Ready to get after some goal setting for 2021?! I know I am.
When I first started sharing more about our Life Outside the Shop I decided to move away from writing at my previous health & fitness blog because it was starting to feel like work outside of work.
But, I’m still pumped about sharing that side of myself with you when it feels right;) So, I’m throwing it back to a post I created around this time last year when 2020 was around the corner and there was a twinkle in ALL of our eyes…
If last year has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected and work with what we’re given. This post and the accompanying guide (download it HERE before you get started!) will help you head into 2021 feeling ready to take on whatever comes your way. Hopefully, it won’t be another pandemic.
If you’re not a big New Year’s resolution person, you’re probably going a bit crazy right now! Resolutions may not be your thing for a few reasons:
No matter which camp you fall into, I’ve got you covered. And, if you LOVE goal setting this may still give you a few new ways to think about creating powerful goals that you’re actually excited and empowered to get after this year.
After leading goal-setting sessions, guiding hundreds of clients through different goal-setting practices, and doing my own research about effective goal setting, I’ve found that setting and achieving goals is less about the order in which you set goals and more about your mindset during the goal-setting process.
In the right headspace, you’ll set goals you actually care about which increases the likelihood that you’ll actually achieve them. Whether you’re starting with a 10-year vision, a 1-year vision, or where you want to be tomorrow, the key is setting goals that are on your heart. Sure, it will always take some hard work, planning, potential pivoting, and learning along the way… I’m not telling you that reaching your goals is going to be easy. But, you’ll be able to push through tougher times if you’re truly passionate about what you’re chasing.
Today’s go-go-go world constantly tells us to want and be more. And, on the (hopefully) tail-end of a pandemic that has changed the way we live our day-to-day lives it can be tough to take a step back from the chatter of should’s, what if’s and he said/she said’s to define what we want for ourselves.
We often chase goals that don’t light us up, thinking that they’re the natural next step in a progression that leads us to a life we don’t truly want and, when we get there, no longer recognize.
These tips will help you to quiet those outer voices and learn to listen to the whisper of YOUR heart. If you want to follow along, download THIS FREE GOAL SETTING GUIDE and fill it out as you read!
So, where do you start?
What things are most important to you? Ask yourself “will this matter to me when I’m 90 years old?”
We spend so much time worrying about little things that don’t make a difference in the long run. Or we waste time focusing on things that don’t align with the greater vision of what we want in our life. The number of followers you have on Instagram, that extra income that is so important to you right now but leaves you burned out and unable to connect and spend time with people you love… Although these things may feel real for you now (and those feelings are totally valid!), it is so important to practice stepping back and really define what you truly want and value in your life.
Make a list (or, fill out the worksheet!)…
Constantly check in with yourself and ask if the goals you’re writing down are within the scope of what you truly want.
“Balance” is like a unicorn. Beautiful… and pretty much non-existent except in dreams and fairytales.
Most people think that “finding balance” is the key to happiness (FINALLY!) but I disagree (SORRY!).
True joy comes from feeling grounded and confident in whichever season of life you’re in as your goals shift and grow.
Even when you love something SO MUCH it is all you want to do, it is still important to make sure you’re filling the different areas of your life and giving yourself time and space to grow in different areas. Focusing too heavily on one area of your life is the fastest way to burn out and become uninspired.
Setting goals in (at least) three areas of your life can be a great way to make sure you’re creating space and opportunity for everything that is important to you.
Take a peek back at what you’ve determined that you want in your life. Look for themes and ask yourself which of these resonate with you. You can mix, match, add or make up your own!
Now, organize your current goals into your “Big 3(+)” categories. Are you setting goals in only one or two places? Can you set goals in the other areas that you’ve deemed important and influential in your life?
As you begin to narrow down your goals for this coming year, it may be helpful to reflect on the past year. What did you learn? What projects did you try that didn’t pan out? Did you set a few goals that you completely forgot about until RIGHT NOW? There really is no such thing as failure. Every “failed” attempt was an experiment and a chance to evolvethe method that didn’t work.
