Did you notice that January 1 was on a Monday this year? How perfect is that for all those New Year’s Resolutions? Whatever your plans or goals for this year are, the beginning of the year is always a good time to get started. But good intentions rarely get you all the way to your goals.
You may be evaluating your goals and priorities this week and mapping out your plan for 2018—I know I’m working on mine. Personally, 2017 was a year filled with inspiration, new opportunities, and so much personal and professional growth. It also had disappointment, failures, and some devastating blows.
Who knows what magical cards 2018 will deal, but I am making sure I am doing what I can to navigate what it has to offer. This time of year is a good reminder to refocus, but true success lies in what you do throughout the entire year—and the next year, and the year after that.
Henry Ford said it best, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.”
Here are a few things I have learned throughout the years when it comes to being intentional about the big things I want to accomplish:
1. Map out big goals, then the steps you will take to get there:
Get out of Debt.
Lose those 10 pounds.
Start a blog.
Try to take over the world.
Whatever your goals are, it is okay to dream big. Shoot for a galaxy far far away! But understand that the first step is starting. Write out your big goals, then determine what you will do for your first step is.
Losing weight? Start with menu planning or scheduling your workouts. Would you be able to do this? Is it too much? Can you do more? Signing up for that Cross Fit class 5 times a week is great, but you have to actually DO it. Set yourself up for success by finding what can fit in your schedule on a day-to-day basis and then go for it.
2. Schedule It:
I recently read Simplify by Bill Hybels. He suggests scheduling these times in your calendar. Write it down or create an Event in your phone. Need to work out? Schedule it. Make an appointment with yourself. Need to set up your budget? Carve out an hour in your week to have a Budget Date with yourself and schedule it.
I love going to Starbucks or the library to really solidify that time and to focus. Just make sure you are scheduling it in, and make no excuses when it comes to that time. Get used to saying, “Sorry, I can’t. I have a super awesome meeting with a super awesome person.”
Or you could just say, “Sorry, I have a meeting.”
3. Plan it out:
I know I work better under a deadline. Some of my best work in college was at midnight before an assignment was due. Though I don’t suggest those sleepless nights or procrastination, it’s important to set personal deadlines. Set up mile-markers for yourself throughout the year and celebrate when you successfully pass them.
I am planning on running the Star Wars 5k in Disney World this year with my husband in April. I can’t wake up March 31 and start training. Instead I have mile-markers I am working up towards along the way. I am busting out the C25K app, planning the days I am going to train, and setting goals along the way.
I am also planning my costume now. I will give you three guesses of which character Star Wars universe I would love to emulate.
Here’s a really big/painfully obvious hint:
4. Stop Comparing:
I saw a sign in a store recently that said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Upon further investigation, I discovered Theodore Roosevelt coined the phrase.
Comparison can also be the reason you don’t even start. It is easy to compare yourself to the success of others around you, but keep your head down and keep on working. Run your own race, baby!
Tim Hiller also put it well:
“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle, or your middle to someone else’s end. Don’t compare the start of your second quarter of life to someone else’s third quarter.”
My geometry teacher from high school started out each year with a question. Knowing geometry could be a daunting and difficult subject for high school freshmen and sophomores, she asked, “How do you eat an elephant?”
The answer is pretty simple:
One bite at a time.
My word for 2018 is Perseverance. What is your word for 2018? I want to focus on following up with the things I have started and keep moving forward. When looking at our goals and things we would like to accomplish, I know I, for one, can be intimidated by how far I need to go to consider myself “successful” in them.
Ever since I hung out with elephants in Thailand, they have been my favorite animal. I surround myself with them. My family members give me elephant things all the time. In fact, I am currently sitting in my elephant pants with my favorite elephant tank top writing this to you.
It may or may not be coincidental that they also happen to serve as a reminder to take it one day at a time, one mile marker at a time, and one bite of that metaphorical elephant at a time.
What are your goals this year? Tell me in the comments!