52 Goals: Because Resolutions are Broken

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The following is a guest post from Katie.

Every year in January I set 52 yearly goals2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.  52 = CRAZY! Probably so. I know that 52 goals is kind of out of reach but it seemed like a good number. If I was on my game, it’s one goal a week. I usually average completing just over half of these goals, but because I set 52 I get to pick and choose. When you miss one, because time elapsed or your middle brother moves to Australia, there’s still 51 others to choose from.

My goals range from things that span an entire year or monthly goals to simple goals that could be considered to do items. I also like to include habit-forming goals, whacky goals, and goals to be intentional. By writing them down and sharing them on my blog they become more real. I’m accountable to my goals. I find that I strive to make them happen way more than goals I keep private. Just writing it on the list is step 1 toward getting it done. Each year as I review my goals I find that it’s not always about a 100% completion rate but more about exploring and adventuring through things I thought I wanted to do, and growing. Sometimes letting go of one goal that I cannot finish for whatever reason is more about knowing the world didn’t end because it wasn’t done as much as I’ve matured and changed. Goals should be edited. They should grow with me. If I begin to achieve one and begin to question myself it probably wasn’t the right goal.

Let’s talk about how you can make your own list of goals.

1. Set the number of goals you want & a time frame

Does it have to be 52 in a year? Of course not. But think about it this way: if you set 10 goals for the entire year and do 4 of them will you feel really accomplished? Probably not as much as if you set 52 and complete 40. Maybe your number is 100, or 35, and maybe it’s 50. It’s also good to set a deadline to when they’ll be finished. Maybe it’s your birthday; maybe it’s the end of the year. It’s important to keep in mind that the timeline needs to be realistic, but at the same time it’s not written in stone. Once the stopwatch ends, this does not mean you failed. I’ve often completed my goals the following year or even two years later – especially if I think it’s important.

2. Start making your List.

Getting the list started is usually the hardest part. Keep in mind the goal can be anything really – you are determining what is doable in the next year. There’s an old mnemonic that we use in writing goals in learning development that often comes to mind when I create my list – good old S.M.A.R.T. It says that goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Timebound. Now while I think this is a good rule of thumb, the most important part of this is Measurable. If you can’t determine that you accomplished the goal what was the purpose of doing it? As for specific, achievable, results-oriented, and timebound, if your personal goals meet that criteria then great! If not at least 3 of 5, it’s bad. Here are some brainstorming ideas for goals to include on your list:

Think of a BIG GOAL. What’s something you always wanted to do? Something from your bucket list?  Maybe it’s something you put off doing? Or maybe it’s just so embarrassing to think about finishing you just don’t want to share? We all have these goals. Just keep in mind that you want to be able to quantify that you completed the goal so make sure it’s achievable . One year I added to my list “Make a life-long friend”. It’s quite impossible for me to determine if this is finished or not, so a better goal would have been simply “Make a new friend”. Don’t be afraid to write it down. If it’s insanely big, maybe think of several smaller steps to get to that big goal and start with those, but don’t be afraid to put the big goal out there. Big goals on my list this year:

  • Start a down payment savings account for a second house.
  • Become a Mom.
  • Set goals for our marriage (a goal within a goal)

Put something on the list to do with your spouse, friend, lover, family. Each year I text my mom and siblings, and pool their ideas for what they want to do with me to add to my list leaving goals open for them. I want to be intentional in my relationships and this certainly helps. Add things you know people like or want to do but maybe they don’t make their own goal list for. I have a friend who loves sweets so I put on the list to “Get sweets with Kemi”. Ideas from my 2014 list to do with other people:

  • Give Kathleen a 25 Party
  • Take Dustin to Fogo de Chao
  • Take monthly family photos with the baby & Dustin.

Add something ridiculous! Who says all goals have to be serious business? Make some goals that will be fun and who knows? They might also be learning experiences. Sometimes these small silly goals test me or help me learn to put myself out there a little bit more. Here are some ideas of ridiculous goals:

  • Wear ridiculous English hat to a wedding
  • Dress-up for a date at McDonald’s
  • Climb the Rock Wall at the Mall
  • Swing on a tire swing
  • Build a snowman
  • Ride many ferris wheels (I’m scared – no, TERRIFIED of heights)
  • Eat a pomegranate

Whatever you add to your goal list is up to you, but have a little fun making your list.

3. Share Your List 

Post it on your blog. Write them on a poster board. Write several on post-its and leave tack them in your kitchen cupboard. I think this goes without saying but if you share your list, your friends and family will help you try and accomplish these goals. Keeping reminders to yourself also helps you remember what you set forth as a goal so you aren’t as quick to just forget about your list.

4.  Get Started

Start with an easy one. When you finish it cross it off. I like to document, so naturally I photograph and blog about accomplished goals as well as keep an updated status so I know where I stand. I also have them in a to do list in my phone. Most importantly have fun with the list. Don’t beat yourself up on failures and try celebrate the successes.

Katie is tall, loud, inviting, a ridiculously horrible dancer that quilts and travels and bleeds Midwesterner. She makes moments awkward.  She documents life. She creates things. She takes photos. She cultivates relationships. She is madly in love with and married to this tall, bacon loving, vintage baseball playing ginger named Dustin, who has quite possibly the best beard. Oh, she’s having a baby early next summer – which will certainly rock their world. Find her at: Blog: http://katajone.blogspot.com; Instagram:  http://instagram.com/katajone# or Twitter: https://twitter.com/katajone

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