Goal Setting for the New Year

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Now that 2017 is in the past, I wanted to touch base on a topic I’m sure is on everyone’s mind, GOAL SETTING.

Whether you’re looking for a complete life overhaul or just changing a few habits here and there, let’s talk about some things that will make your life easier and set you up for success in the new year.

Before just randomly jotting down a few things on your resolution list, let’s talk about why you should consider making goals in the first place.

Of course, you have something you want to achieve, but did you know that proper goal setting can have positive effects on your performance? Proper goal setting works because it encourages you to be more focused, motivated, and persistent.

It can also help you to stop procrastinating. If you’re anything like me, that alone might be a good reason to set some goals for the new year.(Kinicki p184)

I’m hoping you’ve noticed by now that I keep saying “proper goal setting,” because I’m doing it on purpose.

I can’t tell you 100% whether this part is true or not, but I believe that most people lose steam and give up on their goals simply because they are much too vague.

For goal setting to work, your goals have to be SMART.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific –  Be precise.
  • MeasurableHow will you track your progress or verify that something is getting done?
  • AttainableIs this goal possible?
  • Results OrientedFocus on your results
  • Time BoundPut a time frame on it!

(Kinicki pg.211)

So what does all of this mean?

When you decide to set a goal, instead of saying, “I want to study Japanese more,” you should instead say something like:

  • I want to focus on studying Japanese grammar for an hour each day. (Specific)
  • I will aim to complete the grammar quiz at the end of a chapter with a score above 85%. (Measurable)
  • I have the time in my schedule to dedicate to this, provided I get my butt off social media. (Attainable)
  • Completing this will allow me to raise my score on the grammar section of the JLPT N2. (Results Oriented)
  • Grammar quizzes will be completed every Friday. (Time Bound)

Going through this process will help you to make sure your goals are more attainable and may even provide a motivational boost.

Once you have your goals figured out, it’s time to put the plan in motion and here’s how:

  1. Write them down.

    • Seriously, do not skip this step. Goals written somewhere are more concrete and less likely to be distorted/forgotten. Make sure that they are someplace where you can see them often, preferably daily, so you can keep yourself on track for success.
  2. Anticipate bumps in the road and proactive.

    • I’m easily distracted. Since I already know this is my weak point, I can help myself by eliminating all distractions and creating a dedicated study area before I study.
  3. Prepare.

    • If I know I have to study every day for an hour and the time doesn’t change, then I should prepare my books and materials beforehand. This will help avoid wasting precious time and breaking my concentration because I don’t have something that I need.
  4. Work in chunks.

    • You might benefit from this most if you are a procrastinator, like me. Instead of focusing on the goal as a whole and getting overwhelmed, split the goal up into smaller pieces and work from there.
  5. Remind yourself why your goal is important.

    • Go ahead and daydream, in detail, about what accomplishing this goal is going to mean for your life. How will you feel? What will change? Get excited about getting to that point at the small cost of some effort.
  6. Celebrate.

    • Reward yourself when you reach milestones to keep yourself motivated to move forward. I like to celebrate both small and big wins.

With that said, let’s talk about my 2018 goals in case you need some inspiration. I’ve decided that 2018 is going to be my “glow up” year, so all of my goals are focused on helping me to do just that.

My 2018 Goals:
  1. Pay 1.5 of my three remaining credit card bills. Based on my current salary, I can finish paying off one and half of another by October.
  2. I signed up for a review of HTML/CSS and to learn Javascript, so I want to spend the first six months of this year freshening up my skills and trying to put them to use. I want to one to two finished projects by July.
  3. This year I decided that I want to grow my blog. The first step is going to be consistently publishing content on a weekly basis. To achieve this, I want to spend about three hours a week preparing material for the next month and scheduling it to be posted.
  4. After December’s JLPT, I said I would scale back on my test focused routine and switch to more practical use. My goal is to spend two hours a day “studying” by reading, writing, and speaking more, including recording myself speaking in Japanese once a week.
  5. I’m aiming for A’s in my graduate classes. So I don’t get overwhelmed, I will be breaking down my assignments into smaller sections, so I can do a little each day and hopefully stop myself from procrastinating.
  6. I also decided I want to lose weight this year. I haven’t really fleshed this one out yet, but I do know that my first goal is going to be making being active a habit. I would like to aim for an additional 30 minutes of walking daily for starters.

Finally, you’re probably wondering how I plan to keep track of everything without losing my mind. I have two planners that I absolutely love, Passion Planner and Hobonichi Techo.

I think the Hobonichi Techo is great if you’re the type of person that is already disciplined/likes bullet journaling. Passion Planner is much more structured than the Hobonichi Techo. I’m using the Passion Planner these days because I like the mindmaps and daily/weekly focus boxes that keep me on track without me having to do any extra work.

Because I have so much going on daily, it just works better for me these days than the Hobonichi Planner. However, both are excellent and I highly recommend checking them out.

Hopefully, this post helped you with sorting out how to create a plan for success in 2018.

Let me know in the comments what you’re trying to achieve this year!

Kinicki, Angelo, and Mel Fugate. Organizational behavior: a practical, problem-solving approach. McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.

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