Do you want to actually have a Transformative Year? Here are some easy tips to get your map for 2018 squared away! I am going to take you through the process that I have been using since around 2006, and it has been really helpful to me, and hopefully, you can take this simple structure and apply it your goals in 2018!
First, before we move ahead, I want to talk about the idea of GOALS versus Resolutions. I have never been a fan of Resolutions in general, vague and you usually fail at them within a few days if not a few hours for some folks. As a person who has always been a bit Goal Oriented, I like the idea of having a specific destination in mind. Resolving to be more affectionate to my wife in 2018 is not very specific. How am I going to be more affectionate? However, if I say, I am going to hand write my wife a love note every month in 2018, that gives me some more specificity, and it pushes me towards something very important… action.
Second, a GOAL can cover any topic. You can set goals for our health. You can set goals for your career. You can set goals for your hobby of choice. It does not really matter what part of your life is affected by the goal, but what is important is that you become conscious of what you want to accomplish in that area of your life. However, here are a few categories that may help you define your goals:
- Health and Fitness: Want to drop a few pounds, be able to do 100 pushups or run a 5K? This is the category for those!
- Travel and Leisure: Always wanted to go to Italy on a vacation? Maybe you finally want to build that Millennium Falcon model you bought two years ago. This is the category for those!
- Education and Personal Development: Want to finish a Masters Degree? Maybe you just want to learn how to cook authentic Japanese Cuisines. Knock it out in this category!
- Creative Work: Want to start that Blog? Write that first draft of a novel? Maybe get into acting again?
- Personal Relationships: Lost touch with a member of your extended family? Need to dump that bad Boyfriend or Girlfriend? Need to find one? This is that category.
- Self Improvement: Tired of self-doubt? Need to learn to be more assertive at work? This is that category.
PRO TIP #1, Be Specific with your Goals! My old Acting Teacher, Fran Montano, told a great story about how specificity bit him the ass one year. I have told this to a lot of students and mentorees over the years to illustrate why it is important to be specific. Actors of course, always have an eye on the Oscars. It’s a dream for many people to one day ‘stand on that stage’ and receive their Oscar award! Fran also had that same Goal. So, one year, while watching the ceremony on television, he made it a goal to ‘Stand on that Stage’ at the Oscars within a year! Less than a year later, Fran was at a dance rehearsal for the Academy Awards show! He had been cast and was on that stage! Goal accomplished, right? No! Fran felt an overwhelming feeling of disappointment because he did not want to STAND ON the stage! He wanted to receive an Oscar.
His lack of specificity in his goal setting reflected two flaws. He was not honest with himself about what he wanted to achieve. He short-changed his goals and aspirations. He doubted his own abilities. Second, he failed to allow himself the opportunity to envision big changes in his life.
PRO TIP #2, Set Aside Time to Brainstorm & Reflect! This is a big deal. You cannot be transformative without developing some level of strategy, and you cannot do that without setting aside some time to focus on your goals and reflect on where you are at and where you would like to go. The AMOUNT of time you devote to this process is up to you. This really depends on how you look at your goals in general. For me, this process is pretty long and often stretches over several days and sessions. I will spend at times an hour or two during the holidays on separate days just looking back on the year, and reflect and examine where I want to be in a year from now. You might have simpler ideas. You may have one or two goals that are easy enough to plan. It does not matter how much time you set aside, just be conscious. Grab a calendar, mark the time or times and get it done.
PRO TIP #3, Write it Down! You want a record of your goals. You want to write them down. Seriously. Pen and Paper is fine. Type it out in a Google doc, if you want to do that. But you want to write these things down, and keep them in a place that you can easily revisit weekly. Yes, I said weekly!
PRO TIP #4, Track & Review! Oh, you thought you would just think of some big ideas, jot them down in a journal and be done? Oh, you silly sod, NO! You have to do the hard work now! Everything I have written up until now is about coming up with a Plan! Now you have to execute. And the only way to do that is to develop some consistency. I recommend TRACKING your progress in some formal capacity! There are dozens and dozens of ways and apps and custom made journals to help you do this! You can decide. I use Asana for BIGGER projects and goals to allow me the flexibility to track on my phone, or on my home computer. I set aside time weekly to review and plan my week to see what I can do to get closer to accomplishing one of my goals. This frequency allows me to also keep the goals at the front of my conscious brain, which is key. It’s possible for folks to make BIG PLANS at the top of the year only to find the calendar slip to September without any real progress. I usually pick Saturday morning with Sunday as a fallback day. I always look at Monday as the start of my week and the start of another opportunity to creep closer to knocking out a goal.
How do I start accomplishing my goals? This is probably your next BIG question. How do I get moving towards completing my goals? Let me take you through one of my more personal and important goals for 2017. Lose 60 lbs. Now, losing 60 lbs is NO small feat. It’s pretty overwhelming, with a pretty daunting gap between today and 60 lbs lighter. So, the key here is to break down the goal into STEPS. This makes it a lot easier for the big ones. Right now, you have a goal in mind, think of that next step you have to take to reach that goal. For me, it was simple. I wanted to meet with a Nutritionist to help me plan out my diet. I know that 80% of weight loss success stems from Nutrition. So, I need to have some help. Calling and setting up that appointment with a Nutritionist was the first big step I needed to take. Also, for BIG Goals, creating multiple steps you can check off on a linear path towards your success is really helpful and it does two things. First, it makes the GOAL seem more attainable and less intimidating. Second, it allows you the pride of ‘checking off’ those steps as you accomplish them. I broke my weight loss goal into 4 phases that of 15-pound increments to make it easier for me to feel like I was making the progress I wanted to make. However, it’s really easy to start.
Break down the goal into steps, and then look at that first step and see what you can do this week to move towards accomplishing your goal. Once you accomplish that, move to the next step. It is as simple as that.
I hope you found this helpful or maybe it sparked some new ideas for you around the start of the year. If you have questions about my GOAL SETTING routine, feel free to leave them in the comments below, or hit me up on TWITTER!