Setting Goals for 2019

I recently completed one of my biggest goals for the year, reading 100 books in 2018. And I did it in 11 months. I wrote a post about how to read more if you're interested. Anyway, this inspired me to set goals for 2019 as well, considering how well I have been doing so far. Before the end of the year, I am going to post about my goals for 2019 to hopefully help you get inspired as well. But without further blabbering on my part, let's get to the topic:

Make a long long list of things you could imagine yourself doing for the next year. Don't be too specific or picky, the idea here is to plant all your thoughts on paper or your phone and then prune through the list. Pick goals that really inspire you and that you could see yourself being committed to for the next 365 days. I was actually surprised by what came up when I started listing things, maybe some of them were buried deep down in my subconscious mind - for example, I listed wanting to create a translation portfolio, something I did not even realize I might want to do. You could also ask for help from your loved ones with this, as they might remember better than you some of the things you keep talking about but never do. It is painful but sometimes necessary. I had to cross off things I am probably never going to do because it might not actually be what I want to be doing, but just something I felt like I should be doing.

Make sub-goals
Breaking goals into smaller units is a well-known way to help you accomplish your goals. I personally used GoodReads (if you're a member, let's be friends!!) for tracking my reading progress, and it helped an awful lot! Every time I logged in to add another book or to browse through the community, I could see my progress in the sidebar and it would let me know how many books I needed to read in a given week to keep up with the challenge. I can assure you, it is much nicer to tackle smaller bits (say, 1 book a week) than think of a pile of dozens of book you need to read. Less overwhelming, and you get more done! Numbers (for books to read, saving goals etc.) are easy to divide for each week, but if it is something harder to track, try to come up with realistic and doable sub-goals for the task. I am going to talk more about this in a future blog post about my goals for 2019, so stay tuned.

I have a love-hate relationship with committing. It can be extremely effective but painful at the same time. If you have never heard about a website called stickK, you should definitely check it out! The idea is to be committed to your goals by letting others know about your goals and setting a deadline for finishing them. You commit to a goal, put some money on the line and hello success! You can pick from a variety of anti-charities (charities where you would never be putting your money in) as a stick. Don't forget the carrots though, you should always celebrate success and reward yourself for finishing what you started! I have used stickK a few times with a 100% success rate, so if you are really struggling with following through with a task, I highly recommend the site! Another way to do this is to make an agreement with someone that you'll pay them a certain amount of money if you have not been able to stay consistent with whatever it is that you're doing. I plan to do this with my blog's posting schedule, I could give some money for my brother every time I neglect posting. Would that be a key to consistency? I think it would work, I need to meet my saving goals and I can't do that if I have to keep giving money to my brother!

Track progress
Tracking your progress is a key element to staying consistent and motivated! It is a good idea to schedule some reflection time each week (or however often you feel is necessary) just to look back at the past days and see what went well and what maybe didn't. This way you will be both motivated by the progress you've made so far, and also by adjusting your behavior based on the current situation. I had to do this when I was having a hard time keeping up with my reading challenge. At one point I was 9 books behind schedule, and I decided to start listening to audiobooks while commuting. This made a huge difference and helped me complete the challenge. I truly think success is about making little choices every day and switching bad habits to better ones slowly but surely - it takes time and dedication, but it is doable! Also, remember to optimize the tracking: it won't do any good to do it too often or too rarely, so based on your goal, estimate what would be a good frequency for progress check-ups. You can adjust this later, but this is something to consider while setting your goals.

From an abstract goal to a concrete one
One of the things that made it into my goals for 2019 was becoming more creative. Pretty abstract, right? It is hard to track, hard to put into your calendar and hard to break into sub-goals. That is why I wanted to try and develop a more concrete goal from this. I chose the area of creativity that I felt most passionate about, blogging,  and focused on that. I then created sub-goals for writing, photography and so on and started building up from there. I hope this illustrates how to take an abstract idea and make it into a clear, concrete goal that you can go after and achieve.

This concludes my post about goal setting! We have covered brainstorming, making sub-goals, committing, tracking progress and forming concrete goals. Do you have something to add to the list to help us all achieve our goals in the coming year? I would love to hear from you, so please share your ideas in the comment box below!

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