Self development

Setting up my 2019 goals with SMART strategy (updated with results in 2020)

At the time of writing this post, I was super optimistic regarding the upcoming 2019. Being self-development enthusiast, I really enjoy planning my future, love setting up goals of the year, and exchanging my future ideas with others. For the upcoming 2019, I had set up 50 personal goals which were divided into 4 categories:

– Career goals,
– Physical appearance goals,
– Habits/ self-development/ skills
– Life improvement goals.

Part of the goals had been on my list for years and some of them were created on the spot. I have to admit, the whole goal set up made me very excited for the upcoming year!

“Perfect me” plan

Setting up the life improvement goals was the easiest part as it included ‘nice to haves’’ and simple goals which I wanted for myself. Some of them were indeed materialistic such as purchasing my own apartment or travelling to 5 new countries. Basically, those were the things I want to happen and should plan for them to happen.

As I wanted to keep moving to minimalist lifestyle, I created a goal to get rid of 100 belongings I no longer need. I chose to carefully write down everything I ever get rid of, as it really helps to keep myself motivated.

Self-take care or physical appearance goals were meant to solve my physical flaws. As most of the people I want to be healthy and physically appealing, so I decided to set the goals in a way that I could measure my efforts not the results. I did a little action plan for my hair improvement for example: find and try 6 different oil masks, try mesotherapy at least once, spend 6 hours researching tips and tricks to improve your hair. Eventually I expected my hair to be healthier and shinier, but as I could only control the efforts I put, I planned it this way.

I also wanted to improve my shape and go jogging more often in addition to the gym and lose the extra fat I have been carrying around (hem, hem, since a few years). The previous year I had a goal to run 5 km at once (for me it is hardly possible, I am not used to running at all and have no patience for it) and I failed as I went running, ran 2 km and gave up. This year I created the running goal more accountable, setting up the total amount of kilometers I have to run within the year (50 km). It was much better formulated in my opinion and I could hardly imagine myself failing at the task, because it can be divided into 50 or even 100 short runs and has the finite result, so the more I run, the faster I achieve this goal, mark it as done and forget about it!

I wanted to do more yoga, so I found this 30 day yoga challenge and simply made a goal to do yoga 60 times within the year.

Bad habits are hard to lose, good habits are hard to train. How to form your goals properly when you are trying to get rid of a bad habit .

New habits nurturing has been a tough task for me, as most of the desired habits I have already failed to reach years before. Those included:

  • eating less sugar (even eliminating sugar from my life),
  • eating less dairy,
  • walking more in the nature,
  • eating Chia seeds regularly,
  • writing my diary in order to register memories,
  • don’t read news (I will review the damage news does to people in my later blog),
  • exercising my eyes.

When I looked at the previous goals, I realized they were rather abstract and not measurable. For example, a goal ‘to eat less sugar’ is hard to account, so I used the strategy to put everything in time measurements. The habit goals for the year went as follows:

  • eating less sugar – have 104 sugar free days,
  • eating less dairy – have 100 dairy free days,
  • walk more in the nature – have 100 walks in the nature (counts when it is 10 + minutes),
  • eat Chia seeds regularly – to eat the whole pack of Chia I have at home (it was around 500 grams),
  • write my diary – write my diary 250 times per year,
  • do not read news – have 300 news -free days.

As you can see, I avoided ‘every day’ commitment on purpose. I knew there would be days I want to read the news as something very important will happen or I will simply have a bad day and want nothing more just entertainment (I consider news as entertainment, as these days media is all about clicks and negativity). I knew there will be days I am so tired I want to go to bed and do not wish to write my diary. With no sugar challenge, it was tough, as I felt I have the least control in this matter (I eat a lot of sweets at work through various occasions). So, I started with 104 days challenge. Those days could not be in sequence, but they should be completely added sugar free.

The skills section was set up as mini project:

  • spend 80 hours learning Spanish,
  • spend 80 hours learning French,
  • make 15 new meals,
  • spend 20 hours learning photography,
  • spend 5 hours learning time management.
  • I also wanted to practise photography more, so I wrote the task to do 25 gallery worth pictures, although I have doubts whether it is a SMART goal.

What it seemed as the longest project of all – read 20 books. Yes, when I put majority of my goals in time measurements, I did not imagine what would be the number of hours spent on reading 20 books (I later accounted that it could have been close to 150 hours).

My career goals were set up according to the very same principles and they were projected to be long term ones as well.

The progress

After the goal setting, I was super excited, I was sure that this year is the year where I will have at least 40 of goals achieved (I am realistic)! Everything was clear and as the major tasks as learn a language seemed less difficult as I saw that I could spend 1-2 hours per week and slowly move forward! I took a workbook and started writing everyday what I did towards my tasks. As almost everything was set up in time framing it was clear that I needed to work on my goals EVERY SINGLE FREE HOUR I HAVE FROM WORK and I even need to take some extra time off to catch up!

Therefore, I failed previous times I guess – not imagining the amount of time I need to devote in order to have things I want: health, wealth, fluency in French, etc. Now it is different and I am ready for my 2019 victory!

The Results (updated in 2020)

Well, I am rather happy about the results, but the numbers of achieved goals are not super satisfactory: I managed to achieve 20 out of 50 goals. There were 5 goals where were almost done, but lacked some time (if only the year were longer).

I am particularly happy that I managed to achieve the following:

  • spend 80 hours learning french (it was great reviving my knowledge and I feel I improved a lot),
  • read 20 books (I got a new habit to read before breakfast),
  • 104 sugar free days (it was not that hard! I even had to make the goal higher and ended up with 134 sugar free days ;))
  • run 50 kilometers (started running more often, therefore I reached the goal in summer, so probably it was too easy. Should have set up a 100 kilometers challenge),
  • 100 walks in the nature (I also started walking much more),
  • even though I failed reaching up my diary writing goal, I began a new practice: writing down all the compliments and nice things I hear from others. It’s super fun and helps me concentrate on the positive in my life. I must say, I have never realized how often I am complimented for various reasons before starting to write down it all!
  • I lacked a few days to reach my news free days goal, but I believe for the first 3 quarters of the year I almost got rid of this habit! 

So far, I believe it was the best strategy I have ever had, and I am definitely going to use it again in the future. But next time, I will have less goals on my list: having less ‘nice to haves’ and adding more ‘must dos’ :).

What strategies do you use for your goal setting? 🙂

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