After Christmas, people snuggle up near their fireplace and write out their New Year’s Resolutions, dreaming about what’s to come.
Many of them set big, grandiose goals that challenge and excite them, imagining that who they will be a year from now will be an almost perfect version of themselves.
I’m going to lose thirty pounds, have a million-dollar year and travel the world. It all sounds great on paper, and it’s a year from now so we don’t have to worry – there’s plenty of time.
I’m sure if you’ve ever sat down to do anything monumental, you’ve realized by the end of your deadline, that things took way longer than you expected. That’s because humans are notoriously bad at estimating how long things will take. We plan to finish our book in 6 months and it takes us a year. We also have a real knack for procrastination. Oh, I don’t have to finish my book until June, there’s plenty of time, I’m fine!
To top it all off, we are very bad at thinking and acting with the longterm in mind. If you doubt me, consider the last time you ate something bad for you. If we really had our future in mind, we would delay the instant gratification of that moment. But we almost never do, do we?
Because of these human tendencies, I and many others have decided to throw out our 2020 annual resolutions and focus on creating goals in a way that works with our nature, not against it. That’s what Willows Bloom is all about – going with the flow of life in order to succeed more easily.
So, how do you do this you ask? Well, I’m not saying to entirely throw out an annual goal, but we do want to move it aside and only use it as a stepping stone.
Let me explain by showing you how I set my New Year’s goals.
Start off with a vision for your life.
Sit down and journal about what you want your life to look like in 3-5 years from now. Since we only set goals a few times a year, it’s great to really take the time to dive deep and ask ourselves important, holistic questions about our life. Who will I be with? Where will I live? How will I spend my time, money and energy? What will I be most proud of at this point in time? Etc…
Really consider each domain of life in the diagram below.
After you’ve explored your greatest future fantasies, let’s break those desires down into yearly steps. Start with your life 3 years from now and work back to the present moment. What will you have to achieve each year to get to where you want to be?
Year 3 Vision:
Year 3 Goal:
Year 2 Goal:
It’s ok if you only have a vague idea about how you can get there. We want to get a bit clearer for our year one goal though, so try to make it specific and slightly out of reach.
Year 1 Goal:
Knowing this one-year goal, let’s break it down into quarters. Think about what 4 main steps will help you to reach that goal.
Year 1 Goal→
For example, if I want to run retreats 3 years from now, I will likely need to build an audience of people who will want to go. So my one-year goal is to grow my e-mail list to 10,000 people. In order to do this, I need to gain around 2,500 people per quarter.
So, my rough, quarterly goal is to gain around 2,500 e-mail subscribers. However, I know how these things work, and I know that things are always slower in the beginning and then seem to take on a life of their own. Considering this, I might want to adjust and say the first month I want 1,000 subscribers, while the last month I want 3,500 subscribers.
Now let’s ignore everything we just did and write down what steps we can take to get to our Quarter 1 Goal of 1,000 subscribers. Write down everything you think of and consider what will make the most impact with the least amount of time and resources.
Quarter 1 Task Braindump:
Then go through and assign out your big, target goals for each of the 12 weeks. These should be general summaries of what you will ideally achieve each week.
So maybe I will focus on writing a few new blog posts, creating Youtube videos, posting on social media, guest posting on blogs or sitting in on other people’s podcasts, that sort of thing.
Now that you have a weekly target, let’s flush out Week 1 with actual tasks. If you’d like, you can even calendar block your time to ensure you have enough time to do all the tasks you’ve set your eyes on.
Week 1 Tasks:
An added suggestion is that you write down WHY you want to achieve your quarterly (or annual) goal in your journal each day. This will help your brain to stay focused on the objective.
And that’s all! There are a few more things that I like to take into consideration when planning my time. For example, I wrote this post on how to work/plan with your menstrual cycle. I use this because how I feel day to day and week to week will have an impact on the kind of work I should be doing. I will also be posting content on how to work with the moon and astrology when planning, but until then, stay tuned!