Every new year I like to spend a few hours thinking about what I'd like to get out of it: writing lists in a notepad, on my phone and interrogating friends and family on what they hope and wish for. In this year's case, it started over the holidays while I was feeling sick and a bit sorry for myself on the sofa watching various festive rom-coms and thinking how next year I don't want to spend so much of my spare time watching films. (I do it to relax, but I think I went a bit overboard in 2017.)
But I don't believe in setting goals, only a year later to beat yourself up about what you didn't get done. Instead I think goals are meant to provide us with a map or an outline for the year ahead. A strategy if you like. I do think that going into the new year armed with an idea of what you want to get out of it, will make you more thoughtful in your choices and decisions. The things you’d like to see happen in your professional and personal life. And write them down. Believe me, it’s really rewarding to read over your goals from the previous year and see what you achieved, what you didn’t and why and what you achieved instead. We cannot predict the future - perhaps some of your goals morphed into something else entirely? And perhaps you achieved things that you hadn't even set your heart on? Remember they are not set in stone, they are only guidelines.
My top tips for goal setting:
- Write them down in a notebook where you can refer back to them throughout the year. Writing with pen and paper will help commit them to memory and is more affirming.
- Talk them through with friends and family – there’s nothing like a bit of peer pressure to help you follow through.
- Look back and reflect on your achievements from the previous year – how did you do it? What did you achieve that wasn't on the list? Write down how you achieved them and apply these methods to this year’s goals.
- If you do have a hard time writing them down, create a moodboard of inspiring images & dream destinations on Pinterest – visualising is one of the best ways of achieving goals.
- Be realistic and not too specific, unless you think it's really achievable and you've already signed up to the class or booked the flight. In this sense I think picking a theme or word (inspired by my friend Anne) is a great way to help you map out your year.
What do you think and how do you set your goals?