For as long as I can remember, I have been a planner and someone who loves setting goals. There is nothing like the feeling of a new agenda, a fresh start and the turning of the calendar to a new year. I love the process of reflecting on the past year and the ritual of looking ahead to the new year and thinking about what I’d like to achieve.
That being said, I’ve never been one for new year resolutions. To me, those feel a bit punitive and like “there’s this long list of things I want to change about myself”. It feels a bit self-defeating before it’s even begun and at times can feel like a form of judging ourselves for the things/habits/areas we don’t feel proud of. Instead, I’d rather think realistically about what I want to achieve and what feels like a challenge to myself.
The last 4 years, Johnny and I have made it a ritual that between Christmas and New Years we go out on a date, bring along a notebook and some pens and talk through our goals in a number of life categories. We each set some individual goals and we also come up with a handful of shared goals.
Now I want to preface all of this by saying that your process does not need to look like ours. I recognize that it’s kind of a lot and that this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But we love it and it feels very holistic in how we approach it so it works for us. We also bring along the previous year’s goals and go through each one to chat about how it went. It’s truly become one of my favourite dates of the whole year.
The Goal Setting Categories
When writing our goals for the year, we choose a number of categories that we want to focus on.
For us, these categories are: physical, personal, professional, financial, and marriage.
We go through each one and talk about what we want to bring into the new year in that category. Side note – I also do a goal setting exercise for my business for the year, but that’s a separate thing from this process so I’m not going to go into it in this post.
I’m not going to share my whole goals list here, but I will share one from each category for 2022 so you can get a feel for how they look. Some of these goals feel really big and really scary to even write here in this blog post, but I want you to know that it’s okay to set big goals and it’s okay to work hard to achieve them. When we sit down to reflect at the end of the year, we’re evaluating the effort and the process, not just checking yes/no to if it was achieved.
Some of My 2022 Goals
Physical: Wake up at 6am during the week and no phone for the first hour of the day.
Professional: Complete one counselling training.
Personal: Read 50 books (this one is scary to put on paper!)
Financial: Earn a specific $$$ amount this year between my two businesses.
Marital: Have a monthly cocktail hour where we review our budget/annual goals.
How To Achieve Your Goals
After we set these goals, we start to work backwards by identifying what needs to happen each quarter, each month, each week, and each day. I find it easier to start with the bigger goals and then break them down into smaller goals. Reading 1 business book and 1 fictional book every 2 weeks feels a lot less intimidating than the idea of reading 50 books. If I start there, I just want to give up right from the start. By breaking your goals down into bite-sized chunks, they feel achievable and exciting rather than overwhelming.
Also know that you can do your best to meet these goals but at the end of the day, they sometimes don’t happen the exact way you wanted them to. But if we look at the reading example, I’m going to do my best to finish 50 books but if I only make it through 30, that’s still 30 stories and 30 lessons I will have learned. It does’t have to be all or nothing. I think we grow the most when we are pushing ourselves and challenging ourselves and while it’s important to set realistic goals, it’s also important that we give it a go and not be afraid of failing. That’s the good stuff in life.
I’d love to hear if this post inspired you to set some goals and what goals you have for the new year!