Tag Archives: goals

How to Set Goals You Can Actually Achieve

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me, that I LOVE goals. And lists. Lists of goals. Goals on lists. Basically, any combination of these two things is enough to get me excited.

love listsI’m the kind of person that adds items to my to do list that I already finished 5 minutes ago, just so I can have the immense enjoyment of crossing something off my list.

The other day, as I searched feverishly for a wedding invitation in the mess of papers on my desk, I ended up sorting through the entire pile and organizing everything, quite accidentally. So, of course, I grabbed my to-do list and wrote down “organize papers on desk” and then drew a very satisfied line through it with my blue pen. I’m not kidding.

(Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.)

Without goals and lists, I’m pretty sure I would go insane. Goals keep me focused and motivated. Goals help me push through distractions (i.e., mindless Facebook surfing) and remind me of better things to do with my time.

My daily goals – some people might call this their “to-do list” – are the things I’m hoping to accomplish that day. I love to write down my daily goals first thing when I wake up in the morning (or sometimes the night before) because it helps me prioritize my time.

work from homeSince I am self-employed and work from home, there’s no boss waiting for me at the office, no outside accountability as to whether I worked all morning or laid in bed watching Netflix in my pajamas. I’m responsible for making sure I actually get things done every day. So, goals are essential in my world.

My daily lists have various types of goals: some are tasks related to developing my business, others are reminders of client emails I need to send or workout plans that need to be designed. Some of the items are simply errands that need to be done or a reminder that it’s probably time to do laundry. (Especially if my husband has been wearing the same holey pair of black socks for several days in a row because every other pair is waiting to be washed…)

These goal lists help me stay motivated on a daily basis (and ensure that laundry does get done at some point…) but I also like to have bigger, over-arching goals to help structure my entire year.

As you can imagine, the end of December is one of my absolutely favorite times, because, well, there’s Christmas, yes, but ALSO…. I have a socially acceptable excuse to make lists, set new goals, and dream about the fresh 365 days ahead of me. My inner nerd really comes out in full force around the new year, as my husband can attest. (When I asked him if he thought my obsession fascination with goals was over-the-top, he declined to comment. Something about it being a trap, he said.)

We actually had a date night at Starbucks early in January, just to talk about our goals for 2015 – both personally, and as a couple. Armed with notepads, ballpoint pens, and a steaming cup of coffee, we sunk into the leather couch at our local Starbucks and hashed out our goals for 2015. We brainstormed ways we wanted to grow, learn new things, change our attitudes and habits, and chase our dreams. It sounds corny, I know. The kind of thing you’d read about in Oprah’s magazine. It reeks of rainbows and unicorns and fields of daises with the headline “follow your dreams” in a scrolly font. But I promise, it’s really quite practical and down-to-earth. FullSizeRender

We wrote down goals on an array of topics: everything from places we want to travel, special date nights we want to go on, specific ways we want to use our money more wisely, friendships we want to invest in more fully, and new skills we’d like to learn in 2015.

If you’re not the kind of person who naturally enjoys goal-setting, you might think this process sounds exhausting, like yet another impossible standard you’re setting for yourself that can never be reached. But it’s not meant to be that way at all.

As I studied to become a Certified Personal Trainer, one of the things I learned about was how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. You’ve probably heard of this concept:

S.M.A.R.T. goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.  Once you focus on setting SMART goals, you no longer have a list full of vague concepts like “be more financially responsible” or “eat more healthy foods.”   Instead, you write down, “put together a detailed budget plan that I can realistically follow, and put $____  into savings every month.”  Or, “Make home-cooked meals 3 nights a week and pack my lunches for work instead of eating out.” 

smart goal setting conceptThis is key to setting goals that you will actually accomplish. As an example, for most of my life, I’ve always set a goal at the new year to “journal more consistently” and every year, without fail, I do well for a few weeks, maybe a month, before it peters out and my journal goes un-touched for weeks or months on end. I love to journal, but it seemed I could never make it into a consistent habit.

Then, last year, I decided to make it a more specific goal, and I wrote down, “I want to journal every week day about 3 things that I’m thankful for.”  And although it didn’t happen every day, it definitely became a consistent habit that I’ve kept up ever since. Because it became realistic (only doing it on weekdays when I’m actually home and around my journal) and achievable (not pressuring myself to journal pages and pages on end), I was able to reach my goal and grew to love journaling far more than just the “3 things” that were part of my goal.

goal setting

Questions for you:

Do you currently set goals each day? What about goals for the year?

Do you have a good or bad taste in your mouth when it comes to goal-setting? Why?

What’s one goal you might want to make for the month or year ahead?

