I'm a planner.
I've accepted this about myself at this point, my family and friends have all come to terms with this ailment of mine, and my husband has even leaned into the skid. I love to try and plan out my life.
Quick! Ask me how that's going!
Just kidding it isn't that bad, but that's because I've learned some valuable lessons about being human and setting goals.
Generally, my end of the year goes pretty well. But I had to learn a lot about goal setting and planning to get to a place that I wasn't frustrated with myself each December; or the end of each day for that matter! You see, when you are a planner, it is super hard to hold loosely to plans. It's easy to get caught up in your day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment failures when you are focused on your plans and goals. It's really a terrible way to live. And yet, the whole point of goal setting is to hold fast to plans and work hard for achievement.
I'm entering into a space of important dichotomy here, let me explain.
At the start of each year, like many others, I choose a word to define my year.
This is the word that I use to structure and flesh out all my goals for the new year. It's the word that I use to evaluate decisions throughout the year and day to day.
Will this choice, event, decision benefit my goal and support my word?
Last year, my word was simplify. I feel like I did a pretty good job regarding my home and making margin for my family when I could. Many of you who know me and my life probably scoff at the fact that I "simplified" last year. The truth is that I did, my life was just THAT much more chaotic. Let this be a lesson to us all as we breach 2019, these words we choose will not all look the same at the end of the year.
Someone who chooses "connection" and to you still seems disengaged, may have made great strides in putting themselves out there and connecting with coworkers and friends. Our achievement is not cookie cutter, our words and goals won't bear identical fruit.
Such is our souls.
Remember these things as you show grace to others, but more so as you show grace to yourself this year.
Every goal that I have set for 2019 has been measured against this word, and it works towards that goal. Do I have big goals? Yes, and I will take all of them one bite at a time. If I get to 2020 without meeting every goal I set, I will not dissolve in disappointment.
I will rejoice in whatever progress I made towards that goal and start anew.
Friends, we can get so out of hand with this. We set goals and then fail because we aren't meeting our own unrealistic and unyielding expectations. Then we are frustrated, resentful of others, and all around disheartened when it comes to setting goals for the next year.
I know that you came to this post hoping for more of a "how to set goals" situation and I promise to give you a little of that, but before I do I want everyone to understand that life is long.
Persistence and progress should be measured as success.
If you intend to set goals this year, which you absolutely should do, always start in grace.
Now down to business.
How do you type business in a sassy way?
Whatever, imagine me saying it sassy.
Let's set some goals together.
First and foremost, determine your word for the year. My word is wellness. If you'd like to know more about my word, check out my Instagram post HERE.
Here I have created a printable for you! To download the full version, just click the picture.
Actually, I've created a goal setting pack to help you set up your year. This one, Word of the Year, I'm giving to you for free! The entire kit is available for $0.99 in the shop.
This tool will help you flesh out your word. Why did you choose it? What does it represent to you? What's the single most important thing that this word achieves for you?
Here is my example:
I chose the word wellness because when I brainstorm the things that I wanted out of 2019, they all had to do with wholeness and welfare of my soul.
Wellness represents vitality, energy, and longevity.
The single most important thing that will come out of making wellness my focus this year will be ability. I want to do and be so many things for so many people, but I must be well to do it. I must be spiritually well to shepherd and minister. I must be physically well to keep up with Ruby and care for others. I must be financially well to be generous. My marriage must be well as we weather the storms of life and support others.
I choose wellness simply so that I will be able to do.
What's your word?
This is available in the goal setting pack I previously mentioned. It is called Goal Hive and its available in the shop for $0.99.
This is where you determine your goals for the year. Remember that they all have to measure up against your word. If your word is simplify and your goal is to engage in 5 more ministries and leadership situations than you did last year…you aren't lining up, sis.
If you are early on in your goal setting, I recommend one goal per category. More seasoned setters can set up to 3. If you have 10 goals per group, you're setting yourself up for failure. Simmer down.
The categories are such:
Marriage (single ladies and men can set goals for relationships or just skip it), Family, Friendships, Personal, Physical, Home, Spiritual, Financial, Professional (job or school)
And now, I will share with you my own goals. Because I think people who write articles like this one should put their money where their mouths are.
And so, as your fearless leader in this world where there is nothing fancy, I give you my 2019 goals:
Marriage: Go on a monthly date. Go on a 10-year anniversary trip.
Family: Take a family vacation in the Spring. Spend more of the evenings together doing crafts, playing games, and not get lost in the day to day stuff.
Friendships: Make time at least once a month to spend time with a friend one on one.
Personal: Hold loosely to plans. Release unrealistic expectations of myself that cause anxiety. Get better sleep because of it. Read.
Physical: Finally lose the baby weight. Do food sensitivity testing for the family. Make time to do the things that once made me happy: yoga, kickboxing, cycling.
Home: Clean out the basement storage. Put a fence up in the backyard. Clean out and sell the old baby stuff.
Spiritual: Understand soul rest. Renew my spirit with scripture instead of worldly things like food, shopping, and yelling. Maybe allow a little yelling.
Financial: Wealth Health! Tighten up the budget and help Dave by making budgeting a habit.
Professional: Submit the Tribe book proposal. Attend 2 conferences.
There they are. And each of my goals contributes to my overall wellness in 2019. They aren't earth-shattering. You can do this too.
So go do it.
BREAK IT DOWN
Finally, I like to print one of these for each goal that you set. This is the final piece to the Goal Hive, available in the shop.
This is the breakdown of how you intend to reach your goals.
State your goal, when do you intend to meet the goal, what habit do you need to start forming to achieve said goal, schedule when you will attempt to begin developing those habits, what types of obstacles can you foresee keeping you from your goal? It will seem like a lot at first, but you only need to do one goal at a time and one step at a time.
Progress is progress.
That's all I do Sisters. That's how I set my goals. Each month when I do my calendar - I pull out my goals and make sure that I've scheduled in the things that I need to do in order to achieve these goals. When I plan my week, I make sure to integrate my actions steps and habits into my days. All the while remembering I am not a perfect being. I will get behind on my timeline, and in December when I have missed two months of dinner with friends, or I haven't had a date since July or I'm 15 pounds heavier than I want to be, I will not grieve my perceived failures. I will celebrate the time I got with friends, make sure I get a date with that hunk of mine as soon as possible, and I'll be thankful for the pounds I did lose.
It's all about balance.
Setting goals is about achievement, sure; but for me, it's mostly about making sure my soul is bearing fruit.
There's no finish line, there is not a clear finale. I'm broken. There will always be something to work on, there will always be something to learn. It's when we think we are going to "win" by completing the goals that we set that we find ourselves unsatisfied and angry when December rolls around. It's when we look to our goals and achievements to make us whole that we tend to see ourselves incomplete come the end of the year.
We should work tirelessly for our goals, yes. We should give our goals all that we have. And at the end of the year, we should celebrate how far we have come and how much we have grown; not grieve where we come up short.
Our goals are not the measure of who we are, they are just markers to keep us on the path and propel us onward.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
The real finish line has a reward that we can earn and certainly don't deserve.
Don't make up finish lines along the way that mean nothing and only slow you down.
Run the race set before you, with the true and right finish line that only He can draw.