I feel like people have such polarizing opinions on “new years resolutions” haha. Some people are ALL ABOUT IT and have their lists READY to go (and laminated) Jan 1. And then there’s a second group of people (ie my husband) who thinks Jan 1 is just another day on the calendar. I’m sure you guys know…I tend to lean more towards camp 1 than camp 2 haha.
BUT, before you judge me. I don’t think there is anything magical that happens on Jan 1, or anything magical about new year’s resolutions. I do however think there is something very powerful and inspiring about taking time to really pray + dream for the new year. I set goals for the year every single year and it’s always been so helpful and even therapeutic for me. Some years, I get to the end of the year and think “wow I crushed this year” and it is such an empowering + encouraging feeling. Other years, I get to the end and think “maybe I need more time to work on that goal” OR “maybe my motive behind that goal wasn’t the best and I shouldn’t put that on my list.”
One of the MANY reasons why I love making goals at the beginning of the year…I got to the end of 2020 and thought “oh wow what a crazy year…I bet I didn’t accomplish any of my goals.” But, I looked back on my list and was able to see…wow I actually accomplished a lot! I wanted to cook alot more in 2020: CHECK! I’ve cooked at home now, and cooked more new recipes in 2020 than I ever have before. I also wanted to shift my workout routine from 100% cardio (mostly running) to strength training. Check! I’ve never felt stronger!
So when you set goals, it can help you look back on a year that MAYBE feels like a total flop and see how much you actually accomplished!
I could go on and on about why I think it’s really important and healthy to set goals for the new year, but I’ll save that for another post. Today, I want to share some practical tips with you guys on HOW to set those goals. It’s easy for anyone to say “I want to workout more this year” or “I want to eat healthy”…but today I want to share with you guys HOW I make my goals for the new year, in a way that allows me to set goals that are personal, measurable, and inspire me to truly be my BEST self: on a personal, professional, and relational level.
First thing’s first: reflect
Before I start on my goals for the new year…I intentionally set aside time (legit block off an hour in my calendar) to reflect on the previous year. This part is pretty easy because chances are…you already know what went well and what areas could use improvement. I get my journal out and jot down areas that I know could use improvement. For me…some of the first thing’s that come to mind are work / life balance, sleep, relationships, etc. I also make note of what went well and areas I grew in like…cooked at home more, started lifting weights / branched out of my comfort zone, etc.
Taking time to reflect on the previous year is key before you set goals for the new year.
Next: brain dump
This is probably my favorite part of setting goals for the new year. Get out a piece of paper and write down anything and everything that comes to mind when you dream for the new year. Doesn’t have to be specific! Just ask yourself “if 2021 could be my best year yet, what would it look like?”. Write out things like make new friends, exercise more, join a church, quit my job, etc etc. It doesn’t have to be practical or specific – just dream big and really ask yourself “what would make this my best year yet?” and write down anything and everything that comes to mind.
This next step is very helpful for me in creating my “2021 goals” list. I’m sure there’s a million different categories you could use but I like to keep it simple. My categories are personal (this includes relationships, marriage, spiritual, self improvement etc), health (fitness goals, self care etc), professional.
Look at your brain dump and try and separate out the goals into one of these 3 categories. This will also help you make your goals a bit more specific (which is the next step).
If you have a goal to work out more in the new year…that’s not necessarily going to get you anywhere. It’s important to take your ‘big idea’ and break it down into a goal you can actually tackle every week. Instead of “work out more”…maybe make a goal to join a gym and attend at least 3 days a week. Or “go for a 30min walk everyday”. It’s important to make your goals both realistic and specific. [This is also where monthly goals can be helpful. Jan 1 your goal might be ‘workout 3 days a week’ and then you crushed it in Jan. Feb 1 you could make a NEW goal of workout 4 days each week. But, more on monthly goals in another post].
What’s important here is that you look at your brain dump and find the things that are MOST important to you, categorize the goal, and then make it realistic and specific.
A personal example from my list: we are building a home (hoping to move in end of February), and I had a goal to be better at hosting people. I’m such an introvert and hosting is not something I naturally want to initiate. But, instead of my goal being “be better at hosting”…I made a few goals like “take a flower arrangement class”, “take a cheeseboard class”, “host our small group at least once a month”, etc so that I have realistic + measurable goals to work towards.
Make your goals visible
I used to make the mistake of writing down my goals in a journal…where I would never see them again until the next year haha. Now I like to write my goals in a journal (just because I’m a pen and paper type of girl) AND I make a note in my phone, and PIN that note to the top of my notes so I can see it everyday. You could make it the background on your phone or print it out and put it in your car / on your mirror! It’s so important that you carry those goals and your vision for the new year into february, march, august etc. And the only way that’s going to happen is if you can actually SEE them everyday.
The last tip I’ll share with you guys today in setting your goals for the new year is the importance in getting other people involved. I shared all of my goals with my sister, I’ve talked about them with Michael, and plan on bringing a few other people in as well. This is super helpful because 1) it allows other people to hold you accountable! ie: did you join a gym this week? how’s your job hunt going? etc and 2) saying your goals outloud makes them feel so much more real! For me personally it makes me feel more accountable to my goals once I say them outloud to another person!
Honestly, I could go on and on about goal-setting. it’s something I do not only ever single year, but I also try and make it a monthly habit! To go back over my goals for the year, see how I’m doing, where do I need to make tweaks etc. Today I just wanted to share a basic overview on HOW I set my goals and tips to help you create your own! Later this week or month I plan on sharing a few of my goals with you guys as well – 1) for accountability! and 2) to help get your wheels turning on some goals you could maybe set for your own 2021.
Thanks for reading!