Do you abandon your new year's resolutions two weeks into January?
I always mean well, but the follow through just isn't there. Probably because I never really took my resolutions seriously. They were more like wishes. Future things I'd be good at... eventually.
Two years ago, as 2017 was coming to an end, I was once again thinking about New Year's resolutions and found myself listing off the same ones that I’d had for several years:
Improve at work.
It was an annual script.
Every year I voiced some version of those resolutions and every year they were long forgotten by February.
It was time to forget resolutions and set goals instead.
Earlier that year, I had a conversation with a very accomplished friend who suggested I start setting goals for myself. Goals include the steps to accomplish them. Goals require me to check in on them. Goals speak to specific things in my life where I’d like to improve.
She told me to write down a goal. Decide what work you have to do to accomplish it, and write that down too. Then set quarterly check ins for yourself where you take the time to review your goals throughout the year and adjust (not erase) things as needed.
In that last week of December 2017, I did just that.
I set three goals for myself and outlined the work I was going to do to achieve them. Then I put reminders in my calendar to check in and review my goals every 3 months.
My first goal - pass the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification Exam - was accomplished before I got to my first 2018 check in. That March, my second goal - improve my mental health - was underway with therapist appointments and medication adjustments. But my third goal - build a regular exercise routine and stick to it - had been lost.
So I adjusted the “how” part of that goal and kept going.
It was an encounter with giant staircase that truly motivated me to make my exercise goal a reality.
When I checked in with my goals in June, I needed to make a couple adjustments.
By my fall check in, my goals were on track and I was feeling motivated to accomplish them.
As December 2018 ended, I had not only accomplished my three goals, but I felt ready to set new ones for 2019.
As it turns out, 2019 dealt me a couple of particularly difficult setbacks.
And I accomplished about 50% of my goals this past year.
But in doing a review of them for 2020, I’m going to carry a couple through to the new year and add in two additional ones to keep moving myself forward.
One of the goals I'm carrying forward is to keep the blog posts and recipes coming as I work to build an audience for this site. It’s a repeat goal from 2019, but I’m aiming to make it a win in the coming year.