Reviewing my 2018 goals - My four simple steps to stay focused

Ok so the key to achieving your goals is what is commonly referred to as 'GTD', (getting things done). This term is was phrased by David Allen and his best selling book Getting Things Done. At the start of this year, along with many others, we set up our goals for 2018. I also did the same for "Tidying with Tania" working out what goals I wanted to achieve this year.  I also set up my planners for 2018 , which for me are an essential tool in achieving my goals, plus I just love love planners! It's all well and good to have these great goals however you actually need to roll up your shelves and get on with achieving them. That my friends is the biggest challenge with goals ...the doing! To help me to focus on the goals and achieving them, I do a simply review or stocktake. So how am I going? 

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You may ask "Is it not too early in the year to see how we are going?"

It is the end of the first quarter of the calendar year, and time goes quickly, so checking in now can give you enough time to make any changes to ensure you can still achieve your goals by end of the year. In fact I would recommend checking in every month or at least every quarter (three months).

We don't want to make this a big deal so I ask myself four simple questions;

  1. Are the goals you set still appropriate? 
  2. What actions have you taken to achieve these goals? What worked? What didn't?
  3. What do you need to do to maintain your progress?
  4. What do you need to do to get back on track?

Are the goals you set still appropriate? 

This is pretty straight forward, simply look at the goals that you have set yourself and review them.  Now the big point here is not to change them just because they may seem too hard or you have lost focus. Just ask yourself do you still want to achieve these goals?.  It may be that you are not sure how to go about achieving the goal, again challenge yourself on that because to reach goals we sometimes need to get out of our comfort zone. You can read below how I have been working through that challenge myself.

It may be that the goal simply needs to be restated, e.g "run a half marathon", perhaps a more reachable goal could be to be "running at least 2 times a week between 5 and 10km by the end of 2018" . The latter is more specific and time framed and likely to be more achievable.

The other point to note is that you may have set yourself too many goals for the year. Therefore it becomes all a bit overwhelming. If this is the case then be kind to yourself and get rid of some or more them onto another year. I reckon three is plenty. 

There are also times where life events can turn our world upside down and so our initial goals we set are totally unachievable, no longer important or relevant. I think it's important to simply just acknowledge that and either put them on hold or get rid of them entirely. It's ok to let goals go and not feel guilty about it.

Then there are those goals that you have already achieved!  Big hug to you and well done you. Make sure that you go ahead and celebrate. Perhaps consider creating an new goal and maybe one that is more challenging! 

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In reviewing our 2018 goals, all three are all still important to us so we will keep them, so no changes to these for us.  I am however afraid that the "Project free Year" will be very hard to achieve. But that's what I would call a challenge goal for us!

What actions have you taken to achieve these goals? What worked? What didn't?

This is where you need to be honest. For us it has been a struggle for our Health & Wellbeing goal. We wanted to ensure that we had at least one day away a month and also complete a long walk/tramp once a month. However the first 3 months of this year has been full on renovations, and Pete's unplanned trip to China changed this somewhat. It certainly meant that he got some RnR, well sort of as travelling through China was not always restful. In the end we both still have not really rested and taken time out so far this year. 

Our Financial and Project Free year goals, again have been challenging due to the renovations. Certainly not maintained budget and there have been a number of small projects and extra things that Pete and I have had to do as part of the renovations. Geezzzz it's been an exhausting few months really!

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The learnings here is that we could have been more realistic about when we could start working on our goals.

It's also good to consider actions you did take that worked, so going forward you can continue to focus on those actions (things you did) that worked. One of the helpful things in terms of achieving goals and completing actions this year has been the use of my planners. My previous post detailed how I set these up and they have certainly been working well, particularly for my Tidying with Tania goals.

What do you need to do to maintain your progress?

So you have actually made some progress towards your goals. This questions helps us to focus on our motivation to ensure that we don't slow down on progress or get into a rut, take the foot of the peddle etc.

For me, I have worked hard on some of my actions that I need to do to achieve my Tidying with Tania goals, however I feel that I am losing the "energy", focus , mojo! because of what it takes for me to do them. This question helps me to go back to my motivation, my Why! I have thought about this and come up with two actions that I will do to help me maintain my progress.

