Thursday, January 5, 2017

Goal Setting in 2017

Ah, another year, another set of goals. I'm not one to make resolutions because I feel like they are destined to fail. Yes, a rather cynical viewpoint, but I'm just going off of past experience. 😉 Instead, I prefer to set goals with the understanding that I will work hard toward them but I will not feel defeated if I don't accomplish all of them. To me, this approach allows for goals to change and for some leeway when things don't go the way I planned...because let's be honest, not a whole lot goes the way we plan. Can I get an Amen?
14" of snow at home this year!

I've been blessed to spend time at my parent's house in Northern California for most of the Christmas's in my life. For someone like me who loves tradition and LOVES Christmas, this is a huge blessing. This year was no different and I got to spend some really amazing time with my mom and dad (only child here) enjoying the beauty of the season from tromping through the snow to get our Christmas tree, to participating as a family in their church's Christmas Day service, to sitting around the fire and watching Hallmark movies. It was a truly beautiful time and is always just what I need at the end of the year to slow down and think.

It's after this time that I start to create my goals list. For this post, I've combined some of the things that I think through when I'm setting my own goals. This isn't an exhaustive list but it should help if this whole goal setting thing is new for you.

Setting Goals

Be Realistic
The first thing to consider when creating your goals list is to think through the realistic things that you can (and should) accomplish this year. This advice may seem like it's contradicting my later advice (specifically the "be a dreamer" part) but it's not. I think the foundation for most goals is set in reality. People often make their goals to farfetched or impossible which leaves them defeated at the end of the year thinking that they've accomplished nothing.

My first piece of advice is to be realistic when setting your goals. Take into account things like how much time you really have, what is physically/mentally/emotionally possible for you to accomplish this year, and how much time you'll have to devote to these goals.

**I'll talk more about how this relates to different areas of goal setting in subsequent posts this month so make sure to check back!

Be specific
If you say you want to be successful in 2017 you've just set up an impossible goal. What success looks like to you may look completely different to someone else. It's such a vague goal that you'll never be able to know whether you've accomplished it or not at the end of the year. To me (generally speaking) a goal is set so that it can be accomplished. Rather than vague, no-action goals, break things down into manageable chunks. If this was me, rather than saying "be successful", I could approach it like this "make double the amount of sales (in my Etsy shop) from 2016". That's a quantifiable goal (if not a bit ambitious).

Be daring & different
In addition to making manageable goals, make sure you are pushing yourself. Using the example from before, if I were to say "make as many sales in 2017 as I did in 2016" that's a good goal, but it's not really being daring. Maybe rather than doubling the number I could reach for 20 additional sales.

Where the 'different' comes in is the approach you take toward your goals. Most of us will look at what we already do and try to keep that going. I'm not saying that's wrong--if it's working then great! BUT, in my mind at least, part of goal setting is innovation. I market my shops through my Instagram and occasionally my blog & Facebook. As I set my goals, the innovation side of things could be ways my shops can become more visible aside from what I already do. Maybe that's through blog posts or podcasts or in-person meetings. This is the brainstorming part that comes with goal setting.

Be a dreamer
Here's where it may sound like I'm contradicting myself. While I fully believe you should be realistic with your goals, I do think there is a time and place for dreams. For those goals that may seem unrealistic or impossible to meet. While these are good, if they are the only goals you make you will feel a lack accomplishment if they aren't met.

My advice is to dream and be daring about those dreams but ground yourself with other attainable goals as well. Make it a balance so that you are pushing yourself but also setting yourself up for success.

Be part of a team
This last piece of advice is crucial in my opinion: be part of a team! Whether this is one person or five, holding yourself accountable to others is the best way to achieve goals. This goes for fitness goals, career goals, relationship goals, and many others. Don't underestimate the power of friends asking how you're doing to motivate you. I think of NaNoWriMo and how, once you say you are participating, your friends will ask you how your novel is going. That pressure is good because it keeps us honest in our efforts. It's the same with fitness - when you have a person or group of people asking you how your workouts and eating habits are, you're less likely to slip into old habits. And if you do, then you have friends there to help you out of those ruts.

I'll be posting about my life, writer, physical, and mental goals for 2017 throughout this month and I'd invite you to come back for those posts! I'll also be creating a handy PDF download for those of you who are looking to set goals as well. Be on the look out for that.

So what do you think? Will you be setting goals for 2017? What are some hurdles you face when goal setting? Share in the comments below!

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