Reflections and Regret
I’ve got a confession. I can’t remember what goals I set for this year. I’m sure I’ve got them written in one of my many journals somewhere but since I haven’t actually looked at them since I wrote them down. I can’t recall what these goals are and whether I have indeed managed to crush them or not. #FAIL. Does this sound familiar?
To be honest, I was so happy to see the end of 2017 that my primary focus was “hoping” that this year would be better than the last. That’s right, my approach to goal setting was simply this, “things can only get better,” with fingers crossed.
However, despite not having any specific and measurable goals and plans to achieve them, when I look back on the year, I did accomplish some good things that I’m happy about, learned more about me, and while I didn’t move forward in other areas as much as I wanted, I’m ok with it.
Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone
Travel: I travelled to Iceland where I not only went on my first hike (I even bought hiking boots!) I also rode a horse for the first time ever (in freezing cold temps, heavy winds and pouring rain). I also travelled to Ireland with a friend, two firsts there!
Family: I reconnected with my family in a deeper, more intentional way which resulted in my cousin and I photographing my mom and her sisters in Mint Room Studio as a gift. I now call them my Silver-Haired Squad and I am grateful for the time we spent together over the summer.
Social Media: I shifted focus in how I showed up on Instagram, with a new name, spreading more positive vibes, inspirational quotes and self-love and connecting and engaging with some awesome people. I also took and posted self-portraits on my Instagram which is something I was never comfortable with.
Professional Development: Lastly, as I end out the year, and on the professional development tip, I’ve challenged myself by taking a career coaching training course and currently working with clients. This experience so far has been uncomfortable but in a good way.
Room for Improvement – Personal Growth
One regret I have is not taking the time at the end of last year to do a better job at setting specific goals that I could seek to achieve with more intention, optimism and purpose. What I missed out on by not being intentional about setting goals for the year ahead was a chance to reflect on the personal challenges, the lessons learned, and the triumphs no matter how small they were. I didn’t take time to see how much I grew, examine where I didn’t do so well, and how I could move forward with more purpose in the hope of doing things differently, better.
Preparation Is Key
For the upcoming year, I’m thinking about the things I personally want to accomplish, things that matter to me and no one else. I believe that you are more likely to achieve goals if they are things that you are excited about. Do this for you and no one else. Set goals that excite you and are important to YOU.
I’m also starting with a positive mindset. Sure, you may have had setbacks or may not have achieved everything you set out to at the beginning of the year, or you’re like me and set some wishy-washy goals that you can’t recall. It’s ok. There are opportunities there for learning and growing and for doing better. Focus on the possibilities for the new year and let that guide you in your reflection and goal setting going forward.
Setting Yourself Up for Achieving Your Goals
Here is how seven tips for setting and achieving personal, or career goals, that I plan to put in place so that I can move forward with intention and plan for success differently:
Celebrate the Small Stuff: Take a moment to celebrate the small stuff and big stuff alike. Go on, you deserve you bask in your awesomeness for a minute. You deserve it.
Keeping It Simple– I’ve identified four areas in my life and will set 1 – 3 goals in each one. For example, my areas include Personal Growth (e.g., personal relationships and interests and hobbies), Career, Money and Health & Wellness (e.g., mind and body).
Plan to Get Uncomfortable: Include achievable goals but also include ones that will challenge you to be better. Being challenged is the key to personal growth. For example, my theme for this year was “stepping outside my comfort zone”.
I’m mostly introverted and definitely not a risk-taker, so my version of being uncomfortable did not involve jumping from planes or climbing mountains. Instead, I found a few opportunities that worked for me both big (e.g., riding a horse) and small (e.g., taking self-portraits).
Write it Right: I know that goals should include, dates, be broken down into steps to achieve the goals and requires you to take action. I know this. I have always believed in writing goals down in a journal – pen to paper. But, then I do nothing else except put the pen down and close the notebook. I’m guilty of missing the creating ‘steps’ and “taking action” part, and this explains a lot. If I expect success in the new year, then I will need to do things differently.
Check On It: No, I’m not talking about the Beyoncé song (although really, if I could find a way to work in “Dip it, pop it, twerk it, stop it” into this post, that would pretty awesome. But I digress, Beyoncé will do that to me. When I say check on it, I’m talking about the practice of keeping an eye on those goals throughout the year. I have not been good at this.
Since I’m doing this differently this year, I plan to leave my goals in a visible place where I can see them because writing them in a notebook that I cannot even recall has proven, well, ineffective.
A final note on achieving goals:
I will leave you with one final comment. Be open-minded and flexible. Sometimes the journey we take to achieve goals may take a different path than we intended. Things come up, opportunities appear, stuff doesn’t work out. It’s life. Be open to pivoting and swerving if you have to. That goal may end up looking a lot different in the end as a result, and that may be ok.
I dare you to join me in doing this goal-setting thing a little (or a lot) differently this time around!