  1. Put my vision board up in my office and have my motivation quotes visible
  2. Be more specific with the tasks that I need to action, break things down into more achievable tasks and spread them out over a longer period.

What do you need to do to get back on track?

Firstly if you are tracking well and you are happy with your progress towards your goals then carry on doing what your doing because it's clearly working.

However if, like Pete and I, you are still struggling this is where you need to make some changes. The key changes we are making is to break down the actual task and actions that we need to do and time frame them. This is a key element of successful planning and one that we certainly failed to do. To help guide you in this here is an simple example of the actions we are doing now in order to achieve our Health and Wellbeing goal.

  • Mark on the calendar and in the planner the chosen day per month - do this for each of the remaining months of the year. Therefore we now know in advance what day we will have away each month.
  • Add into my monthly planning review to decide on our walk and where we will travel too for the next month and add this into my monthly and weekly planning list.
  • Allocate an hour per month for research and planning

I am also doing a similar approach for my goals for Tidying with Tania. I have broken the goals down into actions per month, quarter and 6 months, however they are too general and I am having trouble with some in not knowing where to start. Therefore I am have done some research and reading and learning about functional planning. I will be turning these goals into projects and breaking them down into actions then detailing these actions into specific tasks. These will then be allocated out over corresponding months and weeks. I will be ensuring that I only allocate tasks that I will actually be able to achieve over a given month and week.  Undertaking weekly and monthly reviews of progress is important to help me to track my progress. It's the old "eating an elephant one bite at a time" 

One of the things that I will be doing is reading the Getting Things Done book by David Allen. I have an understanding and knowledge of GTD however never actually read the book so there is no time like the present. 

Another change I have made in the planner space, is using a filofax planner as an on the go wallet!  Stay tuned for an upcoming post on how I set this up and how I am using it.

I hope this overview of how I review my goals has helped you with your 2018 goals. I would love to hear how you are going with your goals. 

To help you to review your goals, I have created a simple and free check sheet for your to use, so what are you waiting for! Happy goal getting!

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Welcoming in 2018

I love New Year, not just because you can have a fun night celebrating, more for the fresh start and the blank canvas ahead and the energised feeling that you are going to achieve your goals...this year!  Now I do think that most people do actually give themselves some type of goal or new years resolution, even if not openly stated, however most of us fail to achieve them. Goal setting can be easy, achieving them on the other hand is hard, and it takes planning, organising and commitment. For us, this year, planning 2018 is going to start with reflecting on what we achieved in 2017.

Pete and I celebrating the end of 2017

Pete and I celebrating the end of 2017

 

Look Back 

Pete and I set three goals last year, and they were actually pretty full on!!

  • Landscape the West Side garden
  • Create the Potager garden
  • Plan and start the renovations 

Did we achieve them? Yes we did and it feels great. We are somewhat exhausted from such a busy year and do feel very happy with what we achieved. It really helps to reflect what you did achieve before your charge into the new year with more goals. There are things that we learnt that will help with our 2018 goals...like maybe have less! 

The question I ask is how did we achieve them, what made this work?

Setting a timeframe was the key to get us focused. We gave each one a date that we wanted the goal to be completed by. So for landscaping, that needed to be done by start of autumn, so we were not dealing with landscaping in winter. The Potager garden,  by October so I could get the summer crops in and the renovations underway by December. Another important issue is budget. Each of these goals costs to achieve so we needed to ensure that we had the budget for them. I think that is an important factor in setting goals. If, to achieve the goal, it is going to cost then you must factor that in, no point setting it if you do not have the budget for it...that's a real bummer as you just set your self up to fail and no one wants that.  Lastly we broke down the goal into tasks and focused on each task rather the overall goal. Doing each task took away that overwhelming feeling. This really helped with the landscaping job as it was a huge job.

So on reflection what worked well; setting timeframes, having a budget and listing out the tasks. 

Basically to achieve them we needed to run them like a project. Check out my post from Jan 2017 on goal setting as it helps to show you how we did that.

One of the other learnings was that we had three big goals and it has meant that 2017 was a huge year on the house and it took a lot of our time and effort...and money. Maybe a few less in 2018 would be good.

