It is the time of year when many make resolutions. Loose weight, be more organized, exercise more… these are the ones I used to make year after year. Needless to say, I never accomplished any, and they caused me more stress than I benefitted.
Last year, with only a few weeks left on my second pregnancy, an impending move, and a toddler, I chose not to make any resolutions. I was overwhelmed already and I didn’t really have any motivation to loose weight, be more organized or exercise. I didn’t make any resolutions, but a year later I have accomplished several goals, a couple of them significant.
It all started when I realized that my life often felt directionless, I wrote about it here. I have always had dreams and goals, but by my mid thirties I felt like they needed to start becoming a reality instead. People around me where creating companies, succeeding as bloggers, making huge strides in their careers, and being generally awesome. I felt stuck wanting to be a stay-at-home mom and wanting a career I loved as well. I was starting things, or saying I was going to start things, and then never finishing.
Somewhere, I wish I knew where, I read about creating a life plan as a means to achieving goals. On paper it seemed like a good idea, and made more sense than the New Year’s resolution route. A few days ago I opened my Life Plan and to my surprise I had completed all but one of my goals. To say that I feel an incredible sense of accomplishment would be an understatement. I also feel like my more lofty goals –also known as dreams– are actually achievable. (Keep reading, I have included a template of my Life Plan for you to use)
What was most surprising to me is that it took me no more than half an hour to write down this life plan, and I have not worked on it since, except for opening the document and reading through it every couple of months. Because I had written specific goals down and thought about how to achieve them, I had in essence already taken the first steps towards completing them. By revisiting my plan every couple of months I could see if what I was doing was working.
For example, one of my goals was to finish my Master’s thesis. In order to do this I had to make time to do research and write. When I saw that I wasn’t doing this enough, I adjusted my weekly schedule and carved out a few more hours. In October I successfully defended my thesis, and in December I graduated.
Another goal was to join an organization in my new city. I have joined two. One for moms with young kids, and the board of trustees of my local library. Both have been wonderful to be a part of so far in very different ways.
The goal I did not achieve was to write an hour every day; not for LemonWater, not for grad school and not for work. I want to write for an hour a day for myself, because– and here is my dream– I want to write a novel in the next five years.
So, with a new trust in this Life Plan and myself, I have written down a vision, outlook and goals for this year, and my husband now wants in on this little tool. To make things easier for us in the future, I have created a template. I’ll give him one to fill out on his own, and use another one to fill out as a couple because I do think there are goals we should work towards together, and goals we should work towards individually.
I’d love to know how you approach achieving your goals. Do you make annual resolutions? Do you have a plan for your life?
Do you want in on this?
Your vision is what you want your life to look like in a year. Be specific and include your goals as well as a loose process of how to achieve them.
Your outlook is how you will be approaching your life in the next year. For me, last year it was about getting things done, this was necessary as I had two small kids and a thesis to finish. This year is more about taking care of myself and being healthy and happy both physically and emotionally.
Your goals should be specific. Include things that you want to do, things that you have to do and things that you dream of doing.
Want more? Revisit this other post from last year, there are some good tips for reaching goals.