Starting the Year with Intention
Every time New Year’s Eve hits, we consider the slate we have built up so far in the last year to be wiped completely clean. Essentially having the mindset of starting over and allowing ourselves to feel fresh and ready to take on whatever the next thing is.
For me, I’m not sure the slate is ever completely clean. Sure, we can have a fresh take on a new venture or head back to work with a more positive outlook, but the reality is that yesterday is behind us and tomorrow is yet to be here. And this is the case Every. Day. Of. The. Year.
How is it different this year? For some 2020 was a horrible year. A global pandemic has wreaked havoc in so many ways for so many of us. Instead of lingering on the negatives of 2020, consider the good the year may have brought. Even if you happened to cook a little more this year, or you were able to spend time with loved ones (even if its your dog or cat!). So, now, what is 2021 going to bring you that you have not had the opportunity for in 2020 or in years before that?
Now is the time that we hunker down and make a plan. Even if you are not a planner, creating goals and flushing them out into something tangible, manageable, measurable, and appropriate for your lifestyle is what will absolutely propel you into a successful mindset and outcome for 2021.
Think about it this way. When we are here again, on the brink of 2022, what can you say you accomplished this year? What do you want to say to yourself that you have completed or, at minimum, started along the path of doing?
With this post, we are going to start on our path to creating our plan for the year. And we are going to take the next few weeks to make this plan rock solid.
It doesn’t matter if you start your work on January 1 or March 1, the idea here is that you are starting. With a solid plan, you have more of a chance to see it though and to see it succeed. Trust me. Having had a scattered brain for many years, the only true solution is to get it down in a manageable way so there is no way you can lose.
Let’s start with one goal. If you have several, that’s great, but choose no more than 3 or 4, max. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. Start with one.
Take out a piece of paper, or you can download the goal planner here.
On that paper, write GOAL: and then underneath, write SMART, like this:
To help you understand how this works, I’ll use my own goals as an example (plus, it will hold me accountable if I shared them all with you…)
My goals this year are categorized in a few different areas. Personal, professional, family, and mindset. You don’t have to do it this way, but this allows me to achieve a few different things this year that I’ve been wanting to accomplish for some time.
Let’s start with one.
I love reading. Specifically in the non fiction category. Having had 2 kids in 3 years, who has time to read, let alone the energy?! But now that my youngest is nearing 2, its easier to get a book in, so I’m choosing this as my goal this year.
GOAL One: Read more books!
But how am I ever going to accomplish this goal by just stating that I want to read more? I won’t and neither would you.
So let’s get SMART.
First, we want to get specific. What kind of books are we reading? How many will we read? I don’t have a long commute to work or a significant amount of time available to read, so getting detailed is crucial to make the goal more read.
Read 3-6 books in the areas of marketing, personal growth, money, and time management.
Next, how can I measure the success of my reading experience? Every finished book is a clear indication that I have made it through my goal. That’s a pretty clear indication that I have achieved my goal.
Review and apply each book to my life, professional life, when I have finished it.
Next, is it possible for me to read more books? I haven’t had the capacity to do it before, so what can I do now to make it possible? This may be TMI, but I have a clear 15 minutes in the bathroom in the morning. My husband and I have been taking turns watching the kids, so I can lock the door and have time to myself. Rather than bringing in a device, I can bring in my book and read. 15 minutes a day, while it doesn’t seem like much, is what I can devote right now, and its plenty of time to get a few pages in.
Read during my morning 15 to myself.
Now, is this realistic? Can I read every day in the mornings? I definitely can. I’m a morning person, so this timing actually works for me. I won’t be falling asleep, as I would if I was reading at night, and I know this is a solid chunk of uninterrupted time. And 3 books is not a ton to read, as long as my timing makes sense. Every book over the 3rd one is a bonus!
Read during my 15 minutes in the morning, every day, rather than scroll aimlessly on social media.
Finally, lets check in on timing. 3 books a week, no way. That’s impossible if I’m only reading 15 minutes a day. 3 books a month is also a little aggressive. In the end, this goal is not meant to stress me out, so the reality is one book a quarter is possible. Less is more! And if I can read more, then great! But if I give myself a whole year, to read only 3 books, I’m pretty sure that can happen.
Read one book every 3 months, or more.
Ok, now, we have our flushed out goal. We have made it specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.
GOAL: Read 3-6 books from now through the end of the year, in the non fiction realm of personal growth, marketing, money and time management, utilizing my 15 minutes alone in the potty to read every day.
Comparing this flushed out goal to the first idea we wrote earlier in this post, which do you think will actually be achieved? Giving myself a plan for how I will actually achieve reading more books this year makes it much more likely that it will get done.
Now, its on to you.
Start with your basic goal idea:
Now flush it out.
Take the flushed out specifics and make your original goal idea into a goal you know you can achieve.
If you have more goals, go through the same process for each one. Make sure you limit it to 3 or 4 max in the time period you are working through, whether its a month, quarter or full year. Creating too many goals at once just isn’t sustainable.
Now, let me hear them! Post your goals in the comments below. Flush them out, we will all hold each other accountable by getting these goals out there for the world to see.
Doing this gives you so much more of an achievable means of following through with the things that are most important to you right now. Whether its professionally, with your family, or something personal, set yourself up for success. If you want 2021 to be better than 2020, only you can make that happen and this is the best way to start.
Keep growing, keep inspiring!