I like goals, but I often times suck at following through. I like planning and I have no problem with ideas of what I want to accomplish, but what I’ve learned is that I’m not very good at completing goals that span a long period of time.
At the beginning of 2011 I went through a fabulous goal setting process and I had a wonderful plan for the year. And, 2011 finished with my attention and accomplishments in a completely different direction.
I finally learned that I can’t make goals for a year! It’s just too long of a time frame for me. Too many things change, both internally and externally. Planned goals don’t leave much space for my need to sometimes pause (or hibernate), which I know is a very important part of my creative process.
I do value the focus of a goal. And, I think it’s important to know where you want to go and take conscious action towards that future. However, the long term goals I set were creating stress and anxiety in me when I felt myself start to veer in a different direction. Not a great byproduct of a goal!
So with all this in mind, I tried it differently this year. I decided that in 2012 I would go month by month.
I know that research has shown that it takes 28 to 30 days of repetition to make something a habit, so the monthly time frame made sense.
I decided to focus on one or two things each month that I wanted to make different in my life. That seemed completely doable and exactly the right amount of time. I also decided to focus on something I wanted to make a habit of.
For January I chose to focus on adding in daily physical movement and tracking what I was eating. Part of this is in response to the interesting things that menopause has done to my body, and part is simply because I wanted to become more conscious and mindful about my body.
It’s now the beginning of February. I’m keeping the body related items from January because, even though in the beginning they required substantial effort, they actually bring me joyful pleasure now. They became a very fulfilling habit. Cool, right?!
I’ve decided that for February I’m going to add in a focus of daily meditation.
If you were to focus on one or two things for February, what would they be? How do you bring goals into your life? What works for you? Can you hold the long term vision, or does this smaller chunk idea appeal to you?