Thursday, December 31, 2015

Deciding on Goals for the New Year 2016


Deciding on Your 2016 Goals

Are you wanting to change things up, move forward and make the new year better than the last one? There are so many ways to tackle setting New Year's resolutions and goals.  Which one should you choose?  I tackle my goal setting in a variety of steps to ensure the best outcome. Maybe one of these brainstorming activities, or all of them, will work for you!

STEP 1
Analyze Your Year

One way to start this is by listing out all the events of 2015 in chronological order, such as I what I did here.  Don't think too deeply about it; just write. If you've been with my blog for a while, you'll notice that not everything that happened in 2015 made it into my "This is Me" post this year. Some things just weren't important and needed no focus.  The same will happen for you.  So don't worry if you didn't write down everything!  Just get the important details, both good and bad.

Now take a look at your chronological list.  There's a good chance some things went very well for you and some things didn't in 2015.  Take a moment to sort your chronological list into what you would consider generally "good" and "bad," what went well from things that maybe didn't go so well.  Things what went well for you can become habits through goal setting, or starting points from which to grow.  Things that didn't go so well can be turned around using goal-setting.

Here's my chart for 2015!


From here, I can already begin to see goals I want to set.  As with last year, I need to continue to work on my weight, if not for cosmetics but because I have a chronic illness fueled by inflammation.  My husband's student loans are still a concern and moving twice didn't do us any favors in finances.  Clearly, I'm going to have a lot of money goals this year.  But I'd also like to build on what went right, like my business as a caricature artist or fine tuning Witchy Words.  Already, this comparative list has me thinking!

 STEP 2
Brainstorm

There are so many ways to brainstorm out there, but here are just a few!

Flow/Bubble Chart


I created this nifty little flow chart over at Gliffy.com, but you could easily create something similar with paper and pen or in your favorite program.  It doesn't have to be neat and not everything has to connect. This is just the planning stage!  Instead of starting with the blank slate of 2016 and stuttering to find a focus, I've plugged in my "good" and "bad" columns from my 2015 review list into the rectangular boxes and went from there.  At this stage, I just stuck with obvious things that popped into my head.  I'm starting to see 2016 take shape now!

Pentacle Goals Worksheet

Because this is a pagan witchcraft blog after all, we have to do at least something a little witchy.  One of my favorite brainstorming worksheets is the Pentacle Goals Worksheet I created in 2013.


This worksheet allows the elements to correspond with five different aspects of your life.  By compartmentalizing, you can begin to develop specific goals.  This is perfect if you're still not quite sure where to go or if your 2015 lists didn't cover all aspects of your life. The prompts on the worksheet might get you thinking about other areas you'd like to improve or new things you'd like to do!

Here's mine for 2016:


To create this, I combined my bubble chart with my 2014 goal chart, which obviously didn't get quite finished because we moved so much.  But I'm not quite ready to narrow down my goals just yet.

STEP 3
How happy are you?


downloaded this little nifty program for free in 2013 when I was looking at my goals and it really helped me!  This program sorts your life into eight distinct categories.  You need not stick with the eight categories they give you; I personally edited mine a bit.  You then rate your happiness in each section from "Very Bad" to "Excellent."  The basic concept is that a wheel must be well-rounded to function.  Wheels that are off-balance cannot turn or go with the flow of the path. By identifying your troubled areas, you know where you need more goals set.

Up until this point, you've been brainstorming general goals you might want to work on for 2016. Take a moment to clear your mind of those goals and focus solely on your happiness.  Just how happy are you in each of your chosen 8 life sections?

Here's my Wheel of Life as of December 31st, 2015:


Notice that my Wheel of Life isn't exactly a wheel. We moved twice in 2015 at the cost of our finances and my health (and my husband's as well).  And, while my career grew, there's so much more I could be doing that I know I'm just not. 


STEP 4
Quantify Goals

So now I have some ideas of the kind of goals I want to set and the areas of my life that need the most work.  At this point, it's mostly just plugging those goals into the appropriate categories.  I liked the Wheel of Life's weight category system but their display, while very pretty, didn't give me a quantifiable number of goals.  I noticed that their scale works on a eight-step system, so I translated their chart into a chart of my own:


This chart organized each section alphabetically, used eight blocks shaded to the appropriate level of happiness and quantified it with a percentage at the end.  If this is your first time joining me for goal setting, just shade in the blocks up to the appropriate area and you're set to start filling in the blanks!


However, if you followed me last year in my goal setting, you may also want to get out your finalized 2015 chart.


Shade in any goals you completed.  If you find you have goals that are partially completed, use a lighter color.  Adjust your percentages as well.

Ignore any misaligned text or marked areas. I just grabbed this while working.
This is where you need to be forgiving.  Obviously, I set a lot of goals and have little wiggle room for derailing. My husband and I had not planned on moving at all last year. Instead, we moved not once but twice, putting almost all of the year after we found out about moving in July on hold.  I'm impressed I was able to shade in what I did!  So, if you have some gaps, give yourself the same leniency.

