I’ve been consciously setting goals since my second year in college (and that was many moons ago). I say ‘consciously’ because I’d had goals earlier than that but never formally wrote them down. And if it ain’t written down, it doesn’t count. I wish I could pinpoint what drove me to start writing my goals down, but my guess is that they were written down so I could always be reminded.
I actually found my goal list from 2009 a couple years ago. I chuckled at what I was focused on: getting good grades, finding a college boyfriend, organizing my closet—whew, life was so much simpler back then! Ever since college, I’ve continued the habit of physically writing down my goals, resolutions—whatever you want to call them. And let me tell you, that habit has led me to achieve more than I ever thought possible.
Maybe it’s my Virgo nature, but even back then there was something about a fresh start that empowered and uplifted me. And there’s no better fresh start than the start of a new year, am I right? Now, I don’t think we need a new year to begin making positive changes, but if a new year is here—or almost here—it’s the perfect time to start!
Here’s the thing I’ve found about goal setting: When you set goals and achieve them, it pushes you to set even bigger goals. Once you achieve those bigger goals, you keep moving on up. (Anyone else thinking of The Jefferson’s theme song?)
New Year, New You…
New Year, New Money…
New Year, New Man…
New Year, New Glow…
I’m all about tapping into the newness of a new year to get my goals in order. In fact, I like to get them written down before the new year even starts. For me, the S.M.A.R.T method never fails. S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Specific. Basically, get you a goal that is clear, feasible for your situation, and includes a deadline.
Here’s one of my 2022 goals, using the S.M.A.R.T. format: Max out my ROTH IRA by the end of the year ($6000 over 12 months). It’s very clear, very specific, and has a timeframe to achieve the goal. Of course, there’s more to achieving goals than just writing them down. Next, the work actually begins.
I like to take my goals a step further and write down how I plan to work towards them. For the IRA example, I wrote that I’d target to save $500/month; I’d review my budget for opportunities to make saving $500/month easier; and I’d use extra income or bonuses to make up for lost time if needed. Now I’ve given myself some action steps. Trust me, it makes the goal seem so much more attainable.
When it comes to setting my goals, I like to think about where I am currently—in any particular area—and where I want to be. When I pinpoint where I want to be, I can start crafting the actual goal. Give it a shot. And once you have those goals set, keep them front and center. I love this article for tips on keeping goals top of mind. I have my goals written on a dry erase board in my office. I’m in there every day, so I get to see them and be reminded of why I’m working hard.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again: You don’t need a new year to start making changes. But since one is almost here, let’s take advantage! Let’s tap into the magic that comes with the ultimate fresh start. Let’s use this time of year to get inspired, get motivated, and get to work. Time is just going to keep passing us by, so why not make the most of it?
If you’ve never set goals before, take this as a personal challenge from me to try it this year. You can live your best life, I promise you that! If you have set goals before, hopefully you can take away something from my process to make the journey more fun and exciting for you. There’s no time like the present—especially when it’s a new year. Let’s do this!
What are some of your goals for 2022? Drop a comment to share them with me and the community. Plus, when they’re shared, they’re real!Leave a Comment