Okay, you guys, I just gotta say it, I adore the new year! As a girl who collects calendars, notebooks, and self-improvement techniques, I never miss an opportunity to evaluate and readjust my life path. Whether it be reflecting on past situations, celebrating the present, or planning for the future, I take an extreme interest in my destiny and how I can shape it.
In 2017 I will be sharing a lot of my life management tools; from classic mom techniques, lessons learned, time management tips and more. This post is about my end of year reflection process, an essential component of setting goals.
The beginning of the year is a wonderful time to return to center. Whatever you want to call it. Your roots. Your true self. Taking the time to remember what it is you want from your life. It’s the time to really address the mistakes we made and to plan how we will avoid those same mistakes in the next year.
Reflecting on the Year
Write it Down
I write down anything I want to remember. Typing is faster, and excellent for brain dumps and creative bursts, but for personal things that I really need to embed in my brain? Write it down. Here’s why:
One. The feeling of the blank notebook. The potential there. The words unsaid.
Two. Writing down anything is so much more effective than thinking about it. Our brain is magnificent at forgetting thoughts as quickly as we think them. When we use both sides of our brain to remember something, as we do when taking notes, we are much better at retaining the information. Best part, when you don’t remember, you have it written down.
Three. But if you’re a stoner? There is no excuse for not writing things down. And if you’re a stoner over the age of thirty, then you truly have no business thinking you can get by with just your brain. You are not a computer. You need a system.
Reflection exercises work well in notebooks or day planners, so you can reassess them as the year progresses. I always have a Moleskin notebook in rotation. Moleskin notebooks come in a few different paper types outside of blank and ruled. I use the square or dot paper so I can make grids easily.
5 Prompts to help you Reflect
- What were my wins from 2016?
- What were my fails from 2016?
- What was the one thing that really worked. Like really, really, worked. Worked so well that it will be a focus for 2017.
- What did I spend too much time on?
- What caught me unprepared in 2016?
Setting Goals that Stoners can Achieve
Decision Making & the Purpose of Goals
Goals have a purpose. They serve as mile markers when traversing on your life path. They also drastically improve your ability to make decisions. When you know what the end goal is, you can hold every decision up to it, and choose the one that will get you closer to that goal. If you find yourself wondering how to spend your time on a random free afternoon, pull out your to-do list and ask yourself which of these tasks will get me closer to my goal when completed?
SMART Goals & the Importance of Verbs
What are goals? What separates a goal from a wish? The action plan is the difference between a goal and a wish. An action plan is the sum of tasks necessary to complete to get the desired result. And, it’s filled with verbs. Action words. Get this. Call her. Sort that. Because you have to take action to reach your goals, and if that action is not is not planned, how will you know what to work on first?
In the life management world, there is the concept of SMART goals. A SMART goal is:
Measurable (how will you know when you have reached your goal. What does halfway look like?)
Actionable (or achievable. You need to be able to do it.)
Those are the suggested characteristics of an effective goal and are a good starting place for those new to life planning. Additionally, I have my own criteria that I run my goals through:
- It needs a verb. Verbs are action words; finish, complete, sort, ask, become, watch, learn.
- Visualize the outcome. Visualization is a powerful exercise. What will this completed goal look like in your life? Be very intentional in what you want.
- What is the action plan that will get you to the outcome you want? Sketch it out on paper, brain dump style. It doesn’t have to look nice, and once it’s figured out you can organize it in a more visually appealing way.
The takeaway here is that when you keep goals vague, they are just hopes. A vague hope offers no guidance and relies on luck to come true. A goal has a realistic path with steps to take to achieve a goal.
Using a Single Word to Help Decision Making
Because goals can be so difficult to keep at the forefront of one’s mind, and because some don’t enjoy precise goal setting, it is extremely helpful to brainstorm one word or phrase that represents how you want to approach the upcoming year. It’s a word that should be meaningful to you. You should be able to visualize what that word looks like in action, within the context of your own life.
In 2016 my word was Focus. And so as choices popped up I could evaluate clearly by holding them up to my word:
Is this something I should be focusing on?
How can I approach this situation with focus?
Does this action get me closer to my goal of living a focused year?
The Stoner Mom’s Goals & Word(s) for 2017
2013 was leap
2014 was rebirth
2015 was normalize
2016 was focus
This year I am compelled to work on two things I have neglected for the past few years. In 2017 I will be focusing on my relationships and my consistency.
This might surprise you since I am so obviously in love with my stinking husband and awesome kids, but I’m not good at making friends. Yes, along with social anxiety, a chip on my shoulder, and my seeming coldness, I also have the tendency to avoid all relationships outside of my marriage and close family.
But in 2016 I felt alone. My own insecurities were preventing me from sharing enough of my Stoner Mom issues with David, and outside of that, I didn’t have friends that rooted for me. I saw that I’m a giver, not an asker. So I broke down one day and told David how alone I felt, and he lifted the burden by joining me. And in the relief that his support gave me, I realized how badly I need relationships more like the one I have with David. Where I get just as much as I give.
And so this year I want to focus on establishing new relationships with amazing people in my real life. And online, I want to focus on nurturing my relationship with my followers.
Ah, the one thing my life lacks. I want my weeks to be consistent. More than anything else I want to feel the security of knowing where I will be and what I will be doing, week after week. I want this for myself, my family, and my followers. This will by far be the most challenging for me but I do think it fits well with my other focus of relationships. Relationships are about building trust, and the only way to do that is to be consistent in my efforts, my support, my interest, my love.
In addition to my annual focus word, I have some specific goals I would like to accomplish by the end of next year.
Goals for 2017
Medicate with Intent
Grow YouTube Audience to 50k subscribers (currently at 17k)
Publish a blog post every week for a minimum of 52 posts in 2017
Post consistently on Instagram
Prepare for Summer with three months of content, ready to go
Have website looked at by a developer
Go out with a friend once a month
Makeover hair. The gray hath begun. Thanks Obama.
I’m feeling good about this year. I’m optimistic, because as I’ve said, you get what you give, and I think I’ve given a lot. I hope you found this post helpful, and that I’ve helped someone find balance in their life by establishing the metrics needed to track it. Remember to be specific about your life and your year. This is our only one.