Change Your Life In 2018 - March Challenge: Goal-Setting

If you’re just joining in, the “Change Your Life In 2018” series is my quest to make some small changes this year.  Rather than setting easily forgotten resolutions I wanted to focus on 12 changes that would help me learn and grow as a person.  I’ve chosen to focus on one change per month so that it could not only become a more manageable goal, but I have a better chance at making these new habits as well.  I hope you’ll join me in the challenge!

You're working on letting go (January) of things from the past as well as consciously being aware of the need to let go as things arise.  Letting go of the past allows you to put your focus on the here-and-now and begin outlining what you want for your future.  If you aren't completely clear on what you want in the future (profession, hobby, volunteer work, financial status, etc.), I have outlined some fairly easy exercises here (February).  Now it's time to get to our goals!

Goal setting is fairly easy, we do it everyday.  Daily goals are constantly created such as getting a specific task done by the end of the day, an accomplishment for the week, or creating a "to do" list that is checked off as goals are accomplished.

Goals should be somewhat fluid, as they may change or pieces of the goal may change as our lives evolve.  Because of this, it's nice to revisit them frequently and assess whether or not any pieces of them, or the entire goal, should be adjusted.

When we set goals they are most often fairly safe.  And that's perfectly fine!  What we often forget to set, however, is a monster goal or two.  Monster goals are hard to set because we often shy away from them out of fear.  Fear of failing to even come close to achieving them.  Fear that others will find the goals ridiculous.  Fear that we aren't worthy.    
(spoiler alert - you ARE worthy!)

A Word (or two) About Failure
What is failure?  In general terms, it's lack of success.  If we try something and we don't complete it as we'd planned, most times it's not an actual failure (although our first thought is that it is).  Instead, we often learn valuable lessons that we needed to learn, or we adjust the goal so although we didn't meet the original goal, the one we did meet was a better fit in the long run.

There are also times we deem a goal a failure because we stopped trying to reach it once it became uncomfortable.  We gave up when it got tough instead of realizing that if it was comfortable to meet this goal, well, then everyone would do it.

When you realize you're fearful of something you should stop and figure out what you're actually afraid of.  Once you've determined what it is you can then assess wither or not a change of perspective would allow you to move forward.

"Face your fears with the truth, that they are all in your mind, and they will lose their power over you".   - Jen Sincero, author

Setting Goals
Think of goals as wishes with structure.  When you wish for something, you don't necessarily share it with others.  With goals, you typically either write them down or tell someone (or, ideally, both) which gives it structure and provides you something to be motivated toward achieving. 

You should always make sure that any goal you set is a SMART goal.

SMART goal:
Specific – What is your goal? Is it specific enough or is it too broad? What needs to be done for you to achieve your goal? Why do you want to reach your goal?
Measurable – How can you measure your progress? How will you know if you’re on track?
Attainable – Can your goal actually be achieved?
Realistic/relevant – Can you achieve your goal? Is the goal worth it?
Time – What’s your time frame for reaching your goal?

Action plan:
- Take out a piece of paper - write out the goals you can think of.  Include long-term (2 year, 5 year, 10 year), and short-term (as short as tomorrow if applicable).
- Add to this list as you think of additional goals.
- Think of career, financial, lifestyle, spiritual, etc.
- Make your goals visible (post-it notes, something put on the wall or refrigerator, notes in your planner, vision board, pop-ups on your phone, etc.)
- Go public.  One of the best ways of holding yourself to working toward a goal is by sharing it with others.  This way, not only will you find support that you need as the going gets tough, you will also feel more accountable to achieving it.

Chunking Your Goals Down
Goals are much easier to focus on, and therefore achieve, if broken down into manageable pieces.  You're more apt to try and achieve them because they don't feel so overwhelming. 

Have you ever thought of organizing your basement?  It's common to look at the large space and think "where do I start?????" before quietly shutting the door and moving on to something else that seems more manageable.  This is exactly what happens when we don't chunk a goal down - we close the door and forget about it.

Instead, we could have chunked the goal of cleaning the basement down like this:
Goal: Get basement organized this month
     Week 1: spend 4 hours sorting into 3 piles - "keep", "give away/sell", "throw away"
     Week 2: spend 4 hours doing the same
     Week 3: throw away the "throw away" pile; give away or box to sell the "give away/sell" pile (and set a plan/date to sell.....)
      Week 4: spend 4 hours organizing the "keep" pile

 I like to chunk down goals by working backward.  If I have a 10 year goal of, let's say, paying off my mortgage, then I need to figure out how much extra I need to pay each year for the next 10 years in order to achieve that.  If I have a 1 year goal of changing careers, then I would work backward to determine an action plan for each month (and possibly each week) of what I need to do in order to make the switch.

Action plan: 
Take each of your goals and work backward to determine what you need to do annually, monthly, and/or weekly to achieve it.

Monster Goal
Everyone's monster goal will look different.  For some, getting in the best shape of their life (be specific and outline what that means) will be their monster goal.  For others, it may be to be completely debt free (including no mortgage).  While others, it may be to start and own a multi-million dollar company.

Action plan:
Write down at least one monster goal.  Make it something you really REALLY want and be specific - chunking it down as you did your previous goals.

Track Your Goals
You should be looking at your goals daily (it takes a bit but will become habit).  If you've fallen off track, be nice to yourself.  Pick yourself up, figure out how you can get back on track, and work toward that goal!  If a goal needs adjustment, adjust as needed.

Rewards are a good idea too.  Small rewards when you hit a large goal will keep you moving toward it.  Sometimes, the actual goal is reward enough (such as paying down debt because it means you'll eventually have more money available).

What are some of your 2018 goals?  What tips have you found helpful in working toward and achieving your own goals?

Next month’s topic is: Changing Your Routine

Find the introduction to the series here: 12 Things You Can Do To Change Your Life In 2018
Find January's challenge here:  Letting Go Of Regrets
Find February's challenge here: Figure Out What To Do With Your Life



  1. You put so much thought into your posts. It's wonderful the way you break things down for us, as getting a "visual" often makes things easier to achieve.
    I have just landed my dream job, and I am working toward expanding that. So excited to keep the good stuff coming our way!

    Be Blissed!

  2. Daisy - thank you so much. And CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I am so happy for you!


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