I’m one of those people that really nerds out with the new year: I set goals, clean out my life, re-evaluate my relationships, and make promises to myself to just be so much better- that all sounds great, right? Except just like the majority of us, come February, I can hardly even remember the resolutions I made.
I spent a lot of time in December brainstorming ways that I could set myself up for success with the new year, and I’m here to share with you things that I have come up with; hopefully these help you too, but if my ideas don’t seem appealing to you, maybe you can at least use this as a jumping off point from which you can do some of your own brainstorming- only you know your weaknesses and quirks, and ultimately, what will be what guides you to success. So here we go!
- ASSESS YOUR PAST:
The first place I think we all need to start is by assessing why resolutions haven’t worked in the past. Has it been because you are setting too hefty of goals and not giving yourself smaller milestones to meet along the way? Are you not organized at the base level leaving any higher level organization to be too much of a jump? Is there fear for you in truly acknowledging your weaknesses, leading to a big ole mess when you try to plan out anything? Are you setting goals just because they seem like the thing to do versus them being things that you truly want to change about yourself?
For me personally, I’ve previously set goals that I was not super connected with, identified aspirations that were just too much in too little time, and have made promises to myself that were dependent on other people- all of which have resulted in big fails, whomp whomp whomp. I have learned that I do best when things are written down, when my goals are something that I can re-assess at the end of each week, and when they are something that other people can hold me accountable for but not necessarily control the success of. Also important to note, is that when I set goals now, I try to think of them as lifestyle changes; it makes me really feel committed to them and makes me really decide if I’m ready to change my life in the direction of the “goal”, if not, it’s not one for me.
So I urge you to assess your past- figure out why your resolutions haven’t worked and use that as a jumping off point, and hey, that assessment in and of itself may present you with your new goals.
2. MAKE YOUR GOALS SMART:
In OT school we learned a lot about goal writing and the importance of writing truly good goals to allow for us a better chance at achieving them. We were taught to write S.M.A.R.T. goals; SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound. So let’s try to frame some common goals using the SMART formula and think about how much more sense they make to us (and how much more likely we are to actually achieve them!):
Instead of saying, “I’m going to go to the gym” let’s try, “I’m going to workout for 20 minutes 2-3 times a week, establishing a healthy workout routine by the end of March”- I mean HELLOOOOO, this is a specific goal that is super measurable, really attainable, relevant to the goal of improving my health, and bound by time. What I also like is that this goal is something that we can build on, so if by March (or February even) we have established a good workout habit and we want to workout more often or for longer intervals, we can- YOU CAN ALWAYS ALTER A GOAL, and it’s so much better to alter it, up or down, rather than forget about it.
Let’s try one more: “I’m going to be better about spending money”- this is one that I have for myself this year, except framed a little differently! Jesse and I sat down the week of Christmas and pulled out all of our finances and established our budget for 2022 (which I highly recommend doing- even though it really seems like such a drag); us taking this extra step allows me to look at this goal from a truly S.M.A.R.T way because I am now able to be a whole lot more specific, have monthly/weekly time bounds, measure whether I am performing better than in previous years, etc. SO “I’m going to be better about spending money” became “I will spend $x or less on x each week/month,” make sense?
PUT TIME INTO PLANNING
Just like I said ^^^, Jess and I sat down and spent a few hours talking about our financial goals, outlining the big expenses we anticipate (knowing good and well there will be some we don’t anticipate), and having realistic conversations about our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to financial control. Jess and I are so different, so we had to really openly talk about what kinds of things we NEED to spend money on and what kinds of things we WANT to spend money on. Our needs covered the basic things- food, bills, Ollie’s care, etc. and those were easily agreed upon, but the wants were a little more tricky. As I’m sure you can imagine, we want to spend money in rather different ways, so it was important to list out exactly what was important to us to continue to do and what was just pure excess that we were better off without. Some of our wants overlapped- travel, house upgrades, date nights, but yeah some totally did not. For example, my love language is gift giving, so it was really important for me to be able to properly allocate funds to be able to give special birthday/wedding/Christmas/shower gifts, and Jesse is learning to be quite the handyman so it was important to him to properly account for the DIY things he wants to teach himself this year! Us making our budget wasn’t to strip us from the freedom to have fun, to create, and to treat ourselves, it was created to allow us to continue to do these things while removing the stupid little distractions that cost money but don’t add anything to the value of our lives; this planning helped me to realize this and to really get behind the idea of budgeting. I am now #teambudget (we’re one week in, so check back in in a few weeks to see if I still feel this way, lol).
Long winded example, but I think it’s super important to realize how much time and effort went into prepping for this one goal, phew. SO MUCH TIME BUT SO NECESSARY; now, not only am I able to great a S.M.A.R.T. goal surrounding my goal of being more financially in control, but almost more importantly, is that I now stand behind this goal without a shadow of a doubt- WOOHOOO for setting a goal that I truly believe I can achieve.
THINK QUALITY NOT QUANTITY
(This one’s going to be short, since you just sat through an 8 minute recap of our budget meeting, sorry about that..)
I’m sure this goes without saying, but when we approach things with a more narrow focus, we are much more able to truly devote the necessary resources to them- same goes for our goals. I recommend prioritizing 1-2 goals and diverting your focus to these; like I said earlier, you may achieve them quickly, at which point you can always add another one (or up the ante on the original). Easy enough.
So we’ve got all that? Assess the things that have previously held you back, plan plan plan and devise 1-2 S.M.A.R.T. goals that you can undoubtedly achieve! Easy enough, right?! Kidding, I know it won’t be easy, but it will be possible, and hopefully setting ourselves up for success from the get- go will lend us a better chance at having the success that we all want this year.
Some of you may already be great at setting and following through on your goals, in which case, BRAVO- please share any additional tips in the comments! Remember, I want this to be a space where we can discuss, support, and build relationships- I don’t want it to be me just typing to you guys all the time, so I truly encourage all of you to please share you input below 🙂
Bundle up, have some hot cocoa, and have a great week! Let’s kick 2022s booty! ❤ XO