This past week, I had a couple of people ask me the question, “Is there anything you DON’T do?” My very quick response was, “Yes, there are hundreds of things I don’t do!” And then one of the women rephrased her question and said, “Is there anything you don’t do that you that you set your mind out to do?” While generally my answer to the rephrased question would still, of course, be, yes, there are things that I set out to do and don’t achieve, it did get me thinking about things I set out to do. Otherwise known as personal goals.
Before I go into personal goals, I think I first need to set the record straight on pure DNA, the way we are all created by God. Some people were born with a gift to connect with people. Some people were born with risk taking in their blood. Some people were born to be professional skateboarders. Some people were born totally cool, calm, collected. We all were born a certain way, right? And as years and years go by, we can change, alter ourselves, improve, take a few steps backwards – or forward, modify. But at our core, we are who we are, fundamentally speaking. And me? I was born a doer. I don’t overly enjoy relaxing, laying on my couch, sitting still for too long. For me, relaxing is cleaning my closets. It’s going to the gym. It’s blogging. It’s getting my email inbox to below 30 emails. Essentially, the feeling of being productive creates joy in my heart and puts me right in my sweet spot, just how God designed it.
Now that we have cleared that up, I do want to share with you how I personally do the things I set out to do. At the end of each year, I reflect. I jot down thoughts about what was good about the year. What I would like to never remember again about the year. I celebrate the past. And then I look ahead and simply think about the 3-4 things I want to achieve in the upcoming year. What are my goals? I try really hard to follow the SMART model – when setting goals they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. For me, the realistic and attainable are what gets me to achieve my goals.
For example, this year I had a goal to open up an Etsy shop to sell my photography. I did it. I didn’t set the goal of “set up an Etsy shop to make $100,000 by March 31 and quit my day job.” For the record, I have not sold one thing and I m 100% fine with that, for now. I didn’t get deep for that goal. Maybe at some point this year I will go deeper into that goal and modify it to have at least one sale by the end of the year. Or, maybe that will be my 2014 goal. The point is, I had been wanting to open an Etsy shop for quite some time (2-3 years) and I finally had enough and forged ahead.
Another goal I had this year was to have balance in my life. Minimal-to-no working on the weekends. Push myself to be more productive between 8:30am and 6:00pm so I can go after my passion projects, put my husband first and create space for myself and other friends and family in my life. It requires me to get up a little earlier each morning. I pray about having balance. This goal is a work-in-progress but I can say that I definitely have achieved it thus far and it. is. awesome. The result? I am happier, a better wife, a better boss and frankly, a better employee. #winwin
What is my action plan for my goals? Well, not much to be honest. I write them down either on my phone or I send an email to myself. I don’t create some massive strategy plan with specific timelines and deadlines. That stresses me out. I literally just bullet them out, like so:
- Open Etsy Shop
- Re-brand blog
- Learn Adobe Illustrator/buy Adobe suite
- Read the bible every day
That is all I do and for me, it works. My deadline is December 31, 2013. I do check points in my head along the way. I keep it overly simple. For some people, more specific deadlines and strategies are necessary. That’s fine, there is no perfect way to do this. It’s just about doing it and doing what works for you.
Setting – and achieving – goals is critical to my personal happiness and if you don’t do it, I would encourage you to think about it. There are still 5 months left of 2013…that is more than enough time to set a goal – or two – and go after it! Don’t set 20 goals. Think about the couple of things in your life that need fine-tuning. Or that passion point you just haven’t had time to pursue. Or the 4-5 pounds you want to lose (not 20, come on ladies! Make it realistic!). Or that one person you need to forgive. Or that amazing city you have been dying to travel to. Or the $1,000 you want to save. Or the organization you want to volunteer at. Just do it. Do something. Even one thing. I promise, the small steps will amount to big joy.
And to answer the question of “Is there anything you don’t do that you that you set your mind out to do?” For the most part I do most of the things I set out to do. But it’s the setting out to do part that is critical. First, you have to have some sort of plan. That works for you. That’s SMART. And you have to want it. Want it badly enough to be intentional each day, each week to move towards achieving your goals. Then, you have to act. Make adjustments in your life. Make room in your life to pursue your personal goals.
Have any goal-setting or goal-achieving stories you want to share? Ping me or leave some comments for all the readers!