With the New Year upon us, it’s a time of resolutions and a time to reset ourselves. Now’s as good a time as any to learn how to set intentional, actionable goals using this effective strategy!
Happy New Year!
2020 is here! I don’t know about you, but having been born in the 1900s, when I think about the fact that we are now living in 2020, my mind is blown. The thought of 2020 makes me feel like we are way behind the times of what my 1980s-born mind had dreamt up for what life would look like in the 2020s. We are not living life like Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, in a space station with space-age, state-of-the-art electronics and hoverboards and shiny leggings and scrunchies… well, actually, we might be there as it turns out.
With the New Year upon us, it’s a time of resolutions and a time to reset ourselves. Maybe you’ve told yourself you’re going to get healthy this year or you’re gonna learn a new hobby. I have never been much of a New Year Resolutionist, but this last year I did a lot of work on goal-setting, and, going into 2020, I’m feeling much better about how to turn those distant dreams of “I wish I could…” or “Someday I’d like to…” into actionable goals.
Part of setting goals, for me, started with a deep-dive into learning how to take care of me. This last year has been more about getting right with myself than any other time in my life, and that really helped me figure out who I am, what I want, and how I achieve the life I dream for myself.
You might be thinking “Okay, cool, that’s great for you. But how does that actually turn into setting actionable goals?” Well, I’ll tell you.
I got much better at identifying goals for personal growth after I actually put into practice Rachel Hollis’ idea of 10-10-1.
The idea behind this is to identify your ideal self in 10 years. If you look at your future self, who do you hope you will be in 10 years? Close your eyes and think of this. Dream big. Get a pen and some paper and write this down. Do It. It’s awesome. I promise.
What kind of person are you? Where do you live? How do you live? What’s important to you? What do you wear/how do you dress? What do you do? How do you feel? Write all of it down, without reservation. Let your imagination run wild, get specific, and don’t judge yourself or censor yourself. Write it down and just go with it.
This next step is that next level deeper thinking. In order to become that ideal self, identify 10 goals you’d need to reach. As Rachel says, “if those ten dreams came true, they would make your vision a reality.” You need to be specific here because this is how you actually plan to achieve that vision you set for yourself in the step before.
For example, if the best version of yourself wears a size 6 when your current self is not even close to that, then one of your dreams might have to include a plan for weight loss and/or an exercise regimen.
Rachel’s big thing is about documenting these 10 dreams in what she calls a Start Today Journal. She talks about writing these dreams down in a daily practice she combines with gratitude journaling, but she writes them in present tense, as if they’ve already happened. It’s a mindset thing. If you write these dreams down as though they’ve already happened, your brain will start to believe it and will help drive your focus in the direction of those dreams.
Which one of those dreams are you going to focus on right now to make it a reality? You have to ask yourself “What is one goal, one thing you can do that will get you closer to the 10 years from now version of yourself the fastest? What is the one goal out of the 10 you just finished identifying that you can work on this year?” To make this actionable, Rachel says two things: you need to make specific, and you need to have a way to measure your success against it. In other words, what specifically are you going to do and what will you use to track your progress?
So, what did this look like for me in 2018?
When I outlined my 10 Years, I noted that I wanted to be “Active, move my body every day” and that I was hoping that I’d be thinner (“At least 50 lbs lost”). So, if my one goal, my one focus, was to get healthy and be active, I needed to figure out what I was going to do about losing weight and how I planned to be active. Enter my two action items: I joined WW and downloaded the Couch to 5k App to help me start running on a regular basis.
WW became a manageable and structured way for me to change my eating habits and helped me consistently lost weight (47.4 pounds and counting!). Weight loss is an easy one to track progress because the scale is the measurement, but I also have been using body measurements to track those non-scale victories. Couch to 5K was a great tool to help me get started running because the app is set up to encourage you to run 3 times a week. Tracking progress is easy there too because the length of time and the distance you’re able to run grows the more you do it.
Next year will be an adventure and this is the perfect opportunity to level-set again and define my new 1 GOAL to focus on to help me achieve my 10/10/1. Because I was able to put this strategy into practice once already, I’m looking forward to identifying another goal from my list of dreams and tackling one more!
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Cover Photo Credit: Photo by Jessica Thames from Pexels