It’s 2019! You’re determined that this year is the year you’ll reach those lofty resolutions you made, right? Well, I say forget about resolutions, let’s set some manageable GOALS that you can achieve this year!
You see the problem with resolutions is that they are usually too broad and vague. They aren’t measurable either so it’s easy to get sidetracked and give up or just forget all about them by the time the end of January rolls around. For example, in the past, we’ve probably all made a resolution to lose weight. Who hasn’t right? We probably cut down our portion sizes or cut out sweets in an effort to make some changes. But the busier we got as the new year moved forward, it was easy to start eating on the go or going out to restaurants that ALWAYS serve an oversized portion. And before we knew it we were right back where we started. Bummer!
This year is going to be different though. This year is the year we are going to set goals and take the actionable steps to achieve them! Let me show you how!
Use a 12-Week Plan
That’s right, we’re going to divide the year into quarters and work on a 12-week plan. That is so much easier than trying to look at a whole year at a time. Planning over 12 weeks is much less overwhelming, isn’t it? I mean, who knows what can happen in a year? You could move to a different state, change jobs, or any number of events could occur.
If you don’t already have a planner for the year, get one that will work for you and divide it into four sections; January-March, April-June, July-September, and October-December. Now if you notice, each one of those sections actually has more than 12 weeks and that’s a good thing! It gives an extra few days to a week to catch up on goals you’ve gotten behind on. OR, if you’ve accomplished all your goals in the 12 weeks, it gives you a little time to reward yourself. That’s important too!
Brian Moran and Micheal Lennington wrote a fabulous book about this concept of using a 12-week plan. It’s called The 12 Week Year and talks about being more productive in 12 weeks than most people are in a year. It gives very specific steps and examples to help you reach your goals. If you want to be super productive in 2019, just click this link and buy the book. You are going to LOVE it!
Be Specific When Setting Goals
When setting goals, it’s crucial to be specific. Instead of our resolution example above, “lose weight”, set a goal stating how many pounds you are going to lose. “I will lose 12 pounds.” That is a specific amount that over 12 weeks equals 1 pound per week. Another example of vague vs. specific would be: vague-“I will write a book.”; specific-“I will write at least 1000 words per day, five days per week.” That would be 5,000 words per week and 60,000 words at the end of 12 weeks. Since the recommended amount of words in a first adult novel is between 80,000 and 99,000 words, you’ll be over half-way finished with your book’s first draft at the end of 12 weeks.
Now that we know to be very specific about the goals we set, we need to set some goals that we want and INTEND to achieve. I would stick to no more than three goals to start. And, we need to WRITE THEM DOWN. The very act of writing down our goals is magical. When you see your goals written down in YOUR handwriting, they become REAL. Claim them as YOUR GOALS. Those things you have wanted to accomplish for a long time but never seemed to be able to follow through on. After you’ve written down your goals, think about each one. What motivates you to want to accomplish each one? In other words, what is your why? Why is each goal important to you. What will it mean if you achieve your goals?
PRIORITIZE your goals. Which goal is the #1, most important thing that you want to accomplish? How badly do you want it? Let’s pause here and talk a little about your goals vs. someone else’s goals. Let’s say someone asks you to serve as a committee head in an organization you’re a member of. Before you say yes to their question, decide whether this is something you want to accomplish or something they want to accomplish. For instance, their goal is to fill the slot of the committee head. But how does this fit into YOUR goals? Now, if this is a committee that you’ve served on and love, and if you have some great ideas you’ve been wanting the committee to work on, this may fit into your goals. But if you’ve served on the committee in the past but don’t really want to have a leadership role, then it’s not your goal. It’s the goal of the person who asked you. BIG difference!
Now, you’ll want to prioritize YOUR goals in order of importance to you. This will give you an idea of how much time you’ll want to allow to work on each goal. But before you do that, let’s look at breaking down your goals into measurable steps.
Break Down Goals into Steps
Each goal must be broken down into steps that can be measured. The steps are actions you’ll take to achieve the overall goal. Let’s keep using the example of losing 12 pounds. In order to lose pounds, we will have to eat less and exercise more. So our actionable, measurable steps might look like this:
- Look up what recommended portion sizes should look like for meats, vegetables, carbs, etc. and make a diagram of how much to allow of each one on a normal-sized plate.
- Eat no more than the portions you’ve allowed yourself on the plate. In other words, eat moderate, not large portions.
- Consider the season of the year and pick an exercise that you don’t mind doing. Or that you actually like doing.
- Exercise using that activity 3-4 times per week for 20-30 minutes at each session.
