Goals. Creating Action Plans for all areas of life.
I started this year on the highest of highs. "It is my year," I told myself. Not quite next level 'new year, new me', but I had that feeling that everything was going to be alright, great even! Not even a horoscope was needed to reaffirm my feelings, I knew in my heart of hearts, my gut.
One week later though I was already crashing. That euphoric feeling quickly dissipated after I flossed for a few days, saved gelato to the weekend ...rather than a Tuesday Treat... and slept at reasonable bedtimes for a few days (see here for more sleep tips).
Then I started to feel that dreaded feeling. I started to feel that the year was getting away from me. I was falling behind, 6 days had passed and I had not done anything majorly contributive to my goals! I hadn’t coloured in all my boxes on my bullet journal tracker either. The goals and mantras I told myself, and my poor friends who dared listen to me ramble on, were not being ticked off.
But lets be real friends, not even a week had passed and and I was already losing it a little bit. I put this intense pressure on myself to make the most of every hour, every day - feeling guilty to watch a bit of the Crown, feeling like any sun should be used for physical activity despite my body aching from to many incorrectly performed chaturangas, feeling terrible that I didn’t manage to post a few times in the first week.
So I told myself to make Action Plans, the key to actually achieving your goals. Writing and following simple Action Plans support your goals to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timed = SMART. This anagram I hardly remember though, so I like to put it all down with pen and paper. A simple table that compartmentalises my goals and makes them manageable so I can physically tick away and feel great about my overall ongoing wellbeing, creativity and growth. So here’s how an Action Plan looks and works:
Reflect on how you want to be the best version of you. What areas in your life do you want to be more successful and happy in? I wrote goals for:
Looking at that list may seem like a lot to write and be accountable for …but I've made my Action Plan nice and small so all you have to do is add in a few notes. Take baby steps!! Achieve small specific tasks to keep the momentum going and keep your motivation strong!
I looked at what was actually a priority, and realised nothing was in fact that urgent - some goals were of higher priority, however most of my goals were medium to low. Pay attention to what is most important rather than spending time on absolutely everything and being overwhelmed.
What steps do you need to achieve the long-term bigger picture? Do you want to take great pictures for instance? You might want to sign up for a photography class on SkillShare, collaborate with a photographer by the end of the month, read the book “Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs", go for a adventure in your neighbourhood every second Saturday with your camera in hand, or whatever you find fun!
What do you actually want to achieve? If you’re trying to be fit and healthy... probably one of everyone's goals… what will make you successful? Is it meal prepping for two weeks and feeling happy and energised for the whole day. Is it attending 2 gym classes a fortnight with you sleeping 8 hours and feeling fitter?
Plan a clear deadline. This way you have a date to work towards and you know when to your achieve steps by. Otherwise if you're like me you will most likely procrastinate and keep postponing the steps till later.
This is my favourite part. Monitor how you are going on your journey. Be proud of what you have achieved even if it is small, because you are one step closer to achieving the bigger goal! Before you learn to walk you crawl, before you learn to run you walk. Also before you learn to swim you doggy paddle. Just keep paddling and making baby steps, always. If you put unachievable expectations on yourself, you’re likely to keep failing and where will the motivation to keep trying? Remember to keep it small, reward yourself and reflect on the amazing mini-short term goals you are achieving. In the long run it will be so worth it!!