change that lasts for the next year. Yet within two months, most people have given up their resolutions entirely.
So if you aren’t good with New Year’s resolutions, but you want so badly to start making progress towards your goals, what types of change do you need to make to have the year ever? This post will help you figure out exactly what you need to do.
Before we get started, you find using a goal setting worksheet helpful.
Personal Goals for Development
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’re probably familiar with the concept of personal development and have seen me talk about it again and again.
Personal development is the process of improving yourself through positive habits and activities. It includes improving internal attributes such as self-awareness and happiness, as well as external attributes such as professional growth and wealth. Personal goals in life are therefore just personal development plans!
Personal development takes place over the course of our entire lives and is what allows us to achieve our goals and aspirations and increase our quality of life. Every dream is simply a goal without a plan!
If you’re feeling nervous about your bigger plan, maybe look at setting some realistic goals first.
Writing Personal Goals
Many times people say they want to do something, but it doesn’t align with who THEY are as a person. Sometimes, what people say they want is actually what other people have parroted to them for years.
It’s amazing how challenging it is to separate what you want from what other people tell you to do if you haven’t ever really sat down and thought this out before.
The other issue people have with trying to figure out what they want out of life is that they are afraid of receiving judgment from other people. Maybe they have family and friends who aren’t supportive, or attempts in the past to do the things they desired fell flat.
The first part of creating your best year ever is to sit down and determine what you want.
Sit down for 30 minutes in a comfortable place with a piece of paper and pen. Your goal is to write out all of the things you hope to accomplish in your lifetime. Put on quiet music if you prefer! I love to put calming essential oils in my diffuser when I do this particular task.
To make this task easier, separate your paper into four separate zones: personal, professional, family, and financial. For the next 30 minutes, write down all of the goals you’d like to accomplish.
The only thing to be mindful of is to not write down things you aren’t interested in (no, what your parents want for you doesn’t belong on the list, unless you 100% agree with them!). Additionally, I request that you withhold judgment and fear of your goals and write them down anyway.
What’s the point to this exercise? It starts to provide you with a better idea of what you hope to accomplish, and gives you concrete items to work with once you start designing your best year ever!
Think about what you’re unhappy with too!
The other mistake people make when creating their best year ever is not having the fire to help them remember why they are doing this.
Are there things in your life that make you miserable?
Write out specifically what you dislike about yourself at this moment and why you dislike it. If you need a little direction, consider breaking these down into the same four dimensions as the first exercise: write down what you dislike for these dimensions: personal, professional, family, and financial.
Here’s the trick though, I want you to get specific. As specific as possible! I don’t want you writing down meaningless phrases like ‘I am worthless,’ because that is only going to bring you down and won’t provide motivation when you need something to keep the fire in you alive.
Defining your Personal Objectives
So, are we clear and defined on who you are, what you want, and what you don’t want in your life? The next step in planning your goals is to define your objectives.
Objectives are less specific and provide a general overview over what you’d like to have in your life. While the aim is that these objectives shouldn’t change during your lifetime, that isn’t a hard and fast rule. You can always change and edit these at your whim, but these objectives serve as a reminder to help you remember why you’re choosing to make these adjustments in your life.
Some different types of personal goals include:
- Physical: Health, Fitness, Diet
- Emotional: Mental Health, Mindset, Confidence
- Environmental: How your living, work, learning, and play spaces impact you
- Financial: Income, Savings, Paying Off Debt
- Intellectual: Learning, Education, Hobbies
- Social: Friends, Social Events
- Spiritual: Church, Religion, Values
- Vocational: Work
For each area, write down what you would like to see for yourself during your lifetime.
When creating your outline for your life this time in a years time, having these dimensions in mind will help you create a structure that is best aligned with who you are as a person. Make sure to verify the tasks you determine you need to complete each day, week, month, and year align with your objectives.
Picking your Goals for the Year
So there is one more step before we go ahead with planning.
Remember those goals you wrote down at the beginning? Now is the time to pick out the ones you’d like to achieve in this coming year. While you should pick goals you know you are capable of accomplishing, don’t be afraid of selecting some that will stretch you a little bit. Some of the best goals you can select for yourself will be the big goals – even if you have to modify them down a little bit.
Go through each dimension we discussed in that section: family, financial, professional, and personal. Select 1-2 goals that you would like to start working on for your best year ever.
If some of the goals you select for yourself are bigger than it takes for you to complete in one year, start working on breaking down what you can do to start achieving your goal. For example, if you can’t save $25,000 to buy a brand new car in a years time, can you save $5000?
Tips for Breaking Down Goals
Once you work down the goals you select into tasks you can complete in a years time, start working them down as far as you can go. Can you do something every month to continue to your goal? What about every week? What about every day?
Let’s go back and look at that car example. If you get paid every other week, you will have 26 pay checks in the next year. That means you need to save approximately $200 from each pay check. That means from a monthly standpoint, you need to make sure to transfer $200 each pay check into a special car savings fund 2-3 times.
What about a goal you can break down even further? You want to make healthier choices, so you decide you are going to move daily so you can lose weight. You want to lose 10 pounds in your best year ever.
This means you need to burn around 96 extra calories every single day. What’s an easy way to incorporate this? Walk! Adding 1-2 miles of walking per day is easy. Walk on your breaks. Walk to work. Take the stairs! Determine where you are going to add this to your daily routine.
Ultimately, you want to break down the goals you picked into the smallest elements possible. We’ll come back to this as we start to design your best life!
Holding Yourself Accountable
Since these are your personal goals, no one else can accomplish them for you so it’s up to you to remain focused and disciplined.
If you think it might help, consider posting your goals on social media, sharing them with an accountability partner, or hiring a coach to help guide and support you throughout your process.
You may even try to assign consequences in case you don’t push through with your goal. Examples are to donate money to a charity you hate or doing chores you dislike for a neighbour for a whole month.
Making Progress a Habit
Unless your goals and actions are in line and unless you execute, review, and improve on a regular basis, your goals will remain unaccomplished.
For this reason, setting and accomplishing goals require implementing systems and habits that work for you, instead of against you.
If, for example, your goal is to exercise regularly in the morning, try setting aside your workout clothes beside your bed before you sleep. You can also get a physical trainer to keep you accountable, keep track of your sessions by maintaining a habit tracker, or wake up earlier to make time for your workout.