Monday, January 1, 2018

Making Great Goals


For the past few years I've been a goal dreader.

It seems strange for someone like me who's big on self improvement to hate goals, but that's why I dreaded them-- I am constantly trying to improve. Sticking a goal on top of that seemed kind of contrived, or without life. I innately understood that I was improving slowly over time, and goals seemed to stand there lifelessly unaccomplished, stacking up at the end of each year. Why make goals, I told myself, when progress seems to come slow and steady anyway? Then, I reasoned, I wouldn't have to look back at the end of each year and feel like a failure.



I stumbled upon PowerSheets several months ago (which is a post for another day) which has helped me understand and accomplish goals in an entirely different way. I've learned some new things about goals that have been really helpful to me, so I thought I would share them here for others who might be thinking about self improvement on this, the first day of the year.


1. Start with the things you are the most afraid of. In one of the exercises in the PowerSheets, we were supposed to write down three of our biggest fears. We were challenged to "write things you may not want to write." Giving a face to your fears helps you understand what is holding you back, and how you can move forward. I wrote down three things I was the most afraid of not accomplishing in my lifetime. Figuring out what my biggest fears were helped me understand what I most wanted to do differently, what I wanted to focus on in my life. Lara Casey, the creator of the PowerSheets uses the phrase "uncovering" your goals, discovering the goals that are already inside of you. It is a pretty powerful idea. (Her blog post series on goal setting here).

2. Goals should have a short timeline. One thing that's been super helpful about the PowerSheets is that after you have set your initial goals, the sheets go in monthly increments. Then, after three months, you get to reexamine your goals again and decide if you need to change anything. I've always been daunted by year long goals. I'm not even the same person I was 12 months ago. Why not try 3-month goals or 1-month goals? That's really the stuff life changes are made up of anyway-- small, consistent efforts over time.

3. Goals should be fun. I listened to an interesting podcast from the Power of Moms a few months ago that made a great point-- you should frame your goals in a fun way. "Try to eat healthier" can be drab, but "discover a new healthy recipe that I love" isn't. PowerSheets have fun stickers and bright colors. Goal making shouldn't be all serious and heavy, you'll hate it--think about it. (You can find the podcast here.)






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