Happy New Year everyone! I think I can still say that even though we are almost two weeks into 2020. A new year is finally upon us and it is so exciting to begin an entirely new decade.
There’s something refreshing about knowing that the old year is behind us, and we have the choice to start all over, so to speak. The new year is often the time when people decide to turn over “new leaves”, start going to the gym again (guilty), and carry out their new year’s resolutions.
I particularly don’t like the word resolution, because it means that you have decided to start or stop doing something completely (cold turkey). Goals however, signify that you are working towards a specific outcome. In years past, I’ve shied away from writing goals or resolutions for the new year because it takes up too much time, and I never seem to complete any of them. But its a new year, and I want to try things a little differently.
There’s a verse in Habakkuk 2:2 that says “write the vision, make it plain”. In simple words, write down your goals! There is something powerful about converting your plans to writing and putting them somewhere that you can see. When you can visualize all of your goals, it literally triggers your reticular activation system (basically, your brain) to actively work towards your goals.
You would be surprised at how much more you can accomplish if you take the first step to simply write down what you want to accomplish. Think about it. When you go into a grocery store without a list, how many times have you walked out and realized that you’ve forgotten the most important thing you came for? In the same way, going day to day without a plan can lead you to neglect your most important task. I encourage you to commit to creating goals for 2020 so that you can have the most productive and impactful year.
I’m sure most of you have heard about SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based) goals, and while this system can be effective to help you create tangible goals, there are some of you that are still overwhelmed with where to start (understandably). Here are my ABC’s of Goal Setting, to guide you in creating your desired 2020 vision.
Assess where you are.
When I first decided to write out my 2020 goals, I made a mental sweep of the last few years. Part of this actually made me realize why I wanted to create goals for this year. Looking back, I’ve never written out what my plan for the current year was or what I intended to achieve. As a result, I couldn’t fully assess my progress at the end of the year. It’s never bothered me, but as I get older and have more things that I want to accomplish, I realize how important it is.
Even so, before I started on my goals for this year, I wrote out what I’ve done over the last few years in order for me to know where I want to be. Most of my goals over the last 5 years have been education-oriented, and while building my career is a big part of my life right now, I realized that what’s lacking is balance. With that in mind, my goals for this year are focused partly on continuing to develop myself outside of school. Although education is still a big part of my life right now, one of my 2020 goals is to be balanced in every area of my life.
Begin with a Word for the Year.
After assessing where you are, decide what you want your word for the year to be. I think this is one of the most important steps in writing your 2020 vision, because it honestly sets the tone for your year. It’s cruicial because it reinforces all of the goals that you will write down and it should be the guiding force behind most of your decision making for the year.
You should take some time to figure out what your overarching focus is in 2020. If your desire is to be more health-conscious and disciplined in taking care of your body – whether physical, spiritual, or even financial – your word for the year could be wellness. So, if a decision is placed before you and it does not fit into your definition of wellness, it becomes so easier for you to let it go. A word for the year allows to focus on what really matters and to prune the unnecessary. 2020 is all about maximizing your greatness and minimizing the distractions.
Categorize your goals.
After you have made a conscious decision about your word for the year, the next step is to categorize your goals. You don’t have to have your goals written yet, but decide how you want them broken down. Separating your goals into categories helps to create balance, so that you can devote equal time to every area of your life.
“2020 is all about maximizing your greatness and minimizing the distractions”
For me, I used the 8 equities of life described by Tom Ferry to break up my goals for this year. The 8 categories include: spiritual, physical, family, career, financial, relationships, knowledge, and attitude. Another grouping that is common is Career/Business and Personal. Using 8 categories worked for me because I like to be as specific as possible and it allows me to organize my goals better. This does not work for everyone, but I encourage you to group them in a way that best fits your personality.
Determine your motivation.
As you fill out your categories with specific goals for 2020, ask yourself “Why“? What is the reason behind this goal? Why do you want to lose 10 pounds by the end of the year? Is it because you want to feel more comfortable in your body, or is this just something that you think seems like a good goal to have?
Research has shown that when you have a reason behind why you do things, it fuels your desire to work towards the end result. Every time you think about your goal, you understand the driving force behind it and are motivated to see it through to completion. You can think about your why, but I believe it’s more effective when you write it down as well. As I look over my goals, I know that all of them are important because I can also see why I chose them. I know that when I get discouraged or unsure about completing them, I can read my whys and remember that I was specific and intentional about each one of my goals.
Elevate your results with accountability.
So you’ve figured out your word for the year, and have written out all of your goals and their whys. Now it’s time for action. But how are you going to be sure that you complete them? What’s going to stop you from abandoning them at the end of January or forgetting you even wrote goals mid-way through the year? Accountability. “Accountability is the glue that bonds commitment to results” – Will Craig. Find an accountability partner that you can trust to not only remind you about your 2020 goals, but to push you to complete them.
The best accountability partner is someone who also is working towards their own goals. In that way, there is mutual benefit to your partnership and both of you can provide support and encouragement to one another. Some of the best qualities to look for in an accountability partner is someone you can trust, who will challenge you, and someone who wants to see you succeed (just as much as them).
Another awesome way to be accountable to yourself is to create a vision board. I’m sure many of you know what a vision board entails, but in short, it is a way to visualize your goals on a larger scale and have fun while doing it. I went to my first vision board party yesterday and it was much more fun than I anticipated. The best part about it was that the positive energy that filled the room, and the encouragement that all the ladies brought. We were able to share some of our goals with each other as a way to stay accountable and commit to making our goals become realities.
“Accountability is the glue that bonds commitment to results”
I’ve heard so many people say that they completed a lot of their goals after making a vision board, so I’m excited to see how many things I achieve. Once you’ve created your board, put it somewhere that you can see it all the time. Share it with your accountability partner or your family, and if you’re not shy, share it with as many people as possible. I believe that the more you manifest your dreams and put it out there, the more likely you are to reach them.
T. Roosevelt said, “if you believe you can, you’re halfway there”. As humans, sometimes we forget how powerful our minds are and what we are capable of. Writing down your goals for the year, or even for the next 5 years is crucial in helping you get to where you want to be. As often as I reiterate that, it’s not the end all be all. True success requires hard work and continual effort. But knowing what you’re working for makes all the difference. It allows you to strategize and plan out the steps that you need to take towards reaching your goals. It allows you to live life purposefully and without regret.
I hope that the ABC’s of Setting Goals will help as you plan out your vision for 2020 or any other year. I’m sure there are many more ways to effectively write goals, and I would love to hear them in the comments below!