How has your new year been going so far? Are you excited about the opportunity to do something new or better this year? Or do you feel overwhelmed by the pressure to have a resolution, set a goal, improve yourself in some way?
I have to admit, I’ve fallen into the second category this year. I typically love to set goals. I love the excitement of a fresh start. A blank page. A new adventure.
But this year, I started out tired and grumpy. I didn’t really want to think about adding anything to a life that already feels like it’s crammed so full I can barely keep track of everything. However, during the past week, I’ve slowly been getting back to my old self and gaining some energy about the idea of trying to add order, vision and goals into my life.
I was reading one of my Super Smart People blogs the other day, and I came across a post by Michael Hyatt. He wrote about how he maps out his ideal week. Instead of setting goals for the week to take him to an end result, he works the other way. He paints a picture of what his week would look like if everything went perfectly. He then works backward to determine what he needs to do to get to that end result. (My friend, Lara, wrote about this idea here this week, too.)
I was both intrigued and frightened by this concept. But I really wanted to give it a try.
I was overwhelmed at first. It felt like creating a budget. It seems we never have enough money to do all the things we want to do. I didn’t want to look at my calendar and feel the same way about my time.
As I looked at the squares representing each day, I wondered how I would be able to find space to do all the things I want to do:
- Grow spiritually and mentally.
- Improve my health through consistent exercise and better meal planning.
- Improve in using my talents and explore areas of interest.
- Be a better wife and mother to our four kids.
- Meet my goals in my job, while only working 20-30 hours a week.
- Reach out to other people and grow in relationships.
- Improve in my role as the primary house cleaner and cook.
- Help our kids grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
- Be present and active in all of the sports, activities and other pursuits of our kids.
“There’s no way,” I thought. “It’s just too much.”
Surprisingly, though, the opposite was true. I was actually able to add everything to my calendar and still have plenty of “me” time (in green), as well as blank space that is open for whatever. (I know much of that white space will be filled with basketball games, gymnastics meets and baseball, but still… At least it’s open!)
Here’s what I found by creating my perfect week on paper:
1. If I stick to the plan, I should have enough time to do the things I want to do, plus the margin I’m seeking to enjoy life more this year.
2. It has helped me stay on task. By scheduling the time I will go for walks, clean the house and even take a break, I don’t feel like I should be doing something else during that time.
3. It has given me more freedom. I have a somewhat flexible work schedule (I work from home several days a week), which is a huge blessing. It’s also tempting to work too much. By keeping my perfect week in front of my, it’s a good reminder to shut down my computer and move on to something else.
I’m only a few days in, but I’m really loving this approach to planning my days. (You can download Michael Hyatt’s template for creating an ideal week here.)
So, tell me… Do you enjoy setting goals or do you avoid them? Are you doing anything differently this year that is helping you reach your goals? I would love to hear how your year is going so far. (Thank you so much for all of your comments here on my blog and over on my Facebook page.)