I did not achieve all my goals for 2017. Did you?
There they are, the hopeful lines about fitness, work and life that I scratched into my diary almost exactly a year ago. I look at that page with mixed feelings, because while some goals have been a sweet success, others were more of an “oops”.
Why did this happen?
I think the first reason is kind of obvious: some of my goals just weren’t that important to me. It wasn’t an absolute “must” to achieve certain things. So didn’t treat them as that important.
The second reason is that I wasn’t being smart.
I didn’t have a killer strategy. Instead of thinking it through, I set a bunch of goals, not knowing how I’d get there.
Even the things I did achieve, I could’ve done better. When we’re working on something, more often than we realize, there’s an easier way to achieve the same result. That’s what I’m here to talk about.
What could we do better?
- our goals need to be clear and specific
- setting goals is pointless if we don’t have a plan
- commitment is crucial
By being smarter about setting goals, we’ll find that getting actual, tangible results is much easier than we think. Don’t work hard, work smart.
Of course, it’s easy to just make a list of what we want and then wish, like a Disney princess sitting at her window, that someday our dreams will come true. But no true achievement ever came out of what’s easy. Another year will go by in the blink of an eye and you’ll wish you had planned better.
So let’s get started!
These are examples of “do this, not that” for being smart about setting goals. This is to help you find your focus. Then you can go and make a list of your own goals and plans.
It’ll be so worth it, I promise.
DON’T No phone in bed
DO Read more books
Honestly, who doesn’t do it? We all look at our phones in bed, at least for a quick moment, both morning and night.
Sometimes I have toyed with the idea of quitting. But it’s pretty clear by now that I’m not even going to try.
The problem isn’t that I look at my phone, it’s for how long I do it. Two to five minutes of checking messages won’t have a huge impact on my sleep and how each day starts. But when it turns into over 15 minutes of scrolling through Instagram morning and night, I might have a problem.
Instead of trying to quit my phone, I’ve committed to reading more books. If I have a really good book on my bedside, I won’t even be that interested in Instagram anymore. Less screen time is just a nice side effect.
DON’T Try to be happy all the time
DO Make others smile
Happiness is kind of the overall goal that everyone has.
I’m not saying that it’s pointless to try to be happier. It’s just that there are easier, more concrete ways that are sure to work.
Instead of deciding to be happy every day, we should make someone else smile every day. If we do, we’re almost guaranteed to feel happier ourselves. Much more so than by having a vague wish to feel different.
There are lots of other ways to go. Whatever it is that makes us happy, we should put on our priority list: dancing around in our pjs, having a clean house, baking cookies or watching funny videos.
DON’T Quit chocolate
DO Start healthy habits
Contrary to popular belief and “clean eating” trends, having a treat every now and then is part of a healthy lifestyle.
Don’t ban your favorite things or think that you have to be some kind of flawless version of yourself to achieve your goals. Life’s too short anyway.
Instead, make an active choice to eat more of the healthy stuff, especially fruit and veg. Eat things that are both good for you and that you like. You might find that you crave those treats less and less. You might start to enjoy them more when you do have them, and start to feel good about yourself in a whole new way.
DON’T Demand perfect grades
DO Plan studies better
I have once or twice made the mistake of pressuring myself to be the perfect student that gets top grades. Later, I have realized that it’s not a very smart goal to have.
What really has affected the results I get at university is how I plan my studies.
If I have a plan, and I break up all of the work into manageable chunks, I find that I’m less stressed about the final paper/exam and I procrastinate much less. Result: I’m happier and I get better grades.
DON’T Better sleep
DO 15 mins earlier
Whenever I set goals, I always put sleep on the list.
Sleep is my everything, the absolute must. It’s what I need in order to get stuff done and to be in anything resembling a good mood.
I’m always looking for new ways to sleep better.
What I’ve noticed, is that the concrete things matter the most. So instead of setting the goal of “sleeping better”, I’ve tried going to bed 30 minutes or just 15 minutes earlier.
It’s made a big difference and made me realize that even though it was a goal of mine, I wasn’t really doing anything differently until I set a more practical goal. Funny, isn’t it?
Go, go, go, setting goals!
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