When you hear the word “resolve” (as in, resolution), what comes to mind? What kind of taste does it leave in your mouth?
When I “resolve” an issue, I have to think about the problem I faced and all the things that went wrong so I can adjust and avoid those pain points going forward. When you set goals based on what has gone wrong in the past, it causes you to set future goals aiming to “fix” these problems. In other words, you end up setting goals from a place of guilt instead of grace.
Guilt is a powerful emotion in the short term but it doesn’t last long and keeps you grounded in negativity and what went wrong in the past. Setting goals from a place of guilt leaves you with a list of things not to do.
Instead, what if you set ambitions for the year from a place of grace? Grace has a more positive and empowering ring to it, don’t you think?
Clearly outlining and communicating (for yourself and others) an ambition for what you want your year to look like will allow you to create a list of actionable steps to get there. Aka – you’ll have a “to-do” list instead of a “not-to-do” list.
Now, maybe the goal sounds more like “Invest in a coach who can help me build healthy habits so I can lose 20 lbs this year.”
THAT is a goal set from love and grace, right? It is okay if your goal still sounds the exact same (or really similar) to when you first started; that means the goal itself still hits home for you. But, now you’ve uncovered a positive reason to chase the goal instead of a negative one and can connect back to it when you need a little push.
Keep asking yourself “why” until you uncover what is already present for you but that may be buried under guilt or other emotions. Then, you’ll know what is on your heart and can rebuild from there.
When you don’t have a clear target, your aim is sure to be off. Your goals need to be check-off-able. Write them down, then read them and ask yourself “can I definitively say ‘yep, I did that’ or ‘nope, I didn’t’.”?
Make your goals measurable by adding numbers and specifics. Want to run a marathon? Instead of “run a marathon” try…
Want to eat more veggies? Try…
From here, you need to trickle back your goals for the year. If you see yourself running that marathon, what do you need to be doing in one month to start working towards that goal? What about one week? What about tomorrow? What about right now?
Goal: Run the New York City Marathon on November 1st.
Stop “shoulding” on yourself. I mean it… the fastest way to set a goal you don’t really care about is to set goals because you feel like you “should” want something, do something or be someone. The fastest way to not achieve a goal is to set a goal that isn’t on your heart.
A quick note: I have definitely found myself setting goals based on the beautiful lives I see other people leading on social media or because that goal seems like the natural next step in my life-long progression. I still have to catch myself in that mindset now and then – we’re all human and we’re all figuring it out!
I’ve found that when I set goals like this, I feel down, less than and/or I forget about them. Then, when I don’t feel driven to work hard at this goal (or something reminds me that I set a goal in the first place), I feel like there is something wrong with me, my work ethic and my ability to achieve a goal. When, in reality, I just didn’t listen to my heart-voice and set a goal that didn’t align with what I truly want.
What COULD happen?
From here, take away all constraints. Try your best not to worry about how much time you have, how much money a goal will require or if it “fits in” to previous plans. If your goal is important to you, you WILL make it happen in some way or another. Ask yourself what could be possible and write. it. down.
In the “experiment and evolve” section I talked about learning from things that didn’t quite pan out. But, you can learn just as much (if not more) from what is working really well for you. This way, you’ll have a proven, actionable list of habits or steps that have helped you reach your goals in the past.
Think about last year and ask yourself what went really well for me? Then, level up those goals. For example:
Then, ask for MORE of the things that are working really well for you.
Asking for more can also look like creating accountability systems and enrolling others in your goals. This is how you can create true abundance in your life and open up opportunities you never knew existed. What could happen when you ask for what you want and share your goals with others? At the very most, they may know someone or have the knowledge they can share with you to get you closer to your goal. At the very least, they’ll be able to check-in with you about how things are going and give you support where and when you need it.
I can’t wait to hear what is on your heart! Drop a comment to share and let me know what you think about the guide!