Happy new year! I love the fact that today is the first day of a new year and it is Monday – what other day would be better suited to get motivated and set some goals?! You might be sick of people talking about new year’s resolutions by now. And let’s be honest – who actually lost all that weight they said they would 12 months ago? But this post is all about showing that it is possible to reach your goals.
For a long time I came up with a long list of things I wanted to change, do better, do differently and never did. I felt so inspired in this last week of December to jump into “the best year yet” and a month later all would be the same as it had been. Since those days I have learned a lot about goal setting and how actually work toward the things we want to achieve. And today I want to share my best tips on how to set and reach your goals in 2018!
Set Your Goals
1. Look back
Let’s spend some time thinking about the last year. Write down your successes and failures: Did you reach your goals? What went well and what were challenges? What are you grateful for? Is there anything that disappointed or hurt you? Write these things out and if that is your thing – pray them through. I believe it is important to ‘make peace’ with the past before you can really focus on the new. Forgive what needs to be forgiven, repent, and bring your sorrows to Jesus.
Next, see if there is anything you would like to build on. Maybe you started up a new hobby or a fitness routine that you want to maintain. Or you realised that you are super impatient and that is something to work on. Or you started way too late to revise for your exams – the new year is a chance of learning from our mistakes and improving.
I really got into knitting and sewing this last year and I am determined to really improve these skills in the new year.
2. Look forward
Do you already have any plans for the new year? Maybe you have booked a big holiday, someone close to you is getting married or you are starting a new job. These things might inspire some goals – plan the holiday, pick a wedding gift, read up on your job.
3. Map out different categories.
Think of the different areas of your life. This can help you to decide what you want to focus on and will help you to come up with some well-rounded goals. Categories I came up with were: University, Creativity, House & Garden, Fitness & Health, Blog and Faith. For most of them I only choose one goal. In coming up with categories I made sure I had a varied list of things to work on. They also can help you decide on your priorities.
Now go crazy! Make a list of everything that comes to mind. Don’t overthink it – just write down all your ideas, no matter how unrealistic they may seem. This is your time to dream big! You might want to take half an hour to just sit and write all of your goals down or you do this over a couple of days. I had a list on my phone for the last month where I continually added ideas.
5. Make it specific
Now go through this list again and transform your ideas into actionable, specific goals. On my list I had “grow food in our garden” which I transformed into: grow spinach and strawberries in our back garden.
6. Cross it out
Now it is time to get serious. From your big list of goals and ideas you chose the ones that you want to focus on in 2018. (Or in the first quarter of 2018). In my last post I talked about choosing a word for the year. My word is focus. This helped me to pick the areas I want to prioritise this coming year. Also, ask yourself what your time and resources are. It’s great to challenge ourselves but let’s stay realistic. A good way to decide what actually is realistic is to look what you achieved the last year. In 2017 I read 19 books (nearly 20). My goal for this year is to finish 24 books. That is a few more than the year before but still seems within reach.
Reach Your Goals
Write out your list, stick it to your wall for you and all to see. I read my list of goals out to my husband and asked him to hold me accountable. Maybe share your goals on instagram or on your blog if you have one. Another great way of commiting to your goals is to team up with someone. I am planning to run another half marathon in November and my dad and I agreed to do it together. This is super motivating and the temptation to pull out is definitely much smaller now that my dad is flying out to run this race with me.
8. Research and plan
Once you have committed to your goals my favourite part begins: Planning! I used to go way overboard with this – scheduling out what I would do in each week way into the future. I would not recommend doing this. Often you can’t be sure of how much time something will take and if your plan does not work out it is such a drain on motivation. However, figure out your first step. One of my goals is to sew five dresses this year. So I need to spend some time looking for the first pattern I want to make, go and buy the right fabric and all the other supplies I need. Next, I am going to block off a couple of hours on a Saturday to get started with the sewing. Once I have done that, I have a better idea of how much more time I might need and can plan out the rest of the project. And then proceed to work on the next four dresses.
If your goal requires consistent efforts – like for example running a blog – it is a good idea to look ahead in your schedule. Plan to have content ready to go for times where you are travelling or busy with work.
9. Start small
I won’t go out tomorrow and buy fabric for five dresses. I will buy enough for only one. That way I will not feel overwhelmed (and I am not spending too much money all at once). Also, I will probably learn things about sewing and fabric and patterns while making the first dress. So my choice of what to get next will be influenced by that. Big goals are accomplished when we break them down into small steps. This is not only helpful to know what to do next but it also gives us some level of achievement and propel us forward.
10. Schedule check-ins and mark milestones
I have made a plan of what I want to study when in line with my university’s schedule. These reminders in my diary are really helpful to know whether I need time to catch up with something or if I am on track.
Similarly, I mark out time in my diary to check in and see what the past week or month was like. I write down what I am grateful for. I note down my progress on my goals and write lists of what still needs to be done. And I let things go. Sometimes we notice halfway down the road that some plan does not quite fit with our lives as we had imagined. Let it go. Life is to short to waste on things you do not want to do or that are not in line with your priorities.
So here are my goals for 2018! I have been quite ambitious but this is what I want to work towards. So let’s get the new year started and reach our goals!
I would be super curious to know what your goals are for 2018! Let me know in the comments below or take a picture of your list and share it on instagram with the hashtag #brightboldgoals18. I cannot wait to read them!