Do you see how the steps can be measured in the above example? Instead of saying “eat less and exercise more”, we’ve taken each part of “lose weight” and made it more specific and measurable. And our steps are easier than saying “eat a 1200 calorie diet and exercise.” We’ve actually picked out an activity that we can commit to doing. And we’ve reduced our portion sizes to something that we can remember since we made a diagram of what is recommended. Now, in the case of losing any number of pounds, of course, you’ll want to talk to your doctor first. In fact, your doctor can likely give you the information you need to create your diagram.
After you’ve come up with the actionable, measurable steps to take, set deadlines for your goals that are realistic. For instance, in the example above, your deadline is really built in for you using the 12-week plan. If you want to lose 12 pounds in 12 weeks, you’ll lose one pound each week. At the end of the 12-week deadline, you’ll have met your goal.
Sometimes, we want to set goals to increase our productivity, such as sales goals. If you want to increase your sales, you’ll have to look at things like how many average contacts did you have to make in order to sell one unit of product last year. In order to make your goal for this year measurable AND actionable, you’ll want to create steps that define not only how many more product units you’ll sell but also how many average contacts you’ll have to make in order to sell that many product units. THEN, you’ll set a deadline for making those many contacts in a week/month in order to meet your goal of the product units sold. Your action steps can be measured so that you know exactly what you have to do to reach your goal.
Schedule Time to Work on Steps
Now, this is where you have to know yourself and your schedule. You need to figure out how fast you can work on each step. If this is a new goal with new steps you’ve never taken before, it will probably take more time to learn the new routine. If, however, this is something that you’re more familiar with, you can plan your time a little more
I would advise you to look at your daily schedule that’s already in your planner. Look at already scheduled work, doctor appointments, dental, lunches with friends, date night with your significant other, etc. In order to accomplish your new goals, you’ll have schedule time in between those already standing commitments. Start with a two-hour block of time to work on the most important goal you’ve prioritized. WRITE it on your calendar as an appointment with yourself. Write it in ink and DO NOT change it for some other activity. Believe me, this is the ONLY way you’re going to be able to accomplish new goals, is by committing the time to work on them. Period.
No matter what comes up that sounds more enjoyable than a two-hour stretch of work, DO NOT change the time scheduled for ANYTHING! This is just as important as an appointment with the head of your department or lunch with a friend. Can you imagine calling up the head of your department about a scheduled meeting about your current project and saying, “Hey listen, Carol, I’m going to have to cancel our meeting this
The Final Week
The 12 weeks are over. Take the final days or week to review your progress. Did you meet all of your goals? Way to go! If you didn’t meet all of them, did you meet at least one? Way to go!
The final week is the time to review your goals to see where you are. If you didn’t meet the goals yet, use this week to get some extra work in that you hadn’t scheduled already. It may be that something unusual happened that was unexpected, like an illness or an accident that prevented you from completely reaching your goal(s). In that case, just work as much as you can this week and then plan your next 12-week goals. Maybe you need to recalibrate how much time it’s taking to complete each step because you were overly optimistic. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just take some time to rethink your goals and how much time it will take to reach them. Don’t beat yourself up for not achieving your goals. Just look at the progress you did make!!! Then sit down and plan out the next 12 weeks! It’s as simple as that. Do everything that you CAN do to reach your goals and don’t worry about it if you fell short. Just schedule the time needed to complete the goal during the next 12 weeks. No worries.
If you did achieve your goals, it’s time to CELEBRATE! That’s right! You get to pick how to celebrate your wins! Maybe you want to take a weekend trip away with your husband. Or maybe you’ll curl up with a good book and a glass of wine beside the fireplace at home and read to your heart’s content. Whatever you do, be sure to celebrate in some way. That just keeps you motivated to achieve your goals for the next 12 weeks!
So now let’s summarize all this into 5 easy to manage pieces!
- Use a 12-week plan when setting goals (not resolutions which are usually too vague) for 2019.
- Be specific when setting goals. How many pounds do you want to lose? How many more product units do you want to sell?
- Break down each goal into measurable, actionable steps. Make sure each goal and step is measurable so you know when you’ve completed it.
- Schedule time blocks to work on the necessary steps for each goal. Consider these time blocks written in stone. Use your time to work on your important goals. These are appointments with yourself that are just as important as any other important appointments you have.
- Use your final week of each quarter to review your goals. Catch up on work you missed due to unusual circumstances or goals that simply needed more time to reach than you anticipated. Plan out the next 12 weeks in order to complete those goals or set new ones. Don’t forget to CELEBRATE your wins in a way that is motivating to you. You did a great job!!!
If you want to read more about setting goals and making changes click the link below.
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