The framework I used to set my 2019 year goals
How often do you stop and ask yourself what you want?
Actually, cancel that question—how often do you ask yourself what you want, and vocalize it? Chances are, not enough. We are conditioned to believe that saying what we want is selfish and entitled, and therefore, we avoid it.
But here’s the thing: No one can get you what you want, except you. If there is a goal you want to work toward—a promotion at work, a relationship you’re proud to be in, or deadlifting your bodyweight—the first step in reaching that goal is saying it out loud.
If there is one message I want to give you on the first day of 2019, it’s this: There is absolutely no reason you can’t have a life you’re completely in love with. If there’s something in your life you’re dissatisfied with—whether it have to do with your personal life, career, or finances—you need to ask yourself what you truly want, and work towards that.
How to set a SMART goal (and follow through with them)
When you sit down and ask yourself what you want from this year, push yourself to consider the following two criteria:
1) Make sure they’re SMART goals
A SMART goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound. Get more sales is, by no means, a specific goal (or a measurable one, while we’re at it). Gaining two new clients per month however, is. Losing 100 pounds in a single year is not typically achievable, at least in a way that’s sustainable or healthy. Traveling to every single continent is not realistic, at least not for the average person (or income!).
And finally, every single one of your goals should have a deadline, or be time-bound. Be realistic with your timelines, giving yourself more time than you think necessary. Your life has room for leeway, so don’t beat yourself up over pushing a deadline.
—Which, brings me to the second criteria:
2) Make sure each goal is a priority—i.e. related to something you love and care about
Set goals that reflect what you care about. Throughout 2019, you will have to prioritize. Unexpected things WILL come up, and when they do, you need to reflect on what’s important. If two of your biggest loves are family and travel, but you experience a financial hit throughout the course of the year, you might choose to fly home to see family (where you can stay for free!!) over a Cabo vacation. Make sense?
How to Set Your 2019 Goals: A Step-by-Step Guide
My boyfriend and I did this exercise together, and afterwards I felt so energized I started mass-texting friends and worked twelve-hour days without coming up for air. I hope it helps you recognize what you want out of this year.
Step One: Focus on what you love.
To start things off, we wrote down every last thing we loved, no matter how generic or specific. One person rambled while the other wrote, scribbling down family, food, travel, work, reading, and chocolate.
Try it yourself: With a partner (or a bottle of wine and the voice memos feature on your phone) blab on about everything you love for three minutes. If you use a recording device, transcribe your loves into a visible list.
Step Two: Vocalize what you want
Next, we wrote down every last thing we want. We itemized everything we wanted into three categories: personal, business, and finances. Once we had our lists, we circled the four or five items we want most from each category. For example, my Top Five from my “personal” section were full of travel wishes, including visiting my Grandma, touring Santa Fe, and flying to DC to visit my friend and podcast co-host, Kara.
Try it yourself: Take a large sheet of paper (tagboard works best) and create three columns, one for personal, business, and finances. Set a three-minute timer, and write down everything you want from those three areas of your life. When time is up, select your Top Five items from each category.
Step Three: Write down action items
Once we had our Top Five, we wrote down action items for each goal. I’ll share my absolute favorite with you: One of both my and Teddy’s personal goals is to stop complaining about dumb shit. For our action items, we decided to 1) call each other out, and 2) make the offending complainer place $1 in a jar. At the end of the year, we will donate our entire complaints’ earnings to a worthy cause. [Because someone should benefit from me bitching about sitting in traffic.]
Try it yourself: Write down at least one action item (2-3 is better) for each of your Top Five within your personal, business, and finance goals.
Step Four: Make a timeline
Last and not least, we made a timeline for our goals and corresponding action items. One of my business goals was to launch three new products in 2019 (stay tuned!). I wrote down deadlines for outlines, first drafts, and launch dates for each, then put each and every date in my Google Calendar.
Try it yourself: Write down deadlines for each one of your goals and action items. Store these goals in whatever app or software makes sense to you, such as your calendar or project management tool.
How to hold yourself accountable
No matter what your goals or action items, find a person, tool, or community that can help hold you accountable. Here are two apps I downloaded that you might just fall in love with:
Strides: This SMART goal tracking + habit app can help you organize your goals. It’s totally free, and has categories for anything and everything.
Stash: Many of my finance goals have to do with budgeting (no more student loans come 2020!). This investment app helps you keep track of your savings, income, and spending.
But honestly, while technology can help keep you organized, it’s people that will hold you accountable. This is why I chose to do this exercise with my boyfriend, Teddy, in the first place—so we can keep one another in check throughout 2019. In the TL Method, we constantly share our goals and struggles throughout the month in our Facebook group. If you have a friend, family member, or teammate who won’t put up with your shit and will remind you of the badass you are, reach out to them.
Because, you know what? Dark days will happen. They happened last year, and they won’t let up. You will need an army of positive, uplifting people around you to remind you of what you want, why you deserve it, and how far you’ve come. Hell, if you need someone to give you a swift kick in the booty, just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org!). I’m also going LIVE on Instagram every.single.day in January so we can all establish and work toward our goals, together.