“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
It’s that time of a year again…time to start anew and make goals for the upcoming year. Yet I must ask you: Are you REALLY prepared to conquer that laundry list for 2013 you created after inhaling mom’s pecan pie for third day in a row? Yeah–didn’t think so. Let’s chat real quick about realistic, challenging, yet obtainable goal setting, shall we?
What’s Your Big Stinking Deal?
What if you instead picked ONE thing. One BIG STINKING DEAL that would impact your entire year if you focused on it for three months? For example, would finding a new job help you with your financial or time management goals? Would going to bed early help you get up earlier to exercise or improve your overall health?
What Does That Mean to You, Really?
If you achieved your three month goal, what would that mean to you? Who would you be? What does your life look like because of it? Who does it impact? What could you do next?
What Do You Need to do REGULARLY to Reach Your Goal?
For example, if you want to lose weight, you probably need to exercise several days a week. If you want to save money, you probably want to eliminate spending in certain areas. If you want to make more friends, you might want to make an effort each week to do something that involves people, like volunteering or joining a club. If you want to find a new job, you may want to apply for 10 jobs a week. Get the idea? Pick two to three activities that if you do every week for twelve weeks, you will move towards accomplishing your goal. Don’t try to do too many, as you will fatigue from the task master vibe of it all. Two to three. Period.
What Three Things May Get in Your Way?
Will your kids’ love of junk food be a stumbling block on your weight loss journey? Will buying lunch every day derail your saving goals? Will watching too much TV keep you from applying for jobs in the evening? This important forward-thinking strategy helps you realistically forecast possible stumbling blocks so you can come up with solutions on the FRONT end. So…
What is Your Plan to Conquer the Stumbling Blocks?
What if you came up with a list of healthy, tasty snacks that you AND your kids would love and ease out the junk for the betterment of the entire family? What if you budgeted for two meals out a week, but tried to pack your lunch for five? Because really…life happens and giving yourself a cushion isn’t a cop out, it’s facing reality that a pop-up may keep you from packing your dang lunch one night. No. Big.Deal.
Who’s Your Support System?
Do you have a friend who can be your workout buddy? A competitive family member you can create a non-monetary wager with over who can save the most money? (Can you say UT fan wearing an Alabama sweatshirt on game day?) Which person in your life can help you with your resume or brainstorm ideal hiring companies based on your talents and desired work environment? Building support will not only invigorate your three months, it could quite possibly make it FUN! Which brings me to my final point:
How Can You Make Your Three Month Efforts FUN?
Is this a goal or a sentence? A goal should be invigorating, challenging and ultimately rewarding! If guilt or duty is the reason behind your “resolution,” then you are NOT ready to work towards this objective. If you are INSPIRED to ACHIEVE, then let’s make it fun! If you’re losing weight, create a cook book with your kids as you go. If the recipe/snack doesn’t work out, toss it. If everyone loves it, add it to the family cook book. Involve the kids on the choices, the shopping and the cooking.
Saving money? Create a chart with pictures of what you are saving the money for with a measuring tool. If you are saving for that Mediterranean cruise, color in the savings thermometer right next to the photos of Greek islands, gondolas and lemoncello for every dollar you save each week.
Discouraged by rejection? Print every “thanks, but no thanks” email you get from potential employers and count them toward the no’s you have to have to get to your yes. Celebrate those bad boys!
As you reach the end of your three month BIG STINKING DEAL goal, it will be time to see what you want to focus on for your next three months. If you created a lot of momentum in your first quarter of the year and want to take on a fresh goal while continuing progress in your first, go for it! If you want to remain focused on your first goal, fine tune it and go deeper into ways to make it a smashing success for 2013, that’s an option, too.
The bottom line is twelve months is a LONG time. It’s easy to procrastinate or let every day life take precedence over what our hearts truly desire. By breaking up your “resolutions” into three month goals, creating a genuine plan to succeed and making it FUN, I’ll bet you will be MUCH more successful in your endeavors.
So tell me, what is YOUR first three month goal for 2013?