Hello and welcome to 2019! I really can’t believe we’re already one week into the new year, but then again, I feel like I blinked and 2018 was over.
As we all begin a new lap around the sun, it really is a great time to reflect on where we are at this point in our lives and set some goals. I read a lot of social media posts between the Christmas and New Year period by friends who said their 2018 was terrible, the hardest yet, or extremely painful. All of these posts made me evaluate my own year – how challenging was it? What did I achieve? How have I changed/grown? My 2018 had a rocky start but by the end things weren’t really too bad – I was able to finish my degree, start my career and spend time with friends and family.
A few weeks ago, I was reading through my 2018 planner (it’s the kind that has all the useless fun facts and star sign information on the first few pages) and I had filled out the page titled ‘2018 Goals’. Spoiler alert: I didn’t achieve a single one.
Goals were listed as follows:
- Run 5km in < 25 minutes
- Maintain my GPA
- Save money
I can explain my failure to achieve these goals in a few different ways. Firstly, I wrote them down in the first few weeks of January and then never looked at them again. Ignoring and/or completely forgetting about the goals you set it a great way to make sure they don’t come to fruition. Secondly, long-term goals don’t work in all situations for all people. If I’m being self-reflective and critical, I’d go as far as saying that I have a pretty ordinary track record when it comes to actually achieving long-term goals.
In 2019, I’m going to take a different approach. I’m a very firm believer in there being no need whatsoever to wait until the first day of a new year to make changes in your life, but I do understand that for many people, a new year provides a cleansing and motivating sensation and it’s easier to ‘start fresh’. It’s the same wiring in our brains that makes us think we need to wait until Monday to start a diet, or finish a book that we don’t like reading. Whatever works, no judgement here.
I’ve decided that for me, 2019 is going to be a year filled with short-term goals and there’s a bunch of reasons why I think this will work. In setting short-term goals, there is less time to hold oneself accountable, and less time that you have to maintain focus and energy. There is also a greater sense of accomplishment because goals are being achieved at a higher frequency than if all goals will take the best part of 12 months to achieve. Additionally, there’s more room for editing goals as you go, without sacrificing the achievements and milestones that you may have already reached.
Now I’m not saying that short-term goals are the be all and end all, nor am I saying that you shouldn’t set long-term goals. Realistically, setting a combination of both is probably the best way to go. In noticing a pattern of my own behaviour, I’m making some changes and trialing something new to see what happens.
The great thing about goal setting is that you can always adapt them to be short or long-term. For example, one of my goals this year is to read at least one book (that I don’t actually have to read) per month. If you’re a long-term goal person, you set the goal to read 12+ books in 2019. Weight loss or fitness goals is another that many people set for a 12 month time frame. If this doesn’t work for you, switch it up and adapt the end goal to be attainable in a month or a week.
By setting manageable goals you start to experience success and a sense of achievement. These feelings are a breeding ground for motivation.
Do things that make you happy,