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Adult Life, Family, Health and Happiness

How To Have Your Best Year Yet

 

This year is the year, guys! This is it! Want to lose that weight? Want to feel happier, more at peace, or more fulfilled? Want to make more money or save more money? Want to finally get your life organized? You have the power to make your best year happen! Here’s how to do it…

This year is a little different for me. I’m not a big “resolutions” kinda girl. I’ve tried them in the past, and let’s just say, after 2 weeks I was eating cookies and using my food journal as a coaster. Every year I was feeling like a failure and starting the new year off all wrong. My dreams of having an incredible year were dashed. The thing was that I was making these shallow promises to myself that things would change, and they wouldn’t because I wasn’t making a plan.

Over the years, I have learned that goals are much different than resolutions. Resolutions are hopes and dreams. Goals are achievable because they are planned. We can make smaller goals to achieve our larger goals. Goals make us feel empowered. Resolutions make us feel pressured and haunted. So, what I propose is that we trash these 2018 Resolutions and begin our year with 2018 Goals. Ok, the name doesn’t have that exciting ring to it that “resolutions”does, but we need realistic and common phrases to make our goals and our lives happen the way we want.

Let’s get going! Here are some tips to make this year your best year yet:

 

Make a list of your priorities

Priorities are great because they help us see what we really want out of life. They help us identify a focus and understand what behaviors might be getting in the way of us keeping our most important priorities first. Think of your priorities as large stones, gravel, and sand. Large stones are the most important priorities that may take up the majority of your time. Gravel are smaller activities that will still fill a good amount of your time. Sand are all of the extras that you want to include in your life but they don’t add much value. You want to fit everything into a glass vase, but be cognizant about which items are going into your vase first. If you fill your vase primarily with sand, you won’t have room for many larger rocks or gravel.

Ow, let’s identify those large rocks, gravel, and sand priorities. Large rocks are the most important areas of your life you want to focus on. They could be God, Family, Marriage, Work, etc. Gravel priorities are close seconds. These may be Work, Self, Friends, Hobbies, etc. Finally, sand priorities are extra activities that you want to keep in your life. These may include TV watching, Playing in a band, Listening to music, Playing with the dog, etc.

Now that we know our priorities, try to set goals to achieve these priorities. You may want to focus on your career this year. What specifically do you want to focus on? How are you planning on achieving it? By when? Or you can fill your schedule with your priorities. First, make a more detailed list of items that fulfill your priorities that you can place on your calendar (ex. For Marriage, I may specify with “date night” or “talk to hubby at lunch”). I chose to do both this year as a way to achieve my specific goals but, also, to keep my time focused on the most important things in life.

 

Set goals, not resolutions

Let’s start with the phrasing. Goals is a boring word, but it is one we are used to. It is a consistent part of our lives that we relate to achievable action. Resolutions, if given enough time, will turn from exciting to sour in a couple of years because we will begin seeing them as unachievable.

Now, how do we set up goals. Well, we start with SMART goals….flashy name, huh? SMART goals stand for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. Sit down with a piece of paper and write down your goals for the New Year. Then, with your first goal, write down your specifics (what do I want to accomplish, why is this important to me, who/where/what is involved to accomplish goal). Creating measurable goals is simply about identifying the beginning and the end so you can review your progress along the way. How will you know your goal is achieved?

Next, is your goal realistic? Do you have the time, money, training, etc. needed to make it happen? Is there anything you need to do before you attempt to achieve your goal to make it possible to accomplish? Then, review your goal and ask if your goal is relevant to your life and the current time period? Is this goal really worth your time, is it what you want in life right now, and is your current environment in support or working against your goal? Finally, identify when you want to start your goal and when you want it completed by. For longer term goals, try to create a list of smaller goals that you can achieve along the way in order for your long term goal to appear less overwhelming.

Complete these questions for every goal you have for the new year. This may help you narrow down how many goals you want to try to accomplish this year, and how many can wait for a later time in life.

 

Schedule Your Life to Fit Your Priorities

Let’s schedule! I absolutely love scheduling and planning. Why? Because it gives me an idea of where I am spending my time. I get the chance to tell each minute where to go. Life is short, and to truly feel fulfilled, we need to spend our time doing what we want with it. I have spent too many years with life passing me by because I let other people and activities decide for me where my time was going. Not this year. This year, I have the power to choose where my time is going to go, and I am going to use that power.

Start with a pad of paper or a yearly planner if you are fancy! I like to use a pas of paper because if I mess up, there is always room/another page to correct my errors. Sit down with your priorities list and specified priorities list. Don’t forget to fill your time with your large rocks first. Then, go back and fill in your time with gravel priorities. Finally, add the extras in any spare time segments you may have left. Here is an example of what your schedule may look like:

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday
6am:

Volunteer at Church

6am:

Mommy read bible, coffee, exercise, shower

6am:

Mommy read bible, coffee, exercise, shower

6am:

Mommy read bible, coffee, exercise, shower

10:15am:

Church Service

7:30am

Toddler up

Change, Feed

7:30am

Toddler up

Change, Feed

7:30am

Toddler up

Change, Feed

8:30am:

Preschool Activities

(Read, Play, Puzzles, Music)

8:30am:

Social Activities

Walk with friends

8:30am:

Preschool Activities

(Read, Play, Puzzles, Music)

12pm:

Home to feed toddler

12pm:

Toddler Lunch

12pm:

Toddler Lunch

12pm:

Toddler Lunch

1pm:

Toddler nap

Mommy watch tv, read

1pm:

Toddler nap

Mommy write for blog, rest

1pm:

Toddler nap

Mommy write for blog, rest

1pm:

Toddler nap

Mommy write for blog, rest

4pm:

