The end of the year is my favorite time for reflection.
I love to think about what I set out to accomplish and what has come to fruition. I’m a regular journaler, so writing down my goals and keeping track on paper is incredibly helpful for me. One of my favorite things to do is to go back through older pages with goals written down and write the date when I crossed that item off the list with some kind of ‘you did it!’ note from myself in the margins.
Mayyyybe it’s a little much, but as someone who moves from one hurdle to the next, constantly making and achieving new goals, the reflection process can be a struggle for me. I don’t give myself a lot of time to bask in my accomplishments. I don’t spend a lot of time sharing my achievements out loud with others as it can make me feel a little braggadocious to talk about my work, even if I feel like being a little braggy. Still, the reflection process is an important element of turning into the best version of yourself.
It’s also the best time to be thoughtful about your plans and goals for the year to come. As I think about setting my own goals, I’m trying to be cautious about making any one goal too lofty. I want to make sure I’m setting goals that excite me but are also achievable. I’ve found that the best method to follow for setting goals is the SMART acronym.
The smart acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Each letter focuses on a different strategy for setting goals. If you follow this approach, you’ll eliminate the chance of creating vague and directionless goals.
Make sure your goals are focused and identify tangible results. Without specifics, your goals run the risk of being too vague to achieve.
Answer these 3 questions to prepare a specific goal.
What needs to be accomplished?
Who’s responsible for it?
What steps need to be taken to achieve it?
You must have a clear definition of success. Making your goal measurable will help you track your progress and stay motivated.
A measurable goal should address questions such as:
How will I know when it is accomplished?
Your goals should be challenging, but still reasonable to achieve. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible.
An achievable goal will answer questions such as:
How can I accomplish this goal?
Do I have adequate time to achieve this goal?
Do I have the necessary resources available?
Can I afford to do it?
It's about being real with yourself and making sure your goal really matters to you. Does it align with your values, and is it a priority focus for you?
You should answer “yes” to these questions if it’s a relevant goal.
Does this seem worthwhile?
Is this the right time?
Does this match my efforts/needs?
Am I the right person to reach this goal?
Every goal needs a target date, something that motivates you to actually apply the focus and discipline needed to achieve it.
A time-bound goal should address questions such as:
What can I do six months from now?
What can I do six weeks from now?
What can I do today?
The other factor that I like to consider when setting goals is to create plans for these specific 9 areas of life. We all want to be well-rounded, right?
1. Health + Wellbeing
This area is all about how you physically feel. It’s your eating habits, exercise habits, and lifestyle choices.
The focus of this area is your income, budgeting, investments, management skills, debt, and money mindset.
3. Personal Development
This area is all about self-growth and becoming your best self through mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual means.
In this area, you’ll focus on topics such as work/life balance, advancement opportunities, income, skill sets, and ambitions.
The relationship category encompasses all of the bonds we have in our life such as friends, family, co-workers, and romantic partners.
This category is similar to personal development but is more focused on what you’ll do for rest and rejuvenation.
7. Home Life
The focus of this area is your dwelling, atmosphere, and physical space.
8. Play + Relaxation
This area is centered around what you do with your free time! This could include hobbies, vacations, or whatever indulges your senses.
The ninth and last area is all about giving back to the community. These goals should be centered around volunteering, donating, or mentoring.
Here are some goals that I’m setting for myself in 2022:
Cook a meal with my husband once a week on Sundays
Exercise for 30-40 minutes three times a week
Meditate daily for 15 minutes
Volunteer once a month for a cause I care about that improves the world
Read 1 book for pleasure and 1 book for learning development each month
I hope these tips help to focus your goal-setting efforts. I’d love to hear about the goals you’re going to accomplish this year. And as a reminder, please keep in mind that while goal setting and tracking is a great way to better ourselves, we must always enjoy the journey. Happiness isn’t always about the end. So enjoy learning more about yourself along the way, and remember to celebrate your wins! Cheers to learning, growing, and being our best selves in 2022!