Do you make New Year resolutions?
For whatever reason, I don’t like the word resolution. I don’t have anything against making them, but I often associate the word with the action of breaking them. I know the intention behind resolutions is good, but you don’t hear much about them after mid-January. Instead of “making resolutions” each year, I like to “set goals.” I started doing this about five years ago and even make a spreadsheet of my goals in order to keep track of them based on a blog my husband follows – The Art of Nonconformity.
Here’s how it goes…
I label the first column of my spreadsheet “GOAL CATEGORY.” This year my categories include (but aren’t limited to): health/fitness, travel, work, parenting and financial. I type these categories under the heading and then underneath that, type in 3-5 goals that fall under each category.
The next column is labeled “ACTIONS.” Here I type out what I need to do throughout the year to achieve that goal. For example: a few years back, I was determined to finally pay off my credit card debt I had amassed while I was a poor grad student. One of the “actions” I typed to achieve this goal were “save an additional x% of each paycheck and apply that amount to my credit card payment each month.” The actions are really what I feel set these goals apart from resolutions. It’s easy to say you want to do one thing or another in the new year, but really laying out the actions and ways you’re going to achieve the goal make all the difference. This part can take some thought and time, but is what is going to get you to your desired end-game.
In the third column, I added the label “REASON” from the original template. Now this may sound silly, but as the months go by it can get easy to shrug off some goals. By adding this “reason” category when I make the goal (and typing it out in pretty good detail), it refreshes my memory come mid-year when I get a little lazy on those “actions.” Going back to the credit card debt goal, my reasoning was “so I don’t have the weight on my shoulders each month, can build up my emergency savings fund and have a little extra fun money .”
The next column is labeled “DEADLINE.” While most goals go on throughout the entire year, there are some that come with deadlines I place on myself. Again with the credit card debt – I gave myself a deadline of May 1. Make sure the deadlines are do-able, but still challenging in order to keep that fire going.
The next four columns are dedicated to quarterly reviews and (in order) are labeled: “SPRING REVIEW,” “SUMMER REVIEW,” “FALL REVIEW,” AND “FINAL REVIEW.” These reviews are completed on the first day of April, July, October and January with the final/January review happening in the following year. When these reviews come up, I type in where I am with my goals and actions and what needs to be done in the next quarter. I also make revisions, if needed. One year, I wanted to contribute a certain amount to my emergency bank account by December. I reached my goal by mid-year, so I revised the amount in order to encourage myself to continue saving and reach my new goal.
So, what do you think? I hope this helps you organize your new year goals!
Cheers to a productive 2016!
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