For me, the best way I have found to set and keep goals is to not set them only because it is a new year or because it's expected. When I set a new year's resolution or new year's goal I tend to psych myself out a bit. So, in order to combat that feeling of drowning in new goals, I try to set goals periodically throughout the year, giving myself time to reflect on the previously accomplished goal.
Once I have reviewed where I have been and what I have accomplished, I reflect on what is going on in my life, what could make it better? This goes for both personal and professional life. I'm a list maker-- so I write all of these things down in a notebook, and I choose ONE. Even if I think, "oh yeah I got this, I can do 3 goals, easy!" Chances are I can't do them all as well as I could if I focused on one. Now, that doesn't mean that I don't refer back to my list once I complete goal 1, it just means I don't bite off more than I can chew, something I learned the hard way years ago.
What about those goals that don't seem to be moving forward, do I just give up on them? No- not just on a whim. I chose that goal for a reason but, like we all know and feel, life happens. And that's okay. It's okay to say, "wow I need to refocus my energy on this goal" or maybe even, "this goal isn't as helpful as I once thought it was, how can I change it to make it a better fit for my life?" If I can't get behind a goal or refocus a goal I don't beat myself up. I go back to my notebook, I reflect on this goal, on my life, and choose a new goal. Some goals can fit your life and situation one moment and not the next, it's how you adapt to that change that will give you successful reflection and growth. Not to mention, just because I didn't fully complete one goal doesn't mean that I didn't learn from that goal, which is why I reflect on the goal itself even if incomplete before moving on to a new goal.
What about you? How do you handle goals, resolutions and changing for the better?
Written by: Phylicia Vallier, Training Specialist