If you haven't already noticed, we are kind of on a mission in 2021. We are determined here at Dear Jess, Lead with Love, to (affectionately and lovingly) cut the bologna and call our wayward ways to the carpet. Let me remind you of a very important truth as we settle in to do this work: We have never started a new year in the middle of a global pandemic.
Go ahead. Let that sink in.
So, while I admire your ambition, I also have to be upfront with you, friends. Your "hustle" and your "grind," while motivational in theory, really just don't have a place for me in January '21. As we hack away at anything that detracts from our core values and life plan, I have to speak this truth:
Your hustle has no place here. And please stop letting society kid you into thinking that it does.
Before you read further, please know that I am also probably the most goal-oriented individual you have ever met. And, despite what I am currently leading you to believe, I crush my goals. (Like, stomp on them like Napa Valley grapes, friends.) However, I am no longer willing to live my outside life out of alignment with my innermost values and beliefs just so my social media comments can give me accolades. Life is too short to live for an app. Repeat that if it fuels your soul.
As we settle into today's work, it might be helpful to read our previous post: Goal Setting in the New Year: Halving Our Expectations in a Pandemic. Here are three additional tips for goal setting in the middle of a pandemic (assuming that you have already cut your expectations for yourself in half).
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Assess your Life Plan.
Okay, I am going to admit, this one is deep and it takes some time. For starters, if you don't have a life plan, you're going to have to back this train up and getcha one. If you don't have any ever-loving clue what I am talking about, I recommend Creating a Life Plan, by the goal setting guru himself, Michael Hyatt.
In short, a life plan envelops a strategic overview of your life by asking you to determine how you are going to, in essence, "show up" and be an active participant in various facets of your life. We discussed one essential part of a life plan in our last post. How do we want to be remembered by those who matter most? Most life plans are comprised of outcomes, priorities and action plans that will ensure that how we live on the outside is in alignment with who we are on the inside.
While there are templates available that support the development of a life plan, if you have never done one before, I recommend that this be done in a quiet space where you have uninterrupted time. If you have the ability, you might consider creating your life plan during an overnight or weekend retreat. This will ensure that what you are creating is, indeed, done thoughtfully and prayerfully so that your end result speaks to what you truly want to become (notice I didn't say do) in your one crazy, beautiful life.
If you do indeed have a life plan, it's time to assess. How are you feeling about various aspects of your life? Where are you in each of the following domains: physical, spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional, vocational, avocational, marital, familial and financial? Give yourself a score of 1-10 in each domain. Which area needs more attention? Where are you currently thriving and why?
Choose 2-3 focal points
Using the information from above, it's now time to hone in on where you want to prioritize your time in the new year. For example, if you find yourself thriving physically due to consistent daily rhythms of movement and healthy eating habits, perhaps that doesn't need to be an additional focal point in the new year. If you already have healthy habits, just keep doing those! If you take weekly date nights with your spouse and you find that your communication is open and transparent, good for you! Continue with those rhythms, but don't spend too much time overanalyzing what can be improved if you are already thriving in a few domains. Remember, if everything is important, nothing is important in goal setting, friends!
There may be a few domains where your life score falls short. Focus on those. Perhaps you realize that while you are thriving at work, you no longer spend time each week doing what you truly enjoy. When was the last time you went to a painting class (which you love) or participated in a book study with like-minded women? It could be that while your family is thriving, you have given little thought to your financials as you say yes to the next round of dance obligations or baseball commitments for the kids. Hone in on where healthier rhythms need to be developed. These domains will be the focal points for your goals.
Make your goals SMART
Now that you have 2-3 focal points based on your assessment of various life domains, it's time to set your goals. I recommend doing this following the SMART goal formula. Vague and unmeasurable goals simply do not get accomplished, friends. For example, while it's great to say, "Lose 10 pounds," which is, indeed, a measurable goal, I have no idea how I am going to get there. Getting clear, timebound, and specific about not only the what, but the how and the when, will ensure that our goals are focused. Here is what to look for when creating SMART goals:
S - Is the goal specific?
M - Is the goal measurable?
A - Is the goal achievable?
R - Is the goal relevant?
T - Is the goal time-bound?
Rather than "Lose 10 pounds," perhaps we say, "Go the gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 a.m. every week for six weeks." That is very specific. I can measure whether or not I go to the gym on those days at that specific time. I could say it's achievable if I am continuing to work from home, I know my spouse will be the kids, and I set my alarm 30 minutes earlier each day in order to make it happen. It is relevant if it is in alignment with one of my life domains that needs support, and there is a vision for my overall health and well-being in the life plan I created above. It is time-bound. I have six weeks to accomplish this goal. The end result? I will most likely have lost 10 pounds and feel better and healthier as a whole.
Quality over Quantity
The biggest takeaway when creating our goals is to value the quality of our goals over the quantity of them. We don't need a list of 20 goals to become a better version of ourselves in 2021. We need more thoughtful, more intentional goals in alignment with our core values, beliefs and needs. By assessing our life plan, identifying 2-3 areas of focus and creating SMART goals, we can eliminate the need to grind and instead go about conquering our goals in an unhurried and intentional way that is loving rather than self-deprecating when we miss a day at the gym. What really matters at the end of our life? Who have we truly become?
Linger a Little Longer:
1. What do you think of the words "hustle" and "grind"? How have they influenced your new year in the past?
2. Do you have a life plan? Does it seem daunting to consider?
3. What does it mean to you to create unhurried and intentional goals rather than moving forward at break-neck pace? How could this shift in mental energy serve you as you strive forward into this new year?