It took me a while to get the guts to start setting goals for myself. Something has always kept me from doing more than just envisioning a whole new life and writing down lofty goals at the end of a year and then not sparing it a second glance until 12 months later, when I realised I achieved some of the things I set out to do by sheer coincidence. The rest I looked back on, and -surprise- had completely forgotten.
And, side note here – it’s not like I didn’t achieve anything this past year. I did a lot that I’m very proud of. But some of the things that were near and dear to me got lost and I never got round to doing them – and that’s a real bummer.
The reason why I did this is no mystery, and it’s not unique to myself. After all, if you never try, you can never fail, and you never have to deal with the realisation that you
a) really suck and don’t deserve to be successful because you really can’t get your shit together (hello, self-hatred) or
b) need to seriously work on yourself, which will require hard work and some painful self-reflection.
But I want this year to be different, I really do. Without goals, you’ll never have that beautiful feeling that you actually can get things done, that you can move further towards what you want to do. It’s elusive, that feeling, but not impossible to achieve. So, without further ado, this is how I planned my goals for 2019
Much of my goal setting system has been influenced by the lovely folks at Mossery Stationary, whose planner I’m using for this year. Not only is their planner the most visually pleasing, high-quality, and thoroughly practical planner I think I’ve ever used, they also provide a great set up for goal setting.
There is one page dedicated specifically to goals and resolutions (titled Things to Improve, Change, or Achieve), which I didn’t end up using – mainly because it provided only three boxes, which is a nice and achievable number of big goals to set but didn’t fit my needs. Maybe, when I start figuring out what the main things are I want to achieve, I will go back to this page, but for now, it’s blank. Instead I used the Priorities page, which allowed me to go from priorities to goals, which I think is healthier than the other way around. It’s all about your why, which I’ll go into in a minute.
First, I set my priorities by overarching categories, such as Work, Family & Friends, Mental Health. Work (that includes my studies and other stuff I’m doing) has been the main driving force of my life for the last 6 months – and while I did pretty well at managing my mental health, I did horribly at seeing friends regularly. Being in my comfort zone has been very relaxing, but it’s not really a way to live in the long run. Also, I can’t keep on complaining that I have no friends, if I so rarely make a conscious effort to see the people I do have.
This might seem too simple, but in the end, it really lets me focus on the things that are important to me in my life. Assigning your goals a why gives you the chance to stop focusing on the things you think you should do, and lets you focus on the things that you really want to do and know will benefit you in the long run instead.
The next step is to envision the outcome, but focus your planning on the little steps you can take to get there.
For example – “call my parents every week” is something I can do. It’s small enough to always fit in my weekend, and it will reap some wonderful rewards, bringing me closer to them even when I live far away. The same goes for “look for a new place twice a week”.
At this point, I admit, some of my “actionable” steps don’t seem so actionable. Some of them are just outlines like “writing a blog”. But this is where my monthly goals come into play.
For January, since this is my first time planning like this, I decided to go through my priorities one by one and set really small, actionable steps that I can do this month. I also tried to take into account that exam season will be keeping me busy for most of January, which means that I put some of my goals on hold for now, or set very very small intentions for them.
In the coming months, I’m sure there will be some other goals that come up in a specific month. As the months go by, my priorities might change, or I think about a new project I really want to do – and once that happens, I have space to focus on that as well. But for now, this is what it looks like.
I intend to do this for myself every month, also including a review of the last month, to see if I’m on track with my yearly priorities.
This is something I set up purely to get an idea how this might work. So only time will tell if this is realistic.
Here’s a little bonus of the semi-messy way I set up my week.
On the left, I put down meetings, classes, and all other events that I have to go to. And on the right, there’s a to do list.
Something I started recently is planning my day in Google Calendar. Yes, for some people that might be too deep, too restricting, too time-consuming (although I find it doesn’t take that long). It is a step I found works for me, simply because we can get swept up in thinking that there are simply not enough hours in the day to do what we want to do. Well, if I have an hour-by-hour outline of my day right in front of my face, it’s pretty hard to ignore the big, gaping holes of white space that I spent scrolling through Instagram.
I’m not going too deep into the works of this system, since that could be a whole other blog post. But I think this is pretty self-explanatory for now, and gives you an idea.
This is my goal and planning setup for 2019. Time will tell if this will really keep me on track, but so far it’s the second week back after my holidays and I’m already finding the time to write a blog post in an incredibly busy week. So I think it’s safe to say it’s going pretty well so far.
If you read this and have thoughts or ideas, or simply want to tell me how you plan your days, weeks, months, years – please comment and let me know! I’d love to hear from you.