I’m a nerd – goal setting 101

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When I was 18 I worked for athletic apparel company, Lululemon Athletica. I had the gift of working with wildly colourful people AND I got to wear yoga pants and trainers to work – score! The main thing I took away from working with Lulu was how to set goals. I’d write SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time- bound) goals around my 1 year, 3 year and 5 year aims. It’s interesting to look back on what was important when I was 18. I was way more focused on owning property and stuff. I’m in the process of revamping my goals for the next little while and thought it might be helpful to share some steps in case the idea appeals to others.

1. First, think about what your life looks like in 5-10 years (pick one timeframe). Write down personal, career and health headings. Make some notes under each heading of what you envision, what you want. Who’s there? What would you want it to look like, feel like?

Now in a few sentences write it down as if its happened or happening. Example: I own a two bedroom flat. I make hats for dogs (or something like that). Complete this for all three headings. Personal can be relationships, friendships, mental health, physical health, wellbeing etc.

Be honest and be bold – this is for you, not for anybody else.

2. Then, under each heading write down 5 years and think about and write what you would need to do then to achieve that vision. Make sure that they are tangible and measurable goals.

3. Then, write down what you’d need to do 3 years from now to achieve that 5 year framework…then 1 year…then 8 months…then 3 months.

Suddenly, if you’re goal is own a house (an easy example) – you have a road map of how the $50 you save each month is adding up to your deposit/downpayment. Or taking out a small loan to pay it back in full to build credit so you can get a mortgage. Or researching property value and demographics for up and coming neighbourhoods! It all counts. We are all looking for patterns to feel like me make progress – sometimes reminding yourself that small acts add up to a bigger more meaningful gain can help you feel motivated and accomplished. Also, if your goals change….THAT’S FINE. That’s more than fine. That’s human. (If you want more details or a worksheet go here).

If I was still holding myself to the rigor of my 18 year old Nancy’s goals, I’d probably be a very unhappy musician. You change. You grow, so do your goals. Making time for yourself to think about what you want, what inspires you or where you could go if nothing held you back is exciting and freeing. Don’t view it as a series of tick boxes, but rather an informed guideline meant to help you distill and create your best life with people who challenge and inspire you in the right ways.

I’m finding it really interesting and hard to think about what I want next. Partially because my life has changed so much. My career has changed a few times over and I’m only 29. I don’t know if this helps you, but try it. Even for one year from now. Christmas 2016 – what will you have embarked upon? Wishing you and your loved ones a very festive holiday season – a prosperous New Year and many cups of tea with those you love.

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