I started writing this post early in the morning on the last Saturday of the year with all intentions to get it published in December per my previous goal to write one blog post each month. However, I still needed to recover from the marathon that is holiday season. For me, the holidays last from early October to New Year's Eve with a couple of best friends' birthdays, our engagement anniversary, and all the holidays and the parties that come with the time of year. Because I'm also in advertising, the last two months of the year feel like six as I work on wrapping up end of year projects before my clients go on holiday. If you somehow managed to survive the holidays in one piece and still like your friends, family, significant other, and job, same here and congratulations to us both!
While the last quarter of the year (again, if you're in advertising, you time the year based on quarters) tends to be my busiest, the first quarter is my slowest and sometimes favorite of the year. I love reflecting on the past and setting goals for myself. The start of the new year is a great time to think of all the possibilities when it comes to personal growth and with their gray days and quiet weekends, January, February and March are great months to kickstart new habits and routines. March also ends with my birthday, so I have something to look forward to as I work on building new routines.
The last few years of my life have been crazy as my husband and I navigated the complications of the social media and advertising industries, while also getting engaged, planning a wedding, and getting married. 2018 for me was about turning 30, reaching the finish line of wedding planning, getting married and having a fantastic celebration, and doing a lot of personal reflection on where I am in my life. I also was in my first local art show, got a new tattoo, and launched two very complicated and intense campaigns at work. For 2019, I'm looking forward to focusing on myself and finally accomplishing a number of goals I've identified over the years.
It's one thing to name a goal. Actually accomplishing it comes down to developing new habits and setting routines to be more productive and efficient as you work towards it, while enjoying the process along the way. No matter how driven and focused you are, you still need to be a real person and spend time with friends, relax, and maybe even go on a vacation or two. Throughout my experience, I've also found know that personal growth throughout the process is inevitable, so you should be prepared to adjust or adapt your goals along the way.
I've tried many methods of goal setting and planning and found that no matter what type of tools you use, it's more about the method. Below is what I did to set my goals for 2019 and how I plan to achieve them:
How I Identified My Goals:
1. Passion Planning
I made a laundry list of goals I want to accomplish, and then used the Passion Planner Method to designate what I want to accomplish in 3 months, 1 year, 3 years, and sometime throughout my lifetime. I then designated a "game changer", or what I need to do that will help me accomplish a majority of my goals.
2. Designate the Theme of the Year
My game changer was building out my artistic portfolio and building a network of creative people in order to pursue a more creatively-driven career. I decided then that my theme for 2019 was to focus more on my creative self.
3. Identify Top Six Categories
I'm all about having a balance, so I identified six categories of my life I want to improve on: Creativity, Personal Relationships, Self-Care, Professional, Finance, Health. I then designated a broad goal within each for the year. For example, in the Finance category I want to save a certain amount in my emergency fund and fully pay off my student loans at the end of the year.
How I Plan to Reach My Goals:
1. Designate Monthly Goals/New Habits per Category
Below is my notebook in how I laid out my monthly goals per category last fall. Each monthly goal is a habit or task I want to accomplish or begin doing by the end of the month. On the first of the month, I reviewed my progress in the past month, noted what worked and what didn't work, then designated goals for the upcoming month and how I'll accomplish it.
2. Making Weekly Task Goals
On Sundays, I will review my schedule for the next week and determine what I want to accomplish. I then identify daily tasks based on the time I have available and put it in my daily planner.
3. Track and Record Progress
I have begun to review my to-dos on a daily basis, my tasks on a weekly basis, and my larger category goals on a monthly basis. I will use Google Calendar to block off time, but then also throughout the day note how long certain tasks took. This is a habit I picked up doing timesheets for work and it helps to better determine how long it takes to accomplish certain tasks when I make a schedule for the future.
I also started meeting up with one of my best friends on a bi-weekly basis last fall to discuss our goals and progress from the past two weeks. It's helped me stay focused and determined while also having someone to bounce ideas off of and get feedback from.
Whatever the goal may be, the key is to be accountable for yourself and carve out time to not only work on the task, but also stay organized with your time and plan your schedule.
What are your goals for this year? How do you stay on track to accomplish them?