What Do You Want to Achieve This Year?
When my children were much younger, it was somewhat of a family tradition for my partner to take them both, in those quiet days after Christmas, to stay at his parents’ house in the country. Before they left, I’d make a long list of all the things I’d do when they were gone – coffee shops to visit, projects to complete, bookshops…(in all of two or three days, mind you!) I loved making that list but funnily enough, I rarely crossed off any items. Occasionally I would make it to that coffee shop on the groovy side of town but with no children to sprinkle sugar all over the table and lick it off in whirly patterns, well it just wasn’t the same. Instead I would usually soak up the peace and quiet at home, reading anything I could get my hands on that might help me prepare for the coming year. I had this persistent idea that if I was just more organised or fitter or more organic or more something, I too, could have the perfect family/worklife balance and the super mum trophy would one day be mine!
So I’d write myself a long list of goals for the year ahead but before I had worked out how to make them happen, the car would pull into the driveway and I would be up to my neck in hugs (great)…and laundry (not so great). My long list of (usually unrealistic) goals would be filed away carefully so I wouldn’t be reminded of the things I lacked – like time and discipline. Then I’d simply go back to juggling as many balls in the air as humanly possible and hope for the best! Don’t get me wrong, I still managed to keep moving forward but sometimes it felt like I was swimming in deep water. I got to the other side all right but I did a lot more splashing than I needed to do.
Fast forward ten years to 2011! Our girls are growing up.They rarely head away with their dad after the Christmas rush (sigh!) I have grown up a little too and have finally taken the plunge, sailing out into the intrepid waters of the self employed. Whilst my goal setting activities in the past may not have always been so successful, this year I was determined to try again.There is an old Chinese proverb that states when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Well I was more than ready, and through the fog of information available on this topic, Chris Guillebeau magically appeared. On his website, The Art of Non Conformity he details the annual review process he uses to successfully steer his business and his life.
This process starts easily enough by asking yourself two simple questions:
What worked well for you in 2010?
What didn’t work so well in 2010?
In many ways, it had been a challenging year for our family, but when I held 2010 up to the light and studied it from many different angles, I was amazed at what I had actually achieved. Clearly highlighted too, were the things that needed to be refined and changed. It took a good day to complete the template but finally I had both a map and a compass to navigate my way through 2011. And instead of feeling limited and restrained by the document in front of me, I was discovering that goals and plans, like life itself, lend themselves nicely to changing shape and direction. In the last weeks, I’ve added items, crossed things out, changed action plans and due dates, even added a category so that I can make this process work for me, rather than the other way around. So if you have got to the end of January without asking yourself exactly what you want to achieve this year, it’s not too late. Clarity is a rare and precious jewel certainly worth diving for! Go on, you know you want it!
Another interesting goal setting exercise can be found in Paul Myers e-book – A Simple System To Achieve Your Goals. It can be downloaded for free at http://www.yourfreebook.com Gotta love that! So what are you waiting for?