This time of year, everyone is obsessed with reflecting, re-evaluating, and making resolutions. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of resolutions — I’ve always felt like making them was somehow setting myself up for failure. Resolutions sound so, well… resolute. And while the idea of being unwavering in your goals is noble, we are only human, and we are bound to waver eventually.
That said, over this past year I have grown to value intentionality and self-improvement more than ever before. So, I knew that in order to feel true to myself, I should spend a bit of time reflecting on my “resolutions” — or, as I decided to call it — my 2017 mission and goals.
I was fortunate enough to be able to take a day off from work last week so that I could really get into the appropriate headspace for thoughtful reflection. After a productive yet relaxing morning of making a nice breakfast, working out, and tidying my apartment, I visited my local library for a change of scenery and a quiet setting to focus. I cozied up in a comfy leather chair facing a window, pulled out my laptop, and opened my trusty Evernote app.
To prompt reflection, I focused on making a few lists about my behavior in 2016. These lists included:
- Things I Would Like To Continue To Do
- Things I Would Like To Do Better
- Things I Would Like To Spend Less Money On
- Things I Could Afford to Spend More Money On
- Things I Could Make More Money Doing
I approached making these lists with a lens of self-compassion, which is something I’d strongly suggest doing if you decide to tackle the task of writing a 2017 mission. We can be way too hard on ourselves when setting resolutions, and it’s important to realize that no one — not even you — is perfect.
As I made my “Continue To Do” list, I reflected on all of the things I was doing well already, such as making my bed, checking my budget consistently, cooking with Eric often, and keeping a Bullet Journal.
My “Do Better” list included habits I am hoping to make stick in the coming year, such as trying to stop snoozing in the morning, reading and meditating more often, working out consistently, and flossing every day. I also identified a few new goals to focus on, such as learning new things more regularly and keeping in touch with friends and family a bit better.
My “Spend Less $$” list helped highlight things like bike-commuting and avoiding fast food, which — if I am diligent — could really add up to some savings. My “Things I Could Afford” list included a monthly Spotify subscription (it really helps me focus!) or a subscription to the online learning community, Skillshare (it makes it easy to learn!). Finally, my “Make More $$” list helped define money-making goals that would advance my personal development, such as expanding my side freelance business or teaching on my own Skillshare class.
Identifying Daily, Weekly, Monthly & Annual Goals
Making these initial lists laid the groundwork for another layer — identifying concrete goals. I decided to break my goals into four sections
- My Daily Goals outlined daily habits that I want to cement
- My Weekly Goals were a little less essential on a daily basis, but still helpful
- My Monthly Goals were more “nice to have”
- And finally, my Annual Goals defined some farther-reaching aspirations
Brainstorming New Routines
Next, I distilled my daily goals a bit further and brainstormed how implementing simple routines could help me stack positive habits and cause a momentum-building snowball effect. I made sure that each of my daily goals had a pre-determined time to occur in order to eliminate excuse-making and decision fatigue.
To do this, I planned:
- a 1-hour, highly-scheduled morning routine
- a brief lunch-time routine
- a loose evening routine
During this exercise, I realized that waking up just one hour earlier would make time to accomplish ALL of my daily goals, every day.
Writing Your Mission & Goals
All of this list making — although seemingly tedious and redundant at times — helped me to get my head ready for my final step: writing my mission and overarching goals.
Your 2017 Mission should highlight the most important themes from your brainstorm, identifying overarching strategies that, if kept, will empower you to meet your tactical goals.
Your 2017 Goals should pull together 5-7 major ideas that encompass as many of your smaller goals as possible, but aren’t so specific that you are setting yourself up for failure. Remember: the objective is to TRY. If you fail, you can still congratulate yourself for being intentional and making the effort. If you succeed, it’s a double win!
So, without further ado: my 2017 Mission and Goals.
- Live every day, week, and month with intention.
- When life gives you blessings, be grateful and give back.
When life gives you struggles, be patient and compassionate.
- Enjoy more experiences, tell more stories, create more beauty.
- Cultivate connections, deeply and widely.
- Pursue diligence, resilience, and grit.
- Habituate a morning routine that supports me in accomplishing my daily goals.
- Develop a consistent rhythm of writing, blogging, planning ahead, and engaging.
- Learn more new things by taking free or affordable online or community classes.
- Fully define my freelance brand and pursue significant side income.
- Pursue one (or more) personal creative side project(s).
- Balance traveling with budgeting and saving.