Is it just me, or do you start every new year full of promise too? I stand with my friends and family year after year counting down the minutes to the new year full of hope and excitement. I revel in that anything can happen feeling. This year things will be different.
The thing is, I’ve been like this my whole life. I’d start each year determined to change my life only to find myself living the exact same life year after year.
Nothing was changing.
Being full of passion, determination, and excitement is only half the battle. Yet, if you’re not channeling that energy into anything specific, it will eventually fizzle out. If you’re serious about changing your life and making happiness a priority, it’s time to set some goals my friends. Not just any kind of goals, no. Specific goals.
Setting generalized goals might feel right, but all you’re really doing is setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. Let me give you an example.
Generalized Goal: Eat Healthy.
Result: The first time you eat a brownie or hit a drive thru you’ll beat yourself up and throw the entire goal out the window. Why bother, I already failed.
Specific Goal: Prepare at least three healthy, well-balanced meals a week.
Result: You introduce margin into your life while still putting specific boundaries around your behavior. So maybe you hit the drive thru for lunch, no big deal. You’ll prep a healthy dinner. Balance. Success.
Your goals should give you direction if not instruction.
When you sit down to dream up the things you want to achieve or change, it’s okay to start out speaking in generalizations. You want a cleaner house, great. So get specific about the kind of cleaning schedule you want to keep and make that the goal. You want to give up soda? Get specific about what you want to replace it with. (Truth speak, panic would set in any time I resolved to quit soda. I like soda. So instead of making it about quitting something, So, I made it about doing something. I set a specific water intake goal per day. I was so busy drinking water that quitting soda was simply a byproduct of that goal.)
I started 2016 with some pretty specific goals:
- Get out of nannying and replace it with a job I could work remotely. As I narrowed in on exactly what that goal would look like in execution, Bliss Creative was born. A year later, I own and run my own business with my best friend doing what I went to school for remotely.
- Buy a new-to-me car and pay for it with writing. With this goal in place, it encouraged me to save money specifically for a down-payment without affecting our general financial situation. It also encouraged me to apply for writing gigs I would otherwise be too afraid to go after.
- Spend time with God daily. I wasn’t exactly sure how I would manifest this one, but it helped me get specific about what I needed to do. I listen to Rick Warren’s Daily Hope podcast every single week day morning.
It’s about to go down in 2017.
- General goal: Read more. Specific goal: Read at least two books per month. 1 for pleasure 1 for personal, spiritual, or entrepreneurial growth.
- General goal: Release Yeah, Maybe as a print book. Specific goal: Research CreateSpace, partnered with Amazon, and collaborate with Jennifer for format specifications & cover design.
- General goal: Finish book 2. Specific goal: Write one chapter per week with Sunday 12AM deadlines.
- General goal: Network more. Specific goal: attend at least one networking event each month.
- General goal: Eat out less. Specific goal: Meal plan five days per week only allowing for one take out lunch and one date night per week.
- General goal: Exercise more. Specific goal: Run 2 miles 3 times per week. Practice at least 1 hour of yoga per week.
- General goal: Implement office hours. Specific goal: Operate on a 7AM-3PM schedule Monday-Friday only taking client meetings Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Thursdays.
Since setting specific goals is like drawing a road map for your year, you’ll find that it’s much easier to stick to the resolutions you set for yourself while creating the kind of life you really want.
Happiness is a byproduct of purposeful living. By setting specific goals, you’re making yourself and your happiness a priority. And you just can’t go wrong with that.