Friday, January 6, 2017

Long Range Goals and How to Plan for the New Year

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I really love to make goals.  I like the possibility, I like knowing that I can grow, I like the change.  Goals help me achieve those things.  Setting goals is something that I do every January.  I like to map out my year to see where I want to go, what I want to accomplish, which direction to steer my family in.  Goals are important.

Several years ago I stopped writing resolutions in favor of goals.  I thought that while saying “I will be healthy” was a great idea, it was not something that was achievable because there were no steps, there was no end.  What would “be healthy” actually look like?  So I started writing goals, but then I realized…

I am excellent at coming up with goals, but not the steps to achieve them.

I read so much about setting SMART goals.  If you haven’t heard the acronym before it goes a little something like this –

S – specific, significant, stretching
M – measurable, meaningful, motivational
A – agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R – realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T – time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable <source>

When you come up with a goal, it should have all of these parts to it. 

Long Range Goals and How to Plan for the New Year

I am really good at coming up with every change I ever want to happen in my life, all tidy in a one year commitment period.  Unfortunately, that is incredibly unrealistic.

I am a big picture sort of gal.  I can look at my life, at my family’s life, and see what I want for us to move towards, how I want our lives to be, but I often forget that I can’t change everything in a short amount of time, and I shouldn’t either.

There are stages of life, and while each stage has its challenges, I really need to be fully present in each stage, instead of always looking forward to the next one.

I said in my post about choosing one word for the year that I love the newness that January brings, the change of the calendar, the new seasons, it gives me a sense of refreshing my life.  But, I sometimes look forward a little too much.

Long Range Goals and How to Plan for the New Year

I can see what I want my life to be like when my kids are older, when they are able to take care of themselves a bit more.  I think part of that comes from having a toddler in the home, and knowing that I am needed for just about everything.  I love to be needed, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it is stressful feeling so needed, without remembering that I also need me.

When thinking about my goals for this year, I realized that I need to be more realistic.  Having the steps to achieve my goals is awesome, but if I am unrealistic about the goal itself, or the time frame that I am working with, then perhaps it isn’t the right goal for me this year.

Because of my struggles in the past with SMART goals, I decided to make a change for 2017. 

In 2015 I read a book called Make it Happen by Lara Casey.  It was an amazing book, and if you haven’t read it, you definitely should.

As you can probably tell from the title, it is a book about achieving the life that you want, living life on purpose.  It definitely helped me in formulating goals for 2015 and 2016, but I was still too lofty.  There wasn’t enough balance between personal and professional goals. 

In 2015 I worked hard on personal goals, and 2016 I worked hard on professional goals.  What I needed was a way to combine the goals, or to make goals that were not complete polar opposites.  Achieving a life lived on purpose.

This year I decided to help myself by purchasing the 2017 PowerSheets Goal planner.

Over the past few years I have moved back to paper and pen – for planners, for to-do lists, for pretty much everything in my normal day to day.  It works better for me to have it sitting in front of me, for me to go through the process of actually writing it out rather than typing it.  I knew that this goal planner would definitely help me realize the goals that I want to accomplish this year.

Why do I think it will work so well?  Because of the questions that the planner lays out to respond to.

Like I said before, coming up with changes I want to make in my life is easy, but formulating that change into a SMART goal doesn’t always work for me.

Long Range Goals and How to Plan for the New Year

Sure, professional goals are usually pretty easy – for example “I want to hit 100,000 page views per month by March.”  And even some of my personal goals are written well, “I want to read 100 books in 2017.”  However, making sure that I continue that through all of my goals is also important.

How am I going to change goal setting in 2017?

I have decided to segment my goals into categories again – I did this back in 2014, and honestly that was a really smart decision on my part. 

In that post I talked a bit about how I like to cram all of my goals into one year, but that isn’t realistic.  And while I did great for one year with that, having a baby at the end of 2014 probably threw off my goal setting in 2015 and 2016.  Now, Lucy is 2 and life is a little more normal around here again, so I can sit and think a little more clearly.

I don’t want to pile on an entire decade of goals into one year, that is completely ridiculous, and I know better.  But, in January I have all of this optimism and want to accomplish it all – see above about the newness of flipping the calendar.

My plan is to do a little more long term goal setting.  I obviously have a lot that I want to accomplish this year, but I also need to do more long term planning.  What do I want my life to be like in 3 years?  In 5 years?  In 10 years?

Because I am a big picture kind of gal, if I am able to sit down, look at my list of goals and changes to my life, my blog, my family life, etc. I will then be able to categorize them into a long term goal or something that can be accomplished this year. 

When I see the long term goal, it will be easier for me to look at the steps that I need to take this year in order to realize that goal in 3, 5, or even 10 years. 

It is all about perspective.

