The New Year has begun and I thought I would share some suggestions on how to make your resolutions or goals for the year more attainable, or at least help you create a plan to attain them rather than a vague idea of what you want to do. The basic thing I recommend is writing down or creatively capturing your goals for the year so that you can both refer to them but also look back on all that you accomplished once the year ends. Have fun with it either using a desktop publishing program or making it a craft project. If you have a smartphone or other device you can also take a picture or save an image of the final outline to carry with you.
Organize Your Year
To create your plan for the year I recommend dividing the year into sections so that you can mark milestones and better keep track of your progress. If you’re interested in the content I share you’re likely interested in the rest of nature and being outdoors. In this case you can outline your goal according to the seasons Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Some of you, as you’ve told me, feel in tune with the seasons so this makes for a great outline for you in particular because your energy matches that of the season you’re in.
Use a picture to capture the feeling of a season and words to remind you of the spirit of the time. For example, Summer can be a dry time but also a time of rapid, wild growth while Winter can be a season of hibernation where you can rest and prepare for what is to come. This outline makes the point that both life and energy is a cycle. While I’m providing an example, please do what inspires you. This may change each year. Goals and their accomplishment matter more when they’re yours and not the dictate of someone else.
The second step I recommend for planning your goal achievement for the year is to list what you want to accomplish in that final season. Be specific as goals need to be measurable so that you can hold yourself accountable. For example, if you want to lose weight, list your goal at the end of the year.
While you can list everything you want to do this year, I recommend starting with as few as three goals because this will force you to prioritize what truly matters to you and focus your efforts. I also encourage smaller lists so that your goals for the year can feel more manageable, especially as many of us are fitting these achievements into an already busy life.
Create a Plan
Once you have all your goals listed with their ideal outcomes, go back through the seasons and list where you want to be at each moment in time until you’re in the first part of the year.
Goals do not accomplish themselves, so while it helps to outline what you want to do this year it is still up to you to do the work to get there. Marking the milestones can help keep you motivated because you recognize your progress but also, if you have an accountability partner like a coach, they can help keep you on track or witness your work.
As you plan out your goals I also want to point out that the final stage of any goal is either termination or maintenance. This means you’re either done with something and will be moving on to the next or another phase, or you will be maintaining your achievement. If your goal had been to lose weight you are either planning another year of milestones for 2015 or you’re working to maintain the weight you’ve achieved. Losing weight can also lead to another goal such as being more active or participating in more adventurous activities.
All of this has to do with the bigger picture of who you are and what you want to express with your life. What is the one goal you want to achieve that will make this year satisfying?