I didn’t make New Year’s Resolutions last December. What I did do in 2018, for the first time ever, was set goals. I set goals in multiple sections of my life–work, parenting, marriage, friendships, hobbies and health.
I made them specific and I wrote them down. I tacked them onto a bulletin board in my office and literally kept my eye on each one every day. Every morning, I made my to-do list echo my larger goals list.
Did it work?
Mostly, yes. There is something about staring down a list of goals all the time that makes me more motivated to see them through. And there is some evidence that writing them down makes achieving goals more possible for a majority of people, at least according to this study.
So which goals did I achieve and which ones did I not achieve?
- I did well with the work goals, even hitting my stretch revenue goal.
- Friendship and marriage goals were hit, with lots of date nights, couple trips, girls nights and hosted dinners. I also took an awesome trip with my college friends.
- I did not hit my 4x a week exercise goal. Maybe it was too ambitious? In the first six months of the year I went to Orange Theory twice a week for their HIIT class, which frankly was exhausting but great. Then I got vertigo and was advised to quit any exercise on a treadmill or elliptical. Vertigo is gone, so I should be back working out.
- I incorporated a couple of bucket list items into my travel goals–we went to Machu Picchu as a couple, and Italy with the kids. We used our Starwood points and rented our house on Airbnb to help pay for everything.
- My hobbies goal was to write more, and it was kind of a bust. I didn’t blog here much. My writing goal was to add value–write things to make people think and provide useful and hard-won tips for life. I wanted to get across the value of stoicism for modern life, and its value in particular for women. That didn’t really happen.
- For politics, I gave money, made calls and wrote letters. This made me feel more in control, without spiraling into despair.
- I didn’t make a budget goal. Did this make me happier? Maybe! We didn’t overextend ourselves, we continued to pay our debt down, but we didn’t save more than our usual 401k, retirement stuff, etc. Normally we have a big savings project each year, but not this year. Food for thought….
Overall, I was really happy in 2018!
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 2018 was my favorite year ever. Yes, EVER!
Definitely, there was some good luck involved to make it my favorite year. But there were also the usual challenges and stressors. I really think the goals helped me to stay as functional and focused on happiness as possible.
For 2019 I’m going to make goals again, but I am going to try something different.
Some people choose a one word theme, but I am going to choose a mantra. Not an inspirational quote (I hate those), but something that will not only help me stay on track, but also be a better person.
My mantra for 2019 is:
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” (Nelson Mandela supposedly said this, but who knows)
I am susceptible to anxiety and fear can be the emotion that drowns out almost everything else, if I let it. By constantly reminding myself to choose hope over fear, I hope to maybe change my brain passageways. The most basic version of CBT is telling yourself that dysfunctional, fearful thoughts are not the truth. But I like the added benefit of transforming fearful thoughts into something more hopeful.
What about you? Do you make resolutions or goals? Which works best for you?