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As 2018 draws to a close in the next few weeks, you might start thinking about all the things you wish you had done differently, wish you hadn’t done, or maybe that you wish you had! Maybe you didn’t lose the weight, get the job, or pay off that debt. Or maybe you did. Either way, it’s time to forget all that and start looking forward. You can’t change what did or didn’t happen in the last year, but you can change what happens in the year to come! So grab your pen and paper and get ready to write some amazing 2019 goals!
Step 1: Dream Big
The first step in goal setting is looking at the big picture. What do you really want out of life? Take some time to create a dream board. This is the time to think big. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 3 years? 1 year? What do you want to accomplish? What do you want for your family? Don’t limit yourself here. Let your imagination go wild!
Step 2: Set Goals
In 2015 I started attending Celebrate Recovery* to help me deal with some personal issues in my life that I needed to overcome. In the process, I and a couple of friends began meeting regularly to help keep each other accountable for what we had set out to accomplish. It was through these meetings that we came up with a way to easily set meaningful goals, share them with each other, and hold each other accountable. Our method includes setting goals in five main areas of our lives (in no particular order). We affectionately call them our “ly’s”.
So, with that in mind, now is the time to start reigning in your big ideas. Take a look at your dream board. What did you write that you can feasibly accomplish in the next year? Choose goals to help you succeed in one or more of the following areas of your life.
Maybe you need to set up a budget, start an emergency fund, or stop eating out so much. Our family is still working on paying off our student loans. We are debt free besides our mortgage and those stupid student loans. Since my husband recently got a new (higher paying) job and I started working again, I’m hoping to make some pretty substantial moves towards getting rid of that debt!
Relationships are an essential part of our lives. We have friends, partners, children, co-workers, family, and maybe others that we usually have to interact with regularly. Are your relationships strong and steady or could they use a little TLC? As a major introvert, I struggle to make friends and maintain consistent, connected relationships with the friends I do make. Personally, I’m just as happy sitting at home with my kiddos binge watching my fave shows. But that may not be the healthiest thing for me. God created us, as humans, to be in relationship with others. It’s just part of a well-rounded healthy lifestyle. Decide what relationships or types of relationships you need to work on and set some goals!
Speaking of relationships, how is your spirituality? Your spirituality defines how you see the world. It shapes what you believe about yourself, about others, and about how you relate to everything and everyone around you. As a Christian, I believe that God is the creator of the universe and that He has sent the Holy Spirit to guide me and teach me. But I’m not perfect. One area I need to work on is spiritual disciplines, especially prayer and scripture reading. For me, it’s valuable to know what God teaches me in the Bible so that I can make wise choices and continue to live in a way that pleases God. For you, a good goal may be finding a church home, serving in some sort of ministry, or learning how to meditate. Do something that will bring you closer to God.
Honestly, I hate this one! Getting and staying healthy and physically fit is my least favorite thing to do. I do not enjoy exercise. I do enjoy food. That presents a problem, ha! Earlier this year, my husband and I decided to do a 10-week sugar detox. I ended up losing around 25 lbs just by changing my diet (which put me below my pre-baby weight, thank-you-very-much). We cut out all sugar and carbs for a week and then slowly started adding back in healthy amounts of them in the weeks that followed.
Since the detox ended, I’ve put back on around 5 lbs or so, but my goal right now is to just maintain my weight until the new year (Heelllooo, Holidays!). Starting January 1, my hubby and I are planning to hit the ground running to reach our goals! Physical goals don’t just have to be about weight, though. It could be about a health problem you’ve been facing, just being more active in general, or maybe even sleeping better.
I cannot stress enough how important mental health is. As someone who struggles with maintaining my mental health due to depression and anger, this is an area I am constantly fighting to do better in. It’s not a secret that mental health issues are becoming more and more prevalent every day. Thousands of people struggle with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and so much more. This is an area of our health that was often overlooked for many years. But with all the resources available today, it’s totally doable to overcome any challenges you may be facing.
My goals for mental health usually revolve around being more conscious of the things I say and how I say them since my anger can sometimes get the best of me. Even if you don’t struggle with mental health issues, setting a goal for self-care is just as important. Everyone needs some time to decompress and regroup sometimes. This may be a good area to include some goals about your favorite hobby or way to spend downtime. Do you enjoy reading? Maybe you like creating crafty things. This is the place to set some goals for that!
Step 3: Baby Steps
To be successful with any goal you set, you need to break it down into manageable chunks. Instead of saying, “I’m going to lose 100 lbs in 2019,” you could say, “Each month I will increase my exercise by 20 minutes.” Instead of saying, “I’m going to pay off $12,000 in debt,” you could say, “I will budget $1,000 a month towards debt.” The smaller the chunks, the easier it will be to accomplish them.
Think about it another way. Imagine you have 20 things on your to-do list. Looking at all the things that need to get done might be really overwhelming. But let’s say you took those 20 things and decided to focus on just one task a day for the next 20 days. Tomorrow when you wake up, you’ll look at your new plan and see one thing you need to focus on and not 20. It doesn’t seem so bad now, right?
It’s the same with goals. Look at the goals you’ve set in step two. For each goal you set, decide what small steps you can take each day, week, or month to move you closer to that goal. Write down those baby steps in your planner (learn how to use a planner effectively here). Now each day when you look at your plan of action, you’ll see a small step you can take right now and start having those little victories. It’s those daily steps in the right direction that will have you making giant leaps forward over time. And you’ll start to feel so much better about yourself!
Goal #1: Save 3 months of expenses for emergencies
- Create a budget
- Maintain budget for 3 months to determine average monthly expenses
- Save X amount each week for the remainder of 2019
Goal #2: Have more dates with my hubby
- Pick a date
- Find a babysitter
- Go on a date
- Repeat monthly
Goal #3: Integrate 3 Spiritual Disciplines into my daily life
- Decide which disciplines to focus on
- Research and learn about the first discipline
- Practice this discipline for 3-4 months
- Repeat with remaining two disciplines
Step 4: Set a Time
In order to be successful in your goals, you need to decide on a timeframe. Get specific. For my sample financial goal, I might say that I need to create a budget by the end of the first week of January. Then maybe I should give myself a little grace period to complete the “maintain” goal, so let’s say we complete that by May 1. Then you have the whole rest of the year to save! Without a time frame, you’re going to look at that savings goal in January, get overwhelmed, and promptly push it to the side. You might look at it again around September, but you’ll think it’s too late to start now! And the cycle starts over. Don’t. be. that. person.
You may not be able to set all of the specifics right at the beginning of the year. For instance, in my sample goal about spiritual disciplines, I can’t plan out my daily mini-goals until I know which disciplines I’m going to focus on and maybe do a little research and learning about them. In these instances, get as specific as you can right away and then continue adding more mini-goals each day or week as you progress throughout the year.
I believe in you. I believe you can set fantastic goals and you can CRUSH them! Momma, you got this. You were made to be awesome and 2019 is the year your hard work will start paying off if you only choose to believe in yourself and work towards your dreams a little bit at a time.
Go rock this, girl!
*”Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, 12 step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind. Celebrate Recovery is a safe place to find community and freedom from the issues that are controlling our life.” (Excerpt is taken from https://www.celebraterecovery.com/).
If you or someone you know struggles with a hurt, habit, or hang up of any kind and you would like more information about this program, please contact me. I have completed the 12 steps and have experience in leadership roles. I can get you connected with a group near you today!