Setting Realistic Goals for 2018
We have exactly 4 days left to 2017. Isn't that crazy?! This year has flown by and when I look back I feel as if I spent a lot of that time playing catch up. I don't want to feel that way about 2018. And while I hate New Year's resolutions, as I think they can often place unreal expectation onto us, I still want to go into the new year with a plan. Oh, I had a plan for 2017 as well. But it was one of those over-reaching huge vague plans, you know the kind: "make more money, get in shape, stop eating so much cake". Those kind of plans. In 2018 I want to take my plans by the proverbial horns and really get down to the nitty gritty of what I want to accomplish. And the best way to do that is to manage my own expectations of what is possible. Below is a step by step guide I will be following in 2018 to make it one of the most productive years yet!
1. Make a list
Sit down and write down everything you want to do in 2018. Big and small. Even if it seems inconsequential, write it down anyway. We can sometimes become overwhelmed by not only everything we have to do but also everything we want do. By making a list, you are taking everything that is floating around in your head and putting it somewhere where you can visually see it and really get a good idea of what these goals look like in real life. To make this even easier, try breaking your goals into categories; financial, work, fitness, etc.
Taking your list, number each item in order of importance. One being most important and ten being least. If you created categories, do this for each category. Once you have done this cut that list in half, anything below a five gets put to the side. The items numbered five and above will be the items you focus on in 2018.
3. Get specific
Now that you have the top five goals that you want to works towards, it's time to get specific. What steps will it take to reach your goal? Write those down. If you have no idea what steps it will take then do a bit of research. Google classes, resources, etc.
4. Make a plan
Now that you know what it will take now is the time to make your step by step plan to achieve each of your goals. This is the nuts and bolts of achieving your 2018 goals. If you have more than one category then you will need to do this for each item in the categories.
Now that you have your list, and your step-by-step plan, take a step back. Be brutally honest with yourself. Is any of this attainable? Are these things that you can fit into your daily life and manage comfortably? Is your list too long? Now is the time to be realistic about your work ethic, time management and day to day habits. If your list suddenly feels too long and too overwhelming - cut in half again. Re-prioritize.
6. Be Realistic
Now that you have re-assessed your goals it's still important to be realistic about your ability to achieve them. This again requires being brutally honest with yourself. When I first started working on this site, my goal was to write 30 posts before launching. That way I would have my entire first month of work done. Sounds like a great productive idea, right? Well all I managed to do were three posts. That's it. And it made me feel like a failure . And then I asked myself why I had created such a ridiculous task for myself. Was it do-able for some? Sure. But it wasn't for me. And that's okay. So I set a new goal - to work on 5 posts each week. Sometimes that means simply getting my outline, photos and graphics completed. Sometimes it means doing the entire post. Regardless it's manageable and it makes me feel productive as opposed to overwhelmed or like I'm failing.
7. Set a deadline
Set a time frame or deadline for each step of your plan. If your goal is write a book in 2018 then set a daily goal of x-number of words a day. If your goal is to lose 4-5 pounds in a month set a goal of a pound a week. Try using an a site like Asana that allows you to set a project calendar and track your progress. Visually seeing where you are where you need to be can be a great motivator.
8. Hold yourself accountable
This has always been a tough one for me. I often make excuses of why I am not doing something that gets me further to my goals: I'm tired, it's the weekend, etc. What has been helping me lately is recognizing these thought patterns and calling myself out when they appear. If you suck at doing this then find someone who is willing to do it for you. A friend, a spouse, a sibling. Whoever you feel will not allow you to crap out on yourself.
I hope you found this post helpful. While I don't subscribe to New Year's resolutions, I do like the idea of taking the time to set intentions and goals that allow us to grow. You can start this at any time: January, March or November. You don't need to wait until the new year to change your life.