Now clear the table and slide all the shaded areas to the left.


This is where things may get a little tricky.  You may notice that the space left from your attained goals last year doesn't match your Wheel of Life levels of happiness.  Here's a quick comparison:


That's quite a difference!  Obviously, level of fulfillment from the previous year does not necessarily equate to happiness in that area, especially depending on the last year's events. Moving really did me in on my level of happiness in a variety of areas.  It's time to be discerning: Do I go with level of fulfillment based on 2015 or my level of happiness?

In the end, I decided to average out my goal chart from last year with my Wheel of Life from this year and still maintain at least one empty goal block in each section.  With that in mind, my finalized 2016 blank chart looks something like this:


We're getting much closer to completing a 2016 goal chart! But there's one more thing to keep in mind...


Setting Attainable Goals

At this point, I was armed with a list of goals and a set number of how many I needed to fulfill my year.  I was ready to start officially setting goals for the 2016 year!  But there are so many holes in my chart and so much work to be done.  How can I ensure that the goals I set are attainable?

If you're into goal setting and planning like I am, then I'm sure you've heard of making your goals SMART.  No, I don't mean increasing your fledgling goal's IQ points.  I mean S.M.A.R.T. - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

A specific goal identifies all of the important components of your goal: The who, what, when, where, which and why's.  For example, saying "I want to lose weight" is too general.  Narrowing it down to "I will visit the gym in the morning three days a week and count my calories using a calorie tracking journal" gives you a much more focused view of your goal.

Making your goal measurable means giving it a specific quantifiable criteria.  Instead of saying "I want to lose weight," this would be more like "I want to lose 30 pounds."  If we keep the specific part of your goal in mind, this turns your original plan of "losing weight" into "I will lose 30 pounds through going to the gym in the morning three days a week and counting my calories using a calorie tracker."

Your goal also needs to be attainable.  Losing 30 pounds through exercising in the morning is a great idea, but what you're not a morning person?  Or what if you work too early in the morning to hit the gym?  You'll want to make sure you pave the clearest path for your goal by aligning it with your life.  You may discover that you have more time in the evening rather than the morning to do your workout, changing your goal to "I will lose 30 pounds through going to the gym in the evening three days a week and counting my calories using a calorie tracker."

The goal needs to be realistic as well.  You might want those 30 pounds to come off as quickly as possible, but it's unhealthy and unrealistic to attempt to lose it in a month.  Instead, spreading the pounds out through several months makes it easier to achieve.  A steady five pounds a month makes your goal more than doable.  Your goal now reads "I will lose five pounds a month over six months by going to the gym in the evening three days a week and counting my calories using a calorie counter."

Finally, your goal should have a specific time frame.  Six months could be any six months of the year.  Creating a due date will give you create a small sense of urgency (not anxiety, but need) to finish it!  When thinking about the time frame, be sure to give yourself adequate time for setbacks when thinking about your due date.  Losing 5 pounds a month for six months will get you to 30 pounds lost, but perhaps you have a family emergency that sets you back a couple weeks?  Things happen!  So instead of setting your finalized goal at July 1st, perhaps you'd like to give yourself an extra month of leeway.

Your original goal may have read "I want to lose weight."
It now reads: "I will lose five pounds over six months with a goal weight of ___ lbs by August 1st through going to the gym in the evening three days a week and counting my calories using a calorie counter."

See how that goal seems much more attainable now?

So now that you have a few brainstorming charts worth of generalized goals and a working number of how to attain them, along with the information needed to make those goals realistic and workable, you're ready to start officially planning your New Year!

Next Up:
My 2016 Career Goals

To my audience:
Share with me your brainstorming worksheets and charts!
What method helped you the most?
What method did you use that wasn't listed here?

8 comments:

  1. Hi Marietta, I've just started reading your blog today. I found it completely at random, but I've found it very helpful in working out my plans for 2016. I relate much more to the number 9 than 8, so I've drawn up a grid with 9 life aspects, and I'll probably choose 1 to 3 goals for each one.
    I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog in future. Best wishes.
    xx Katie.

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    1. Good luck to you and best wishes for completion of all your goals in 2016, Katie! Thank you so much!

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  2. You have been inspiring me for the last 2 years. And now, at this time, I'm also working at my 2016 goals :)

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    1. Aw, thank you so much! Good luck on your goals!

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  3. Girl, every year you overwhelm me with your goals and make me feel like a failure Lol!

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    1. Aw, don't! Not everyone needs a crazy, complicated system for tracking goals. Not everyone needs goals. This is just how my Virgo ISTJ OCD brain works, lol. You do you!

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  4. I happpen to run across your page as well. very informative and fun! love the pentacle image and your header image for the website is awesome. totally finna use the pentacle to do my goals! thanks!

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    1. Thank you so much! Good luck to you, Dee!

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