Some of us, before the New Year’s Eve, perform a strange ritual in which we invoke our hopes and unfulfilled dreams: we write our objectives for the new year. We hope that this magic object will protect us from laziness, procrastination and other evil spirits. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not …
Firstly: why would it be a good idea to set goals?
Because we have this mysterious ability to transform the reality when we in a conscious way focus our attention, time and resources on a specific target. When we do not have an objective, we feel lost, and (sooner or later) that day will come… that day when you stop doing all the things that keep you busy, all those things you have to do, and ask yourself: “Why?”… “For what purpose?”… “What am I doing with my life?”
Bonus: you can not complain about the fact that things do not work the way you want since you have no idea about how they should look like …
How to set your goals?
First of all, before doing anything, you need to know what your values are. Go to a quiet place, disconnect yourself from the world and find those essential 3–4 elements that you can’t live without. All your actions, thoughts or emotions must have their roots here. If you lose your path, they will guide you, help you find the way back.
Don’t be afraid to dream. Allow yourself to imagine… how would the perfect world look for you? Try to see everything as lively as possible: how it feels, think about details … Now write a comprehensive description of this personal paradise.
Now that you know where you want to get, start dividing your dream … what do you have to do in order to get there? Break it in as many specific steps. Maybe you can not realize your dream in a year, but how many of these steps can you do?
For example: let’s say your dream is to go on a trip to Japan. What does this mean? Well … first of all, you need money … How many? let’s say 2000$ (I really shouldn’t be a travel agent…) … Okay … now, how much do you have? Not even 10$ … ok … but what could you do every day in order to get closer to your financial goal? How about putting away 1$ per day, every day? By the end of the year, you will have 365$. So if you keep it that way, in about 5 years you will go on your dream trip.
The point is that you can dream as big as you want, don’t be afraid. The most important thing: is that thing that you desire truly relevant to you? The key: you can break the goal into small steps that you can perform every day — repeatable, measurable and easy to do.
Why you could not manage to get through half of last year’s list?
I admit, I’ve never done all the things on my list. I even gave up some goals because they were no longer relevant to me. Oftentimes I succeeded but things were not exactly the way I expected them to be.
However, the main reason why I did not reach certain points was due to the fact that I wasn’t honest with myself. The more determined I am to do certain things, the lazier I am. When you commit to something, the relationship with yourself must be a partnership, not a “slave-master” type. What? Do not make your life harder than it already is. If you plan to run for 10k and you are currently running 2k breathing heavily and not more than once a week, it is not reasonable to plan running 5k/day in 6/7 days a week. Be human, baby steps … For example: At first, you could run 1km three times a week and then gradually increase your distance etc. Be honest with yourself. How much of what are you planning to do and you can actually do?
When it comes to plans, the most important thing is the process itself. It is essential to enjoy the journey. So if you want to have a healthier lifestyle, you may find it boring to go to the gym but, on the other hand, you may enjoy more a kickboxing course.
Some tools that might help you…
1. Vision board.
Most people think in pictures. Now that you have an idea of how you want your absolute world looks, make a small collage of photos that reflect that. Keep them in a place in which you can look at them every day. In this way, they are going to be infused into your conscious and unconscious mind. They will be a constant reminder of what you want to achieve. I’ve seen such collages on the walls of the rooms, above the offices, or, as I do, as the lock screen of my laptop (every day before I start working I remember where I want to get).
2. Keep a journal
Don’t laugh it away. I did that too in the beginning. Looking back, I wrote my first diary 4 years ago and so far I finished writing more than 10.
In the present — it puts your thoughts in order
In the future — you get to know yourself better, be aware of your behavioural patterns, and at the same time, for me, it is also a source of inspiration and motivation.
Let’s say you don’t like the idea of a physical notebook. There are apps you can install. I use Journey when I feel like writing my thoughts during the day when I am on the go.
Another brilliant app is Habitica. It helps you gamify your life. I don’t use it for tasks in general but it helps me keep in check my daily habits. Briefly, what does this app do? It makes cleaning the house entertaining.
PS: What are your plans for 2019?