Ah, that classic end-of-the-year tradition. One of my first posts on this blog was about goal-setting, and that was back in January of this year. Seems only fitting that I close out the year with another post about reaching your goals.
I’ve always been a little conflicted where the New Year is concerned. I like the atmosphere and the optimism around goal-setting, but I also think the hype and the expectation undercut the value behind it all.
Reaching your goals is a process, not an end result. You have to work at it. It’s usually hard, that’s why it’s something we aspire to do in the first place. And I think a lot of people get caught up in the hopeful atmosphere and don’t follow through on the commitments they make to themselves.
Or maybe they realize just how hard it’s going to be and their resolve wavers to the point where they give up until the next year begins, and then they try again, hoping it’ll be easier the second or third time around.
I think it’s very human of us to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another by trying to improve ourselves or our situations. It’s a nice way of ringing in the new year, and I’m never going to sully someone else’s aspirations. I wholly support anyone who wants to use the new year as a fresh start.
For me, I’m going to use the new year as a way of re-evaluating my goals from the last 365 days and doing a bit of course-correcting to get myself back on the right track. I’m trying to think of the new year as a marker, rather than an end or a deadline. A chance to reflect and adapt, instead of making a completely new list of goals.
I want to know what I achieved, and what I didn’t, and hopefully understand why so I don’t make the same mistakes in 2020. More than anything I want to hold myself accountable when I screw up, or waste time. I know I’ve taken some missteps that I could have avoided had I done more research. I also know that there were a lot of mistakes that were unavoidable. I had to make them to see where I really needed to go.
Pick Three Things
If I have any recommendation for you, it’s to keep things small. Having a massive list of things to do is just setting yourself up for failure. If you do decide to set a list of goals or resolutions for the new year, keep it short. We can only focus on so much. If you happen to achieve one, then you can introduce a new one to take its place, but if you spread yourself too thin, you won’t get anywhere.
Trust me, it is way too easy to get stuck working towards something and making no progress. For years I’ve felt like I’ve been working my butt off, but I’ve barely made any traction. And the honest truth is that I was preoccupying myself with busywork or spending small amounts of time on dozens of projects instead of focusing on a handful. Momentum is one of those things you don’t really consider until you don’t have it anymore.
Keep your goals list small and concise, and ask yourself every time you sit down to work if what you are doing is directly helping you reach your goal. If it’s not, then it’s probably not something you should be working on.
Maybe you’ll find three goals you didn’t get to last year. If you’ve already made your list, take a closer look and pick the three things you want to achieve first or the three that are most important to you and start with those. Go into the new year with a little less on your plate.
It doesn’t seem quite as glamorous as having a big bucket list of everything you want to do in 2020, but if you actually want to achieve them, you need to give yourself a fighting chance.
Let’s Keep Each Other Accountable!
It’s not quite the new year yet, so I’m sitting on my three goals for now, but I’d love to hear some of the things you want to achieve in 2020! If we help each other out and keep each other accountable, maybe we can all achieve our goals at the start of this new decade!