Personal Goals

It is the end of the year, and people will talk about what their resolutions are for the next year. The reality is that most of these resolutions will be abandoned within the next month, if not within a few days. I know very few who write them down.

In previous blogs I’ve challenged you to get uncomfortable. This exercise might help you to think about how to get uncomfortable in the next year. Set aside your experiences of SMART goals at work, though you need to put some feet to each of these. Set aside a couple of hours, and using this template as a guide, write down your thoughts. If you don’t like a section, skip it. If you have another section you want to add, add it. Full disclosure – I am sure I stole parts of this from others over the years, but as I have been using a similar template since 2012, I can’t give any credit there.

Once you complete this, have it some place that you can look at regularly, weekly if possible. It keeps your eyes on what you want to do, which helps you focus on being efficient so that you can do what you truly love. If you find you are not progressing in March, start over. If you realize that your passion for one of the goals fades due to life changes, adjust. And very importantly, don’t go from 0-60 immediately. If you never read, don’t aim for 52 books, try for 4. If you don’t exercise, don’t start out with 7 days a week, maybe just walk 3 days a week. This is for you to grow, not become frustrated.

Here are some thoughts on the sections:

Overall: I like to come up with a theme for the year. This can be a Scripture that I want to memorize or live out. It could be a quote that has been overly meaningful. If you like to assign a single word to your year to live out, put that down and why.

Professionally: This is different from your goals at work itself. This may be networking, finding a speaking opportunity, going back to school, refreshing your resume, finding a mentor.

Personal Spiritual Growth: I talk with people who never think about their personal spiritual growth, but want to improve it. Depending on your faith, this could be memorization, intentional meditation time, scheduling a retreat, regular attendance at your place of worship.

Family: I list out members of my family and how I want to engage with them during the next year. This could be planning a vacation or putting down specific activities to do with them.

Physically: I put down health goals, whether losing weight, going to the gym with a friend 2x a week, cooking at home so that I eat out less.

Personal Growth: I’m a reader, so I track what I read. I have put some ideas if you want to set goals to stretch yourself out of what you normally read. Maybe you just set a goal of reading two books on productivity and putting those down here. This might be a good place to say that you are going to spend less than 30 minutes a day on social media and how you want to track that usage.

Organization: Just an idea if this is something you want to get done. It can be your honey-do list.

Hobby: Whether fishing, photography, bird-watching, hiking, put down some ideas or challenges that you want to do this year. Maybe joining a club, maybe doing a 30-day challenge.

There are two other pieces for each section that I add. One is Ideas, which is something that I want to put on paper, but don’t know how to put it down as a goal. The other is Summary, which I fill out at the end of the year as I prepare my goals for the next year.

So think about what you want to do in 2021. Write it down. When I come back in 2021 I am going to talk about how I block my schedule in a job where I don’t get 4 hour blocks. Happy New Year!

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