Ah, new year resolutions. A new year, a fresh start. Goals seem to be flying about all over the place, and not without every tip under the sun about how to keep them. Well, I believe there is no point in having resolutions and goals without accompanying those with a plan to achieve them.
I achieved a lot last year, but at an expense to my well-being. It was a fabulous year for me professionally, but I didn’t set myself some boundaries. Without boundaries I tend to have no sense of when enough is enough; I didn’t consistently recognise limitations to my time and energy and I didn’t set any goals for the year. Funny that. I didn’t set any goals, yet I’ve accomplished more than what I remotely thought to be possible. I just went all out, hard, with no real defined direction. I took up every opportunity that came my way. Of course, my projects and writing this blog had purpose, but I did not deliberately say to myself, “Hey, let’s aim to present at a conference this year”. Basically I saw opportunities then did whatever I could manage to seize them.
This year will be much the same, but strategically and aligned with plans, focus, direction and goals. Seizing opportunities as they are created or presented is a great trait to have, but I believe I need to reign that tendency in a little, so to not jeopardise the efforts I plan to invest in other parts of my life which I also consider important and are very dear to me.
My lessons learnt from last year has inspired me to do some planning for next year, sorry, this year. Even before the new year began, I had my first planning session. I started tweeting my planning sessions, where a request arose that I blog about my process. This introductory post, as well as in a few posts to follow, I will detail what I have done to develop to a big picture view, down to a week-to-week system of keeping projects (and new habits) on track. Plus, I’m thinking it’s a good idea to document my planning process for reference at a later date.
Now, to return to the topic of new year resolutions and goals, here are some of my thoughts. Where goals arise, a balance needs to be struck between the efforts planned to be invested into those goals and the rest of life itself. There can be more time dedicated to writing, for example, but which part of life is going to be sacrificed in order to achieve related goals?
I’ve come to understand that I can’t achieve a goal without taking time away from another part of my life. This is where determining a (very) few focus areas, I’ve found to be important. These areas are what I’ll place above all else, when push comes to shove. I need to know what my priorities are, regardless of the goals I wish to achieve.
The purpose of my planning is to define focus areas for myself, determine when my projects are and identify any times I could pursue things I’d like to.
I define or use the term ‘project’ loosely in this context, to mean any series of tasks toward a completion of something. Projects could be completing a unit in my Masters course, organising an ALIA NewGrads event, research I’d like to do and even planning my travels.
My planning aims to: -
- Look at what I can realistically achieve
- Prompt strategic thinking
- Break down goals by identifying building blocks (stepping stone projects and achievements)
- Apply lessons learnt from last year.