Are you ready?
It is time to start talking Goal Crushing 2020! A new decade presents the perfect time to begin working toward new dreams. And while I know it seems hard and big and scary, I encourage you to take some time over the next few days to really think about where you want to be at the close of this decade. What in your life would you like to change, shift or evolve? What are your dreams and your goals for the next decade?
Over the next few days, I invite you to join me on a Goal Crushing journey. Step one is to get yourself a 2020 Goal Crushing Notebook (your GC Notebook). Any notebook will do, though I prefer something spiral-bound and about 6 by 9 inches. But truly, any notebook will do.
This Goal Crushing plan has 9 steps. You don’t have to do them all at once. In fact, you probably shouldn’t because you may have to give your mind time to percolate. But you do need to work through them, preferably in order. Ready?
Here. We. Go.
1. Paint a Picture of Where You Want to Be in Ten Years. Close your eyes and picture yourself living the life you truly, really want in ten years.
It is 2030. Yup, you are ten years older. Yup, your kids are ten years older. I know, this can be scary. This might make you cry. That’s okay, do it anyway. Push through the sad, push through any desire to keep your babies right where they are, push through any fear of change and embrace a beautiful future for yourself. Where do you live? What work do you do? How do you feel? What do you eat? What do you do for fun? What does the perfect day look like? Write it all down in as much vibrant detail as you can. This is your North Star. This is the direction to which you will aim.
2. Write Down Your Squishy Goals for the Year. These are goals you can’t measure. These are goals about how you want to feel and how you want to live. Things like “I want to get healthy” or “I want to improve my relationship with my partner” or “I want to live in a home that feels open and spacious and free of clutter” or “I want to do work that feels meaningful to me” or “I want to parent with more patience.”
Typically, we are told to identify our goals in ways that can be measured and managed — which is critical and we will get to that in a moment — but you have to start with the squishy goals. Write them down.
3. Turn Those Squishy Goals Into your 2020 M&M Goals. Now it is time to take those squishy goals and turn them into your 2020 M&M Goals: Goals that can be Measured and Managed. So you can track your progress, adjust course as necessary and celebrate the milestones and successes.
Want to get healthier? What does that mean? Completing a 10k? Losing 40 pounds? Deadlifting 200 lbs? Getting off your heart medicine? Want to grow your business? What does that mean? Earning $50,000 in 2020? $100,000? Becoming a CPA? Writing a book and doing a TED Talk (yup I wrote them down last year and guess what?).
In my experience, between 5 and 10 works best but whatever you do, no more than 10 and remember that fewer goals that are truly important to you will be far better than a slew of not-so-important-goals.
4. Create Your 2020 Action List. Now we begin to get tactical. Open to a new page in your GC Notebook, write “2020 Actions” at the top of the page and begin to brainstorm all of the steps you can take toward your 2020 Goals. Big ones and little ones. But, they must all be things that you can actually do, whether buying new sneakers, registering for a 10k in May, running half a mile, enrolling in an introduction to accounting class or sending 5 sales emails every single day, write them down. Don’t include things that are outside of your control: this list should be comprised entirely of actions that you can take.
This list is going to grow throughout the year because often taking one action leads to other actions. This will be a living, breathing, growing list. Have fun with this.
5. Establish Your January Goals. Turn to a fresh page in your GC Notebook and write “January” at the top of the page in big, bold letters. Write down your January goals. These should be smaller pieces of your bigger goals. They should be aggressive, but doable. You will NOT lose 40 pounds in January, but you could lose 5. You might not close $20,000 in new business, but maybe you could close $2,000. You will not Mari Kondo your entire house (well, you probably won’t) but you could do your kids’ closets. You get the idea. No more than 5 goals for the month.
6. Plan Your January Action List. Next, on another fresh page, make a list of all of the actions you can take in January to crush your January goals. Yup, this will likely include some of the action items on your 2020 Action List and this list, like the 2020 Action List, will be a work in progress. Once again, big and small and only those actions you have the power to take.
7. “I’m the Kind of Person Who.” There’s so much being written these days about the importance of self-talk. And there is huge value to this: we need to talk to ourselves in a kind, supportive and positive way. We need to be our own biggest cheerleaders. We need to be AT LEAST as kind to ourselves as we are to the other people we love. But this is a bit amorphous for me. So I go about it a bit differently. The refrain I strive to keep in my head is “I’m the kind of person who … goes to the gym … speaks kindly to my husband … eats vegetables … walks in the rain … focuses on the most important things … doesn’t gossip.” Take a moment and, on a clean piece of paper in your GC Notebook, write “I’m the kind of person who” at the top of the page and make a list of the kind of person you will strive to be this year. Aim for 10 or so. And here’s the most important part: when you behave in a way that doesn’t align with the kind of person you are (and you will because none of us are perfect), forgive yourself and get back to being that person.
8. Get to Work. Wake up on January 1. Open your GC notebook. Take a moment to look at your goals and to remind yourself about the kind of person you are. Then write down your three MITs for the day. MITs are your three “Most Important Things.” These are the three actions you will take that day to move you closer to your goal. They must be things that will move the football toward the goalpost. I like to put my MITs on a little 3 by 5 card that I carry with me. One caveat — if you wake up late and hungover on January 1, it is going to be really hard to get started with the energy you need to crush big goals.
9. Get a good night’s sleep. Eat healthy food. Get up the next day and repeat. And on February 1, review your progress, write February at the top of a fresh page, write down your February goals and February actions and do not give up.
And that is how we are going to crush our 2020 goals.