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“Legs Day” and Enjoying the Present Moment

Today was “legs day” for me at the gym, so I thought I’d share the workout I created this morning. I basically just compiled this from the random exercises that came to mind at the moment:

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My legs were burning after this workout, and I refueled with one of my chocolate Greek yogurt concoctions as soon as I got home.

Last week I had a horrible migraine-like headache that lasted for 6 days…not exactly a fun time! I took it easy on the exercise front and stuck to long walks and yoga for the week. It felt good to give my body a break. 🙂

I used to do yoga DVDs or find videos on Youtube, but recently I’ve just been winging it and creating my own yoga workout each day. I now know enough different poses to keep myself busy for 20-30 minutes and I love the relaxing feeling of creating my own routine. I always turn off all the lights in my room, turn on my “Calm Meditations” station on Pandora, and light several candles around the room. It relaxes me so well and is such a great way to start the day!

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One of my goals for the new year is to SLOW down, in several ways:
– eating
– driving
– talking

I tend to move quickly in all of these areas, and none of them are really beneficial! Since 2013 began, I’ve been consciously slowing down in these 3 things and it’s really made a difference. I feel so much more relaxed when I’m not speeding down the road (not to mention that it’s so much safer!) and I enjoy my meals so much more when I take the time to eat slowly and savor each bite. Talking slowly has still been a difficult one for me…most of my family talks at a breakneck speed so it’s a pretty well developed habit of mine! But when I do remember to slow down and speak at a relaxed pace, it’s great. 🙂

We often miss out on the moment in front of us because we’re too busy thinking about the ones ahead. We live at such a fast, crazy pace that I think we could all benefit from slowing down in some way, shape or form. Take the time to savor the here and now, with whatever it holds for you. 🙂

2013

It’s that time of year…Christmas is over, New Years is around the corner, and it’s time to once again make “New Year’s Resolutions!” Whether or not you officially make new year’s resolutions, the start of a new year seems to inspire most everyone to a fresh start in some way or another. We all love the idea of turning over a new leaf, making good decisions, setting goals and achieving them, and feeling accomplished! The new year seems like a great time to evaluate not only the year ahead, but also the one that is coming to a close.

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In the week between Christmas and New Years, I love to do a review of the past year, thinking about the major events that happened in my life, the things I accomplished, the lessons I learned, and how I grew as a person. I tend to do a lot of journaling around this time, as well as jotting down ideas and goals for the new year.

I’m most definitely a “list person” and I get a crazy sort of high from crossing things off a checklist. 😉 Therefore, I LOVE to make goals so I have some sort of vision for the year ahead. For me, these goals aren’t typical new year’s resolutions like “lose weight, make more money, clean out my closet, buy a house.” Instead, I like to make more “holistic” goals that encompass all areas of life:

Relationships:

Some of my goals are about relationships that I want to invest in more in the coming year. Friendships that I want to devote more time to, and ways that I want to connect more fully with loved ones.

Hobbies and Interests:

Some of my goals are about new hobbies or activities that I want to try. For example, in 2013, I want to complete one of the infamous “mud runs” because I think that would be hilariously fun! Last year one of my goals was to take up swimming because I’d literally NEVER learned how to swim laps in a pool. I bought a one-piece suit, goggles and a cap, and had a friend teach me the basic form. I’d taken swim lessons as a kid but definitely needed a refresher. Now, 9 months later, I can confidently jump in the pool and swim over 1600 yds for fun. Love it! It’s these kinds of things that make life more enjoyable…taking up new interests and passions just for the fun of it! Not because you have to or to impress anyone else, but just to enjoy the discovery of learning something new. 🙂

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Personal Growth:

Another portion of my goals are about spiritual and emotional development. I usually write down some areas of my life that need growth or character traits that I want to develop more in the year ahead. This includes things like: patience, loyalty, joy, good listening skills, more generosity, etc. Another great goal for this area would be to watch less TV/movies and do more reading!

Health Goals:

I also love to think about some health goals for myself that will help me live more joyfully, enjoy each day fully, and have more energy for life! These goals include things like: get to bed earlier, take more walks outside, drink less coffee and more tea, and eat more leafy, green vegetables. 😉 Again, it’s not about a crash diet or a resolution to lose weight, but instead it’s about taking care of my body, in order to live a energetic and passionate life. 🙂

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As you can see, my goals aren’t exactly the traditional “New Year’s Resolutions” but they’re definitely good ways for me to enter the new year with purpose and passion! Even if you’re not a goal-oriented person like me, consider setting at least one or two goals for 2013 that will help you grow as a person and enjoy life more fully! Think about a relationship you want to invest in more fully or a new hobby you’d like to learn…and then go for it! What do you have to lose?

Happy New Year!!