Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year, New List

 Ah the first post of the new year - the post where I'm supposed to talk about what an awesome year last year was and how I'm so pumped for this one. And those things are true!

However, I can't help but harbour a tiny wee bit of cynicism for those posts - I don't know why. Perhaps I'm just a wee bit cynical about everything. Maybe it's the overt "cheeriness" and optimism that gets me, not to mention how humorous I find the flurry of "life-fixing" activity that occurs at the beginning of January - everyone jumps on the diet and lifestyle change bandwagon and sets ridiculously lofty goals for themselves, basically setting themselves up for failure.

I do think setting goals is important (I wrote about them here and here, after all), but I tend to be of the non self-disciplined persuasion so I generally need a bit of a kick in the pants to not only make goals, but actually fulfill them. Even so, there is no denying the importance of writing down or at least envisioning where you want to go, even if we're talking only in the next year. I think we all want to grow and improve in some way but this improvement is not likely to ever happen unless we put effort in.

I definitely believe in always improving and growing and trying to get the most out of life that one can. I just don't believe anyone should be a 'slave' to their goals or their lists. It's important to put pressure on yourself but to also cut yourself some slack.

I took a leap with my goal-cynical self and signed up for the 30-Day Push Challenge. The program is run by Chalene Johnson, who is a well-known fitness and lifestyle guru (remember TurboJam?). The idea is that you get an email from Chalene every day with a specific task you have to complete and a link to a video and post that provides some comments and advice regarding how to get the most out of each task. There is also a Facebook group where anyone doing the challenge is encouraged to post their tasks and any other thoughts or questions they have throughout the process.

Generally I am skeptical about "motivational" and "self-help" programs like this, but there was no cost to me, I like Chalene, and I thought perhaps it couldn't hurt to have some support in setting some goals for the year. I have been enjoying the Facebook group - it is definitely motivating to hear others' goals as well as their reservations - it makes you feel like you're not alone in the process.

One of the first tasks was to create a list of top 10 goals, based on your 3 main priorities (i.e. the things in life you will not compromise on). These goals are supposed to be things that, if you accomplished them in the next year, you would be absolutely ecstatic - you're not supposed to think about how realistic each goal is - if you want to see it happen, it goes on the list! Anyway, I thought I would share mine with you:

TOP 3 PRIORITIES: *this is something I think a lot of people don't really take the time to think about - I think many of us just know, but I'd be willing to bet that if asked to write them down, you would have trouble putting them into words! Try it!*
1. Constantly learning and growing
2. Being there for my family
3. Financial security and comfort.

TOP 10 GOALS FOR 2013:
1. Get a new job, ideally in the University where I currently work that pays $10,000+ per year more than I am making now and allows me to use my communication/pr skills
2. Apply for and/or start a Masters Program
3. Gain more PR experience to add to my resume
4. Pay off then get rid of one of my credit cards
5. Take a couple of trips with my boyfriend and/or friends
6. Develop a more regular fitness routine (a minimum of 30 minutes of activity each day)
7. Make an effort to eat more fresh vegetables and eat less sugar
8. Gain at least two more freelance writing clients
9. Push myself to be more outgoing and social at work
10. Reduce stress by developing strategies to worry less, be more patient, more in the moment and use better time-management

In addition to these overall goals, I would also like to spend more time on creative pursuits - more specifically, I'd like to spend a min. of 2 hours per week on something artistic, whether that is a drawing or painting, a craft, or playing the piano. I would also like to get back into going for a hike with my boyfriend once per week - we did really well with this for most of last year, but have been pretty lazy the past few months. These are both items that are stress-relievers, ways to spend quality time (with myself and my boyfriend) and they also tie in with many of my top goals.

Who knows if I'll end up sticking with these goals, but I guess the important thing is that I am putting thought into my future and on improving myself and that never hurts! Really the key to achieving goals (imho) is having a positive attitude and support - I've got the support, so if I can keep the cynicism at bay, I'll be crossing items off this list in no time!

What are your thoughts about goal-setting? What things would you like to accomplish this year?


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