Toddler wakes up

Change, Snack

4pm:

Toddler wakes up

Change, Snack

4pm:

Toddler wakes up

Change, Snack

4pm:

Toddler wakes up

Change, Snack

5pm:

Start making dinner

Hubby and Toddler play

5pm:

Start making dinner

Hubby and Toddler play

5pm:

Start making dinner

Hubby and Toddler play

5pm:

Start making dinner

Hubby and Toddler play

5:30pm:

Family Dinner at Table

5:30pm:

Family Dinner at Table

5:30pm:

Family Dinner at Table

5:30pm:

Family Dinner at Table

 

My Priority list may look like this:

Big Rocks Gravel Sand
God

Marriage

Toddler Time

Work

Myself

Watch tv

Read

Crochet

Cook

 

My specifics list may look like this:

Big Rocks Gravel Sand
God

-read the bible daily

-volunteer at church

-attend church service

Marriage

-Date night 1x/wk

-Family Dinner every night

Toddler Time

-Social time with friends and play dates 3x/wk

-Preschool activities 2x/ wk

Work

-write M-F at lunch

-work M, T, Th from 6-9

Myself

-exercise daily

-shower in the morning

-follow eating plan throughout day

Watch tv

Spend time with friends

-walk with kids 1x/wk

Read

Crochet

Cook

-family dinner every night

 

Follow Your Schedule The Best You Can

I tend to over-stuff my schedule. Hey, I have a lot of dreams, ok? Try your schedule out for a few weeks, and see if you need to drop some activities or alter a few to save on time. I recommend trying the schedule out for a few weeks because it will take some time to get used to more activity and planning out your time. You will probably be doing more throughout the day just because you want to tell each minute where to go, and you don’t want to waste time.

This can backfire, though, if you are not careful. Don’t overwhelm yourself. If your schedule is too busy you will drop it completely, and go back to the same schedule you had that wasn’t getting you where you wanted to be in life. So look at the first few months as a trial and error period. What works and what doesn’t? Are you feeling satisfied? Should you add or take away any activities? Are there any activities you are wanting to expand on? Adjust your schedule accordingly. This is your life, and you get to choose how you spend your days.

 

Work the plan with a friend

Setting goals and planning your life with others is very helpful. You can keep each other accountable for the way you live your lives. This isn’t an excuse to judge each other and tell each other how to live. It’s a time where you can talk to someone about your life and help each other figure out problems that may come up. It’s always good to have someone to bounce ideas off of. Two heads are better than one when you are trying to figure out how to live the life you want.

 

Organize your lifestyle

Interestingly enough, organization and decluttering can help you achieve your goals. When you start the year off with a messy house and crazy schedule, you will feel overwhelmed with any new changes an decisions being made to your life. Can you imagine trying to make food every night for your family when all you see is a pile of dishes? What about going on a date night when you don’t have a sitter? Sometimes we have to plan in order to plan. We have to set ourselves up for success in order to live the life we want.

Start by decluttering your space and cleaning. You will just feel better, and you will know where everything is at. You won’t feel the need to spend money on things you already have because you can’t find them. You will be able to look around and feel like you can accomplish anything. Get rid of stuff you don’t need. Sell items on Ebay or Facebook if you are needing some extra money. Clear your space so you can clear your head and prepare it for a new way of living.

Then, declutter your planner. Plan a babysitter and an activity for date nights. Create a folder for your kiddo so the babysitter always knows what to expect. Planning on budgeting and getting your finances together this year? Make a Budget Binder and follow our Financial Success Series in order to plan for success!

 

Forgive yourself and review your whys

I’m not going to promise success. You may run into problems. You may start to follow your schedule or check off your goals, and then, life hits you. You forgot to complete a smaller goal that will help you achieve your larger goal. You stopped following your schedule for a few days, and now you feel completely lost. You ate 4 brownies last night and gained 3 lbs this morning.

Breathe! That’s ok! Life happens. The good, the bad, and the ugly. There are definitely things that will try to take you away from your goals. Take a breath, forgive yourself, review your schedule and your goals, adjust what needs to be adjusted, and jump right back in. This is your life. If something isn’t working, change it to work for you. If a goal is too difficult to achieve right now, adapt it or save it for a later time in life. Do what you need to do to make yourself happy and live the life you want. That’s all this is about.

Don’t forget to have fun along the way. Turn a goal into something fun you can do with a friend. Cross out a priority and do something fun with the family. Change it up every once in a while.

 

Identify a word of the year, and create a goal board

Get creative with your goals and schedule. Identify a motto for yourself or a word of the year. I have 2 words for 2018: Power and Determination. Words and phrases provide a direction, motivation, encouragement, and an identity to the year.

Now get creative with your word or your goals. Draw or paint your word. Make a design of your wording or phrasing for this year. Create a Goal Board where you can put images and quotes that remind you why you are shooting for this goal. Put it somewhere you can see it every day so you can wake up motivated to keep going.

 

Reward yourself

Yes! Rewards! That’s what we live for, right? After you accomplish your goals, or while you are following your priority schedule, reward yourself along the way. Remind yourself that you have worked hard to accomplish this. You have worked hard to live the life you want. You have worked hard to get where you are today. If you aren’t completely there yet, conjure up that image in your head and those feelings of how it will feel when you reach those goals. If you have been following your schedule for awhile, are you feeling fulfilled? Remember where you were when you started. What’s different now?

 

This is it, guys! This is the time! Don’t let another year go by without choosing to make your life what you want it to be. The new year is full of freshness and excitement. New Years Day is like that first, white snow that falls. Nothing has touched it or soiled it. It is fresh, new, and beautiful. Do what you want with this new year!

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