I don’t like setting New Years Resolutions for a few different reasons. When I was younger, I would set lofty goals with my brother and cousins… and then never keep them. I’m a rule follower, so the fact that I could never keep my resolutions made me feel guilty. So I have a lot of negative feelings surrounding that term.
In my mind, New Years Resolutions are rules you make for yourself for the new year. They are you telling your future self what you can and can’t do. And rules can feel confining. They make you feel forced into something (even if you were the one who set the rule).
Now, there are a lot of people out there who like doing New Years Resolutions and don’t have any problem with them, which is great! If that’s you, I’m so glad they work for you! But they just don’t work for me.
Last year, I set goals for 2018. I had a few things I decided I wanted to do over the course of the year and wrote them down.
Now you may be asking, “Grace, how is that any different from New Years Resolutions?” Great question!
You may have a different view of resolutions, but I see them as rules. They are things you have to do (or not do). Goals, however, are an end result you are working toward.
Like I said, last year I set some goals. I wrote them down in my bullet journal so that I could look back at them. Every month, when I create my monthly layout I leave a “Goals” section. Here is where I would write down how I would work toward my goals that month. This ensured that I looked at my goals page every month to see what I was still working toward. It also made me think about practical steps I could take to accomplish my goals.
This year, I went about making goals for myself and for my family by creating a more and less list.
More & Less List
It’s pretty self explanatory, but a more and less list is a list of what you want more of and what you want less of in your life. For example:
More time outside
Less watching TV
More family dinners together
Less eating out
More finished project
Less time on phone
When creating your list, some things will have natural opposites, like wanting to drink more water and less caffeine. Other things might not, like wanting to spend more time crafting.
Setting My Goals
After making my own more and less list, I looked at the individual items and asked how I could turn them into goals. For example, I decided that I would set the goal of finishing 12 projects this year (or one per month). I have a lot of little projects (and some big ones) that have sat undone (like Baby Girl’s baby quilt) and now I am in a place where I can spend a little time knocking them out.
You may have seen the acronym before, but you want to create S.M.A.R.T. goals (an acronym originally used by George T. Doran). S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Making goals that are S.M.A.R.T. will help you articulate exactly what you want to see yourself accomplish in the new year.
There were a few things on my list that I couldn’t really make a goal for, like spending more time outside. But since I added it to my more and less list, I am more aware of my desire to do it and can be more intentional about getting out of the house.
Setting Family Goals
After creating a more and less list for myself, I talked to my husband and made one for our family. We talked about things we wanted more/less of for our family as a whole, for our kids, and for our marriage. We then worked together to make some goals for our family.
Working together to make these goals was a good opportunity for us to talk about what changes we would like to see in our family, how we spend our time, and how we are building relationships. It was a chance for us to get on the same page about our vision for the future and practical changes we can make to work toward it.
Tracking Your Goals
As I said, I write down my goals in my bullet journal. I have them all listed together in once place so I can refer to them when needed.
Each month, I look at the list and consider where I am in relation to each goal. Then I ask, “what do I need to do to make progress on this goal this month?” Doing this each month not only keeps my goals fresh on my mind, but it helps me to break the goals up into smaller tasks. For example, last year I had a goal to read 12 books. So, each month I would put on my monthly goals section “read one book.” That was it. It didn’t matter that in February I still had 11 more books to read for the year, I just needed to take it one book at a time.
For some goals, it’s helpful to track them a little more closely. For my goal to read 12 books, I dedicated a page in my bullet journal to keep track of each book I read. By doing this, I keep count of how many books I had read and didn’t have to try to remember in December what I read back at the beginning of the year.
When setting and pursuing goals, it’s important to remember when to give yourself some grace. I had set a goal to lose a certain amount of weight this year. One of the ways I pursued this was by setting another goal of running a 5k. While I’m happy to report that I did run my first 5k this year, I didn’t reach my weight goal for the year.
At the beginning of December I realized I might not reach this goal. Instead of starving myself to make sure I lost that last 5 pounds, I decided to give myself grace and I acknowledge that I wouldn’t reach that goal. I still tried to eat healthier and pursue that goal, but I didn’t beat myself up over the fact that I didn’t make it to my goal weight.
Goals are not there to make you feel guilty. They are there to help you pursue change.
So this year, set some goals that you’re excited about chasing. Set goals that you want to follow through on and give yourself grace when circumstances change and you have to let go of a goal for a season.
What are some of your goals for the new year?