December’s first 3 blogs were all about reflection, taking stock of goals I had achieved in 2019 and reflecting on goals I hadn’t committed to, and why. I worked through a number of reflection exercises to fully take stock, some of those are in December Part 1 and Part 2. So here I am again, thinking about the new year ahead.
Looking back on those goals that were not started, or not completed, I’ve realised that some weren’t right for me, so crossing them off for this year is a great feeling. Now I’ve made a new list, most are new for this year, however some are a continuation. For example, one of my goals for 2019 was to start a blog, and it took me till October to do that… So now one 2020 goal is to be posting twice a week by the end of the year. I have 15 goals for this coming year and have 4 categories. Under the category Health; I have 2 goals, under Personal; I have 6 goals, under Creative; I have 5 goals, and under Political/Environmental; I have 2 goals.
During 2019 I reviewed the goals quarterly. So by April some of the 2019 goals had already been crossed off and others added as I gained a deeper understanding of my needs, wants or timing. I think this is an extremely important part of setting goals, to keep coming back, reflecting and making adjustments. I can absolutely state that writing goals down and coming back to them helped me, ‘get the shit done’! Also, if you are writing your own goals, I would suggest to write more than you think. As stated, some will fall off during the year, but I think having more helps to proceed along the year with possibilities rather than structured outcomes. This fluid approach lets life take its course as you integrate what you want and need, rather than forcing through your goals so it just becomes a chore. If this happens, most goals will not be completed.
I know not everyone does this, and not everyone even cares about setting goals, but for me it works. I have a hugely full life already, so if I want to progress in other aspects I need to think about what I want, reflect on why, write it down, and commit to the process.
The other thing about goals, is that they need to be broken down. One of my creative goals, as mentioned, is to write blog posts twice a week. Currently I’m posting every Tuesday. So for the goal to write twice a week, I’m not going to just jump in – because I’d probably fall over, instead I’m going to start a topic and write on that once a month for 3 months, then another topic and so on, until I have a weekly blog and a category topic I’m writing in once a week. This will take a whole year to put into place, but it will build my stamina for writing and also keep me interested in the different content.
There are also goals I don’t know how I will complete. I don’t have a plan yet or steps, or a process laid out that I can follow. So part of the goal is to work on the plan, and this may take some time, and I will probably get the process wrong at first, (check out my blog on failure), but that’s OK. Also timing is huge. You can set a goal with a time-frame in mind, or the goal may need to be broken down into smaller steps. With really large goals I create a backwards plan. So I start with the achieved goal, and slowly work backwards as to how to get there.
The new element in creating goals for this year is the categories. I’ve never put goals in categories before, but I’m starting to notice some patterns. Usually the creative goals from past years have been accomplished, and the health goals are always half way there, but the personal goals I struggle with. I’m not completely sure why I struggle with the personal goals, but the first step is this observation. (Political-Environmental goals are new for this year).
Now that I know I struggle to complete personal goals, I can dig in deeper to figure out my thinking around this. Maybe insecurities, or not thinking I’m important to give myself the time I need. I’m a very goal orientated person, but usually those goals that are achieved are ones that people will see, as in my filmmaking and creative practice, however I fail to spend time and energy on myself – so working through this issue is a goal for 2020. I’ll keep you updated if I come across anything helpful.
I guess part of setting goals is also staying hopeful. When I’m struggling it helps me to have something to work towards, takes my mind off negative thinking. It is also great to look back and see what has been achieved, it makes me feel positive about my own agency.
I know setting goals can be challenging. Once you write them down you have to commit, or you don’t want to experience a possible failure. But try to lighten your load. I KNOW some of my goals I will fail on and that is just OK. They are just possibilities, and there will be multitudes of other possibilities, they are not written in stone and unmovable. Think of your goals as a living-working document that is changing and evolving.
To kick off thinking about the year ahead, here is a list of possible inspiration:
- A solid blog from Marc and Angle, which could get you started.
- Health Resolutions from Marietta Daily Journal.
- 30 days of Yoga with Adriene to start your year off.
- This is just a nice read from the New York Times, on being a little bit kinder to yourself, good to remember going into another year.
- Also: Take good care of yourself, from the Baltimore Sun.
- Jack Canfield’s blog is all about potential and he has online goal setting workshops if you need more assistance. He also looks at SMART goals which are: S specific, M measurable, A attainable, R realistic, and T time-bounded.
- I’m also adding in a link to Advanced Life Skills blog, if you want to make small changes in your life, but just don’t know how to progress. I’m not sure if this blog is still active, however, the content is worth reflecting on.
Whatever you do, I wish you a safe and positive journey through 2020.