I’m really excited about this new goal setting strategy that I have.  If you are looking for those thought provoking questions to help you write your goals for this year, I definitely recommend the questions that Tsh puts out on her blog the art of simple every year.  I started using these questions years ago, and they have helped me formulate ideas and paths that I want to take. 

My plan is to share some of these goals with you over the coming weeks, and I would love to hear what your goals are. 

Are you more of a long range planner, or someone who likes to see their goals attained in the very short term?  Or do you fall somewhere in the middle?

29 comments:

  1. I always use the SMART format which luckily works for me but I understand how it may not work for everyone. I totally agree with going back to basics with paper & pen I have tried pretty much every app and electronic calendar going and nothing seems to work as well for me.

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  2. I love this SMART acronym! Sadly I never heard of it so thats probably why I fail with my new year's resolutions and plans haha!

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  3. I think I like short term goals because the more I know things are being accomplished, the better I feel.

    Belle | www.OneAwesomeMomma.com

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  4. I love the SMART goal approach to setting goals and I use it myself. I too have to use a planner with actual paper and pen, the digital planners just don't cut it for me. I have been hearing lately about Powersheets and I have been meaning to check it out.

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  5. I like to have long-term goals but also set shorter ones that I can attain faster. That way, I know that I am making progress and feel motivated to continue until I reach the end goal.

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  6. I tend to get impatient and want to see results right away. As I'm getting older, I know that slow and steady wins the race so I have to be more patient.

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  7. I have tried a lot of goal setting and the NYE resolutions... but I'm not about that anymore. I like to set things "To Do" instead, and do them throughout the year, and it is much more attainable.

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  8. I use the SMART goal approach! I learned it when I was studying for my personal training certification and it's stuck with me ever since. It works so well and really helps me accomplish what I set my mind to!

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  9. I just like the New Year because it tends to refocus me and helps me take time to look at my life and see what I want to do better.

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  10. I have never heard of the SMART approach before. I will say I can't live without my good old paper planner. I've tried and I just can't!

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  11. I am reading Make it Happen right now. I love my paper planner and I love writing SMART goals!

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  12. I love the SMART approach! I am definitely more of a short term kind of planner. I get too anxious & impatient to plan things long term :)

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  13. Hmm interesting post. I didn't think there was a difference between a resolution in a goal. Goals are a bit more specific I guess. I try to set smart goals too.

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  14. I fall somewhere in the middle. I have a five year plan but set lots of short term goals to get where I want to be in five year. Though we've just hit all our goals and are kinda lost as to what to do next! I love the SMART formula!

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  15. I really like the idea behind the SMART goals. What a great way to lay things out.

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  16. I always try to make "goals" instead of resolutions but the past few years I just didn't bother doing anything. I found it really helpful in being more productive and getting things done. - Jeanine

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  17. Oh wow I forgot all about SMART goal planning. I am going to reference this post throughout the year to make sure I am on track with my own goals.

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  18. I'm Not Making annual goals this year but yours are great. I want to focus on smaller monthly steps and hope for bigger achievements from that. I never stick to Resolutions!

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  19. I think it is a great goal to learn how to actually make goals! :) I am definitely a long range planner, because I understand that good things take time to happen and the most important thing to remember for me is to enjoy the process in between and not get lost setting goals and achieving them, setting a new goal - it turns in a race that doesn't bring true happiness. So, my New Resolution is to stop and smell the roses :) Happy 2017!

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  20. I love this! The problem with my New Year's Resolutions is that I make big goals that can't practically be accomplished in the year.

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  21. I love this SMART way to plan goals!
    Can't add mre to this! A few years ago I learned it and my life changed! Happy New Year full of achievements!

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  22. I have never heard of this, SMART! I love it. I pinned it to my goal board and will definitely implement it.

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  23. I love the idea of SMART goals and planning. It is so easy to get overwhelmed or set unrealistic and unmeasurable goals.

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  24. I would say that I have both long term and short term goals. It's important that we set something realistic as well, it's what motivates us to achieve them while you're in the process. I love getting a planner every year, it's like a ritual.

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  25. This is the first year in a long time that I feel like I am really set up to complete my goals for the year. It is a great feeling!

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  26. I love SMART! I get really impatient so I plan very quickly but with SMART it changes the way I think!

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  27. I study advertising and marketing, and we use SMARTT to set objectives for campaigns. It's highly effective both in marketing and for setting your own personal goals!

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  28. Setting realistic goals is something I've struggled with in the past. There is so much I want to do. I feel I make my lists way to packed which leave me wanting to quite quicker. Thanks for the tips dear

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  29. Setting realistic goals is something I've struggled with in the past. There is so much I want to do. I feel I make my lists way to packed which leave me wanting to quite quicker. Thanks for the tips dear

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