Once upon a time, every year January that ticked around, I would scramble to Kmart for the $5 diaries and jot down my "3 goals for the year". Then I'd put my pen down, close the book and be satisfied. That's how it works right? Surely by the time December comes around, you would have achieved those goals... and keep in mind they were the same 3 goals every year:
1. Spend more quality time with friends and family
2. Be more health conscious
3. Some career/education aspiration goal
Truth be told, I never followed through or even self-reflected during the year to see if I was on the right path or direction. Although now I no longer write goals down every January, this is what I learnt about goal setting and accountability that I follow now.
Be more specific
I was failing because everything was too broad. I wanted to spend spending quality time with "friends and family", but did this mean hitting up the 500 Facebook acquaintances every Sunday? I started singling out people and groups I truly wanted to build relationships with and making more of a conscious effort.
Holding true to your word
It's tempting and easy sometimes to find excuses to not attend events, meetings or even meet-ups. However, most of the time we at least put in some effort to stay true to our word if we said we were going to attend. But, it's even easier to make excuses to not do or commit to something, if the only person keeping you accountable is yourself.
This was and still is one of the hardest things for me to grasp. I am weak-willed at best and self-accountability is difficult. So I bought apps, books, made friends and accountability partners to keep me on track.
I had to be honest with myself - I was never going to read a book a week, become an Instagram fitness star and learn Spanish all within a year. So instead I set mini-goals and celebrate mini-wins. Maybe just 20 pages a night before bed? Start off by going to the gym? Learn and practice a handful of phrases a week?
Review and reset
I stopped waiting until December to review and realise I had made no progress, then consequently remaking the same goals. I became more realistic and also honest with myself - if I saw I had set visions that were far beyond my potential at that time, I would readjust and reset them.
Now, in no way, shape or form am I perfect - but this is what simply is working for me!