With January almost over and the working calendar about to step up a notch for many of us, it can be easy to let the new year’s resolutions that were made just a few short weeks ago with the best of intentions slip off our radar. My thoughts today are swirling around how we can set ourselves up for the best possible chance of success when it comes to achieving our dreams, and this is where goal setting comes in.
The following are a few notes to myself to refer back to when it comes to chasing dreams, when I am feeling swamped by the everyday. Perhaps they may be of help to you too:
Write down all goals..large, small, funny or serious, it doesn’t matter. Keep the list somewhere you can revisit it often, whether that be on your phone, in a diary or pinned to a noticeboard/fridge.
Ponder hard about what is currently preventing you from achieving your goals and approach from this direction. This can be really helpful for those larger goals that seem so far off and unattainable, yet by breaking down the barriers into smaller hurdles, we can maximise our chances of success through digestible challenges.
Reward yourself each time you make progress, whether that be hitting a certain target, acquiring a new set of skills or getting through another semester of study. Choose what feels right for you and enjoy some time away from the goal path once in a while. Coming back refreshed can help with moving forward with a fresh outlook and new inspiration. The goals/dreams will still be there tomorrow.
Surround yourself with people who motivate and inspire you. Limit time with people who do not stretch you in ways of new thinking, developing ideas or who are content with their unchanging routine/aspirations. Seek out people who may have skills similar to what you are striving for and focus your energies here.
Don’t be afraid to help others along the way. What you put out comes back and if your energy is being shared from the heart, it will be returned to you in unexpected and abundant ways.
Be thankful. Embrace gratitude and take a moment to honor all that is good in your life. Write these thoughts down and add to the list as it grows over time. Revisit often.
Self care. If you are not looking after yourself then how will you work on your goals which are like fuel stops on the road to success? Take time out of each day, whether 10 mins, an hour or longer to focus on you and only You. Do something that brings you pleasure, relaxation or joy (or all three!). Eat well, stay hydrated, get enough sleep and connect with nature. Move your body in ways that feel right and fit in with your day.
Record achievements to keep track of progress. Revisit and add to the list as it grows. Congratulate yourself on working hard and achieving the smaller goals that comprise the larger ones.
Do you have any strategies for achieving your goals? I would love to hear in the comments section.
As the new year is laid out full of hope and possibility, my mind shifts towards how I would like to shape the coming months. I really love the phrase: “Our thoughts create our reality, so choose your thoughts wisely.” It really seems to be the case that when we focus our attention on aspects of our lives, we create thought patterns or ‘grooves’ that allow us to revisit these thoughts again and again. By planning and mapping the coming months, I find it frees up my mind to allow fresh, new thoughts and ideas in. There seems to be something about mapping out time on paper that soothes my sometimes over-fretful mind. This has to be a good thing!
I have always used a planner of some sort, be it a wall calendar, a week-by-week diary and more recently, the calendar on my phone. Not long ago I came across a new method of documenting the ‘to-do’ lists which drew me in. The bullet journal is basically a book full of dotted pages that are otherwise completely blank. I now, hard to believe, right? It is completely up to the user to customise how they would like the journal to work for them. Just searching up #bulletjournal or #bujo (for short) on instagram or youtube yields a tonne of results! There is no end to the creativity that some people pour into their bullet journals. Whilst drooling over the glorious artworks on people’s ‘weekly spreads’ (weekly planner pages), I was concerned that this new method would require more time than I had to give it. However! I found myself continuing to be drawn in to this alternative way of planning.
From my fresh-eyed perspective of a newbie ‘bujo’ user, what appeals to me is the approach of mindfully sitting down at regular intervals, be it daily, weekly or monthly (or any other interval of choice) and consciously planning out my time, jotting down goals, which leads to thinking about goals, which leads to thoughts about how to achieve these goals. By carrying over tasks from one period to the next I am consciously revisiting them and forming an intentional focus to my days. I really am a great believer in the power of thought and writing down thoughts seems to consolidate the swirling mess that sometimes occupies my mind. This is particularly appealing as my previous way of planning was to use my planner as a ‘brain dump’ with the greatest focus on the ‘what dates would work when’ approach. The other aspect that appeals to me with the bullet journal is that it can be a creative outlet. Not because I am a talented artist that loves to hone my skill. Rather, I love the follow on effects of allowing creativity to flow – the sense of calm that washes over me, the release of background brain ‘noise’ and the time away from the screen. More of that for me, please! I am also interested if this new method of planning/journaling/creativity will enhance my sleeping rhythms. Stay tuned!
If you bullet journal please feel free to share your experiences and any tips you have, I would love to hear what works or doesn’t work for you…