Two years ago, my husband and I hit a panicky moment where we looked at our lives and said, "Nope. Not what we envisioned."
Too much work.
And yet not enough learning about life and who we were becoming.
Not enough time with friends.
Mindless shuttling from place to place.
Too many screens.
Not enough art and music and theater.
Too much concrete.
A hunger to be in nature.
A yearning to make a bigger impact on the world.
We were grateful for all we had—two healthy (and hilarious) children, a supportive community and a rock-solid relationship—but we were on autopilot and we knew it.
We sat down in December that year with some wine, paper and post-its to build out a vision of how we wanted this whole thing called life to look. We dared to say some of our seemingly silly and audacious wants out loud, having no idea how we would accomplish them. It was a beautiful relief to use our creative muscles while believing we could have EXACTLY what we wanted. We used these goals as guideposts for the coming year and while we weren’t able to accomplish everything—we carried the remaining items and themes into our longer-term life vision. We know where we’re going, for now.
Since then, I’ve honed my process for goal setting and planning that I’m sharing in my Working Mother Masterclass 2018 Planner. I’ve also highlighted my top tips here, so you can get started right now!
1. Acknowledge Your 2017
Before you get to work creating your 2018, you must put 2017 to bed with a proper farewell. By putting your past in the past, you open up more room to create new and exciting opportunities for the year ahead. I like to do this by writing a forgiveness letter to yourself for all that did and didn’t happen. Then, make a list of your 2017 accomplishments. It could be as big as "Landed a promotion!" or "Won the Hamilton Lottery." Or as small as, "Exercised today."
2. Figure out the "why" behind each goal
When you get clear on why your goals are important to you AND you bring some emotion to that why—you’re more likely to persevere during the tough parts of trying to accomplish your goal. One of my goals for 2018 is to turn off my phone between 6:30 and 8PM (or at least hide it in my bedroom!) every night. Why? So that my kids feel I’m there for them AND focused on them during that daily time we have together. Remembering the feeling I want to help create for my girls is what will help me break free of the magnetic force of my device.
3. Break big goals into small steps and figure out your first one!
Before getting overwhelmed by your big goals, try to remember that they are simply lots of little goals strung together. Spread your milestones out over the course of the months in the year so you can begin to visualize how you will build toward what seemed like an unthinkable goal. Once you set your goals, leverage the momentum, energy and excitement you have for that goal RIGHT NOW. Decide on what your first step will be, no matter how tiny and schedule it ASAP! The sooner you begin, the sooner you will begin to believe that you’re actually doing this!
If this is the first time you’re getting intentional about your year—welcome! You’ll never want to do it another way again. The more clear you can get about how you want your life to look, the closer you are to making it so.
You can use my free Working Mother Masterclass 2018 Planner (good for both parents and non-parents!), pen and paper, or create your own 2018 spreadsheet. No matter what you choose, get planning now so you can start the New Year focused, fresh and ready to begin!