TOP 5 BEST PRACTICES FOR GOAL SETTING

Nerdi*Nest 2019 Goals for the New Year

As with most things we like doing my Nerdi-Nest really nerds out with recording our upcoming yearly goals every year.  Which FYI, the “New Year Resolution” can be traced back to Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq), in the state of Babylonia (1894 – 539 BC).  Babylonians were the original New Year resoluters and made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts.  Apparently, even before reading was a common past time, not returning borrowed books (you know who you are) was something people were resolved to get better at.

Ann is especially keen on writing a 2019 goals list down for every member of our nest.  Even our three-year-old will make a list which, if nothing else, is bound to be adorable.  Making an effective goal list isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds, because you need to ride the line between making challenging goals, but also achievable ones.  Now we are by no means the definitive guide to making goals, but I will say that this is a re-LIST-ably good starting point in developing your own goals for 2019 and the following approach has been effective for us.

BE SPECIFIC WITH YOUR GOALS AND THROW OUT GENERAL VAGUE GOALS, WITH 2018, FOR MEASURABLE DEFINITIVE ONES.  When thinking about what you want to accomplish this coming year, having vague, hard to measure goals, isn’t putting your best foot forward and gives you an easy out for not accomplishing a specific goal.  How many of us say things like, “This year I’m going to lose weight, or I plan on exercising more.”  Then we go out join a gym in January, go 3 times a week the first month, a few times in February, and then cancel our memberships in March because you’re not really using it.  When you draft a specific goal, with recordable metrics, for example saying, “I’m going to work out a minimum of 3 times a week, for 30 minutes, this year.”  Then you have a specific goal, a one-foot-in-front-of-another goal, and where you have a definitive line in the sand in which you are, or are not, meeting your goal.

HAVE A REALISTIC NUMBER OF GOALS SO THAT YOU DON’T STRETCH YOURSELF THIN.  It’s the old mantra quality over quantity.  It’s easy to feel goal-tastic with your pen and pad out on the 31st or 1st jotting down all the things you want to do in 2019: Exercise, lose weight, learn to cook Thai, read more, make new friends, keep up with old friends, start those short stories, pickup photography, learn to ride a motorcycle, go sky-diving, stop smoking, try to hold on tight to my goal horse and not fall off.  Picking a handful of yearlong goals is the route to go.  It’s not like your goals are the only things you have to spend your time doing, but people often forget how much work can go into 1-year long goal.  So make sure these goals are attainable.  Often you’ll need goals inside goals.  Take running a marathon.  Now that’s an ambitious goal, but to get there you have to have other attainable goals also: Run three days a week, run 10 miles, then 11, then 15, start running 5 days a week, work on strengthening your core.  You get the point.  Focusing on a few goals is going to give you plenty to do and everything else this year will be a bonus.

ALONG WITH HAVING SPECIFIC GOALS HAVE MEASURABLE GOALS.  Being able to measure you goal is essential, especially long term goals.  Not only will measuring keep you true north to your end goal, it will give you a sense of accomplishment even before you have completely accomplished the goal.  There are all sorts of ways to measure your goals so have fun with it.  If your goal is to read 20 books in a year.  Once a month take a picture of those books and watch the stack grow.  6 books next to each other makes for a nice validating picture, but 10 months later 16 books will be an impressive mountain to show off on your favorite social media site.  Track, Mark, Document, Share, Invest in the process.  Validating your progress is important, it will give you a visual of where you are, how far you’ve come, and what you have left to accomplish.  When you are able to break things down into segments, daunting tasks, can often become surmountable obstacles.

MAKE SURE YOUR GOALS ARE PUSHING YOU IN THE DIRECTION YOU WANT YOUR LIFE TO BE GOING.   At the end of the day, goals are goals, and we make them to better ourselves.  So for most of us, any goal is going to improve our life, but being that old father time isn’t really on our side, we should try to focus on the goals that are going to help us most next year, in 5 years, and in 10 years.  If you’re trying to lose 17 lbs this year and bike a 50K then maybe, becoming an amateur pastry chef isn’t the most relevant goal.  Maybe you won’t be talked out of either and then I’d say to you, “Bike those trails, bake those cookies,” but you get the point.  Don’t let your goals, get in the way of your goals.

MOST IMPORTANTLY DON’T MAKE YOUR GOALS ALL WORK AND NO PLAY.  You’ve already decided to challenge yourself so make sure you have some fun doing it.  Sometimes we get so busy and focused we forget to have fun.  Last year one of our family goals was to camp a certain number of times.  We passed that goal by two and had a blast doing it.  So make sure not all your goals are grueling examples of self-discipline.  Go skydiving (don’t ask me to join), learn to play an instrument (violin is best for single people), learn to cook a new type of cuisine (family is best to experiment on).

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