Goal setting does not have to be hard! It really can be something that brings joy, relief and accomplishment! I have a simple process that has helped me out enormously and I want to share it with you so you can benefit also!
Awhile back I had written a post about 5 Tips to setting attainable and achievable goals. This was the first step in the goal setting process and I am back to give you the next step. This step dives a little deeper and allows us to break the broad, “umbrella” goals down into smaller, “bite-sized” pieces.
Before we ‘dive deeper’ I wanted to review over the first steps in the process (from the above link) and the tips that go along with it!
Second– write out a “brain dump”. Essentially making a list of all those projects, ideas, goals that you want to accomplish and figure out; getting it all out of your head helps you see the bigger picture.
Third– Think of your season of life and come up with 4-5 areas of priority and importance in your life. These will be the headings in which your goals will fall under. My areas include- *Motherhood/Family *Marriage *Personal *Home/Money *Blog/Business.
Fourth– Write 1-3 things you want to accomplish or work toward in each priority area. You can refer to your brain dump now, but you may find there are things that aren’t on it…this is ok. Do this for each area and don’t worry if these things are broad, that is ok.
Fifth– Give yourself grace! This process can be defeating if you let it…you might not get it all accomplished and this is ok. It is in the working toward something and the imperfect progress that you gain your accomplishment. You will get there!
So the next step in the process involves breaking down those broad ideas, under each priority area, into smaller pieces so that we can work toward that broader goal a little bit each month.
Here are my My 2016 Goals. You will see that they are more broad and offer me an opportunity to break them down into monthly “bites”. (Something else that impacts my goals and goal setting, by clarifying my priorities and needs, is coming up with a word for the year- read about that here- The Most Impactful Way I Start the New Year. )
For example my Home/Money yearly goals include:
1. Pay off all non-mortgage debt by the end of the year.
2. Save up and pay cash for our next home improvement.
3. Come up with a new cleaning schedule that is more manageable.
Each of these goals are somewhat specific, but allow me to break them down each month to (hopefully!) reach the yearly goal by year’s end. So in order to do move forward with this next step, I have 3 Tips:
- Ask yourself- “What can I do each month to reach that goal?” So for my first Home/Money goal of ‘paying off all non-mortgage debt by the end of the year’ I need to look at how much debt we have and divide it by the amount of time I have allotted for us to reach that goal. This way I have an estimate of how much each month we need to be paying to get rid of that pesky debt. For my ‘organizing and clearning clutter in each area of the house’ goal I need to make a list of the different areas of the house and fit each area into each month of the year and this becomes my monthly goal.
- Look at your calendar and monthly schedule in order to further set your goals for the month. Some goals take scheduling and it is best to set and plan those at the beginning of the month then trying to scramble to get them in mid-late in the month or sometimes they just don’t happen! Now some goals don’t take scheduling (such as my paying off non-mortgage debt-it really isn’t something I have to schedule since I pay bills on pay days so it is a matter of budgeting and writing the checks!), but some do so make sure to plan now, otherwise something else will creep in I am sure! Another plus of this is you have it written on your calendar you are more likely to follow through. Organizing and clearing clutter is not my idea of fun on a weekend, so if I don’t block a day out to do it I most likely won’t do it. So I look ahead into my month and find a day or weekend depending on size of the area and block it out as my cleaning/de-clutter day, weekend, afternoon, etc.
- Be realistic and don’t over do. There will be some months that you will have more commitments and life is more full. No worries and give yourself grace. Just make sure your goals reflect that. Do not write out as many goal “pieces” that month. You won’t feel like you aren’t getting anywhere because you realistically looked at the month and set your goals according to what you can do, not what you might want to do or check off the list. There is always next month to add a little more…or maybe not and that is ok. You have to know what works best for you and what you might be able to accomplish in a certain amount of time so you can feel success…every little bit helps! Baby steps are definitely key here and everyone is going to get to their larger goals in a different way.
So here is an example of my broken down February goals for my Home/Money priority area:
- Try out and experiment with different weekly cleaning days-tasks to see what works best. Mark in my planner what I do each day for that week to see what works best and is the most manageable right now.
- Put all extra money toward our “new window” project so that we can pay cash when they are installed in April. Our debt pay-off is being put on hold since this window project is more immediate and needed right now. We will put our money that was going toward debt pay off in the savings for this project along with any tax refunds we receive.
- Organize and declutter the basement office area by clearing out all items, going through papers, rearranging furniture, donating and selling stuff not needed and setting up a new work space for me. I will do this on Saturday February 20th and the next day if needed also.
So I looked at my larger, more broad goals and broke it down with what I could do in the month of February. I also looked at our family calendar and decided what was realistic with the other commitments we already had for this month. I scheduled time for any goals that needed to be scheduled. I also gave myself grace for two things; one being that we aren’t going to be working toward our debt pay off goal this month since there is another more immediate money/home goal and also in that I know life happens so some goals may not get completely accomplished. I do this every month, because as a mom we all know that some days, weeks, months the unexpected happens and in order to prepare myself for that I have to start the month saying this is what I am working toward, but if life happens than it is ok…I will and can move it to the next month if it needs to be. This is not an excuse, but rather a step toward realizing progress is more important that perfection.
The next step in all of this is obviously following through on your plan and making that progress in your monthly goals, therefore also making progress in your yearly goals. If you have it set up where you can realistically work on it a little bit at a time, you will get there! Remember these are baby steps and there is hope in accomplishing these little tasks because it gets you that much closer to your larger goal. Also it means you are working in your priority areas of YOUR life; bringing your day to day and aligning it with the important parts of your life which will truly bring you more purpose, drive and JOY.
Have you started using this goal setting process? What is your favorite part and why?