I firmly believe goal setting is good. Even though we get beaten over the head this time of year with terms like “New Year’s Resolution” or “New Year, New You,” and tend to tune them out, I still feel it is important to set intentional and realistic goals.
When I say intentional and realistic, I mean we need to move past the thoughts of “I am going to lose 10 pounds this year” or “Saving money will be a priority,” and focus on small changes and steps that can lead you to amazing progress. We need to change how we approach our goal setting and begin to focus on Progress NOT Perfection.
Resolve to Evolve
I touched on this mindset in early 2018, and I’m here again to show you how I was able to achieve most of my goals I shared with you then, and how I’m just as committed this year to evolving and achieving my short-term goals as I was in 2018. It’s really easy; I promise you!
My wife Megan and I are using the same method to become more mindful and intentional in our goal setting. We like to call it the “Resolve to Evolve” plan. Check out the link and click on the template to help you brainstorm, create and carry out your goals for the upcoming year.
The action plan only requires you to identify three steps leading up to the goal, along with a 6 month review. Your goals should be SMART. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. It’s that easy!
In 2018, our goals focused on five categories: health, career, relationships, financial and spiritual/learning. We chose these categories because these are five focus areas that tie into my core values and beliefs. The easiest way to live an intentional life, one that has true purpose, is to align your actions with your core values and beliefs.
By focusing on small changes and measurable progress, you are less inclined to get in a rut and think that the goal is un-attainable. This method can help you break the routine of setting unrealistic resolutions that you bail on by March and transform your life in ways you didn’t think were possible.
Goal setting should be a fun, thoughtful activity that causes you to reflect on your best qualities and how to improve upon them in the New Year. As I stated, in an effort to hold myself accountable I published the blog last year with my 2018 goals. Here is the update to those goals along with what I have set for myself in 2019.
2018 Goal: Complete 80 workouts by 8/31 – COMPLETE – I worked out a total of 125 times in 2018 and lost close to 20 pounds.
2019 Goal: Complete 80 workouts in 2019 (knowing teaching four days a week limits my gym time), along with maintaining my current weight and running a 5K.
Why? Make health and wellness a priority. Workouts need to be the norm and not the exception.
2018 Goal: Obtain more digital marketing certifications – COMPLETE – Two new certifications added to my resume in 2018
2019 Goal: Speak at another Ragan conference and one more speaking gig
Why? Public speaking better promotes myself as an educator, speaker and minimalist.
2018 Goal: Send one hand-written note per month – COMPLETE – I’m not positive it was one per month, but I sent at total of 15 hand-written notes in 2018.
2019 Goal: One date night dinner per month with Megan
Why? With our professional lives getting busier, it is important for us to be intentional about our “us” time. We like to spend those moments over good food and drinks.
2018 Goal: Pay off my last credit card – COMPLETE – We’re debt free entering 2019 and it feels amazing!
2019 Goal: Donate my time and money responsibly
Why? With financial freedom, it is important to me to donate to worthy causes and correlates to my 2019 One Word: Service
2018 Goal: Read eight books – COMPLETE – I finished Everything That Remains, Perfectly Yourself, Smart Baseball, The Last Boy, It Looked Like Forever, The Big 50, More of Less, Are We Winning and The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity.
2019 Goal: Write nine blogs
Why? I like to write and it keeps my mind sharp and my blog fresh. It is also another way for me to market myself and showcase my knowledge and abilities.
Always make sure when writing down your goals to set realistic deadlines, work in a 6-month review or check-in dates to track your progress and have a “why” behind each goal. If you’re not aligning your why to these goals, you’ll lose focus on their importance and more than likely fail to meet them. Without these steps, your goals will lack direction. And without direction, you may end up at an unknown, and unwanted, destination. Work to be intentional and not accidental.
I want to leave you with one final, easy, and actionable step to help you make 2019 the most productive year of your life. Pick your one word. Yes, one word. Author Jon Gordon and others have used this method to help people focus on just one simple word, instead of a daunting list of broken promises or unrealistic resolutions.
My one word for 2019 is “Service.” I want to be able to give more of myself and my time to others in 2019. Whether that is through my time via teaching and speaking or donating funds to causes in which I believe. Our financial freedom is allowing us in recent months to do both and I want to multiply that time this year. Giving to others fills me with a sense of purpose and better aligns my every day actions with my core values and beliefs.
To choose a single word, you must have a clarity and focus in your decision. You are moving toward the future rather than swearing off the past. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
- Identify the person you want to become
- Identify the characteristics of that person
- Pick a word
Before you embark on this journey, a subtle warning: Don’t be surprised if living out your “one word” feels unnatural and awkward at first. Remember, the reason you want to focus on this word might be due to the fact that this characteristic may not currently be present in your day-to-day life. Give it time and stay with it.
So, give it some thought. Follow the above steps and think about your one word for 2019. By focusing on one word and setting realistic goals in 2019, you will begin to believe in yourself like never before. You will be on your way to becoming the best version of yourself.
Support, Challenge and Celebrate
Be honest and challenge yourself in 2019. You can’t grow as a person if you aren’t honest with yourself. You must know yourself to lead yourself, and you must challenge yourself without being too critical of yourself. In 2019, begin to believe in yourself without being prideful.
We’re imperfect people striving for perfection. We have to learn to celebrate our progress in 2019. Perfection isn’t possible. But, a constant effort and a constant celebrating of our progress is possible. The more we celebrate our progress, the more progress we’re likely to make.
I will consistently focus on my word this year, and I’ll use it to be intentional in my actions and not accidental. I will use the word and my goals to challenge myself to become the best version of me. I will also work to celebrate the transformative progress I make in 2019. The psychological encouragement that comes from knowing that we are actually making progress is incredibly powerful.
How will you celebrate your progress this year?