New year, new goals! Below, contributor and freelance writer Mallory Lehenbauer shares her tips for setting goals that you can actually keep.
I am all about dreaming big. I love seeking after the next project or adventure, sometimes abandoning my current one and changing all my priorities. And after two years of freelance writing, starting a small business and working with several small businesses, I now know better.
Here’s how I set goals in 2019 and actually keep them.
Decide how you want to feel
Each January, I look forward to the reset and take the entire month to really establish where I want to go to the next eleven. I begin by ready the Desire Mapping by Danielle Laporte. I love her approach to seeking happiness. She says, “When we want to feel courageous more than we want to check accomplishments off our list … When we want to feel free more than we want to please other people … When we want to feel good more than we want to look good … then we’ve got our priorities in order. Divine priorities—the kind that will steer you to the life you long for most deeply.” Now, I must admit Danielle’s approach tends to fall in a more spiritual realm, but it’s a great place to start. I found my desires change each year based on my circumstances.
Prioritize: know your Big Rocks
Once I decide how I want to feel, I think about what things are important to me in my professional and personal life. As an entrepreneur, I find these worlds overlap more than I care to admit. In college, a mentor of mine explained goals/desires as the “big rocks” in your life. It goes like this: if your life is a vase, the big rocks have to go in first followed by the little rocks, followed by the sand. If you try to fill your vase in the reverse order: sand, little rocks, big rocks – not everything fits. Decide what your five big rocks are and write them down.
Make goals around what’s most important
Use the five (or however many you need) big rocks to create attainable goals. What do I mean by attainable? Shoot for the moon, not the sun. You are usually capable of more than you think. Take a few days to think about your goals, look at your last year and decide what you want to do differently. Once you think you’ve nailed them down, write them down! Place them somewhere you can see them every day, like on your desk, your mirror or fridge.
Map it out
You’ve decided how you want to feel, you’ve distinguished your big rocks, you’ve prioritized what’s important and you’ve written down solid goals, now what? Let’s break those goals down into tangible pieces. Sit down with a calendar and break your big goals into smaller chunks, setting a deadline for each one. It’s easier to reach smaller goals that seem more attainable. Adding them to your calendar will hold you accountable and be a constant reminder of the end game.
I find goal setting in the new year rejuvenating and a fresh start. I love cracking open my new planner and making small changes to my routine in order to continue becoming the best version of myself. Cheers to 2019 being a year of success and joy!
Mallory Lehenbauer is a writer and entrepreneur. She’s also the Founder and Editrix in Chief of Writing Home Society.