Look Forward

As with each year, Pete and I talked about our goals for 2018. One thing we agreed on was to have less, yep putting our learnings into practice. We agreed to three goals this year ;

  • Project free year
  • Financial goal
  • Health and Wellbeing

Ok the first one is not actually a goal, it's more of a don't do, however for us we have to have it as a goal as we do tend to want to jump into a project.....finishing the renovations on the house is big enough really!

The financial goal is a specific savings goal ...good thing that I have brought my planner supplies for the year and my new bag...!!

The biggest one, really important to Pete and I, is Health and Wellbeing. We really neglected that in 2017, just didn't have enough time away and down time. So we have got specific goals each month to do and they are very motivational and easily tracked to ensure that we do them.

What I have done is created an "Our goals" page in my 2018 planner and this is at the front so it keeps this visible to us. For those interested I will be doing a post all about my 2018 planner set up...this is coming up at the end of the month.

 

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On a final note, Pete and I still did the walk around the house, from that I created a master task list of things to do. There are only 6 items and they are simply one off tasks that will not take a lot of effort and time. We will just spread these out over the year so they are not a big deal.

I am still to complete a post of the landscaping of the west garden....that's because the lawn got a bit wrecked and I want to fix that before doing photos!!! Anyway it's getting there so expect that soon!!!

For the other projects you can see how we planned and achieved them in the following post;

Planning the Potager garden

Build and planting of the Potager garden

Our renovations plans

I hope my sharing of our goals and achievements has helped you in your ideas and goals for your 2018.

I thought that I would end with this great little quote;

"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible" - Tony Robbins

Happy Goal setting my friends!

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Getting ready for the new year - My Planner set up for 2017

I can not exactly tell you when I first started using planners, or what I called diaries, I think it was at High school or Varsity. It was always on my Christmas wish list and I loved filling it all out for the new year......a bit like starting over, a fresh new year ...well I think that's why I loved it...thinking of all the possibilities and adventures that were coming that year.  Now we have "life planners", "goal planners" basically whatever planner you want. They are ohhhh so much more than just the basic yearly diary, they are great for getting you and your life organised. And the choice.... oh the choice, its endless plus there is the fun of making them all pretty by jazzing them up with stickers and custom tabs and washi tap.....limited only by your imagination. 

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As it is January and my traditional time of the year for my new year planner , I thought I would take you through my personal planner set up for 2017....excited cos I am!

The planner itself is from Kikki k which I got as a Christmas present at the end of 2015. I absolutely love using it. It's not only functional but allows me to personalise it. I alway starts with the functional aspect then jazz it up, making it all pretttttyyyy ...so every time I open it I am filled with joy....wiggle bum!!!! Guys this is probably your equivalent to getting all the sports settings set up properly on your TV/Streaming device ..one stop shop for everything. 

Planner set up

For the inserts you can get the pre printed packs from Kikki K, however I can never find ones that has exactly what I want, so I go online. As there are soooo many planning choices out there on line, I'd suggest to use Pinterest to narrow the search.

This year I have purchased some planning printable bundles from the website Strange & Charmed. Aka 'Miss Trenchcoat' , she provides tools and resources to help online entrepreneurs succeed and she has great functional planning resources. 

As I purchased and downloaded the inserts I was able to use them for both my personal and business planner, so it is certainly a cheaper option (even including the printing). The great thing this year was that she provided them in A5 and A4 size, perfect for me.

Once I got all the inserts downloaded and printed, I was able to set up my planner in the following categories;

  • Monthly 
  • Weekly 
  • Daily 
  • Task list 
  • Budget 
  • Reflection

Each category is in its own section and separated by a divider, which I have personalised...sooo much fun.....and I love the look I achieved this year.

My monthly and weekly view are on two pages, this just means when I open it out it is over two pages. This gives me plenty of space to write.

The rest are all on one page with the exception of the reflection pages, which are actually from Kikki K.

 

Planning process

If you are a planner then you know that it takes a while to get the right system that works for you. 

The way I use my planner, essentially is based on a month by month view. All events, birthdays and appointments are noted firstly in the monthly view. Therefore at the start of each month I review what is coming up for the month, add in any additional appointments, events etc.

Every Sunday morning I plan up the week ahead, this means that I can see easily what is planned for the week and what I need to get done. I also run a task list, or a "to do" list, so I review this list at the same time and essentially divide up the tasks over the week depending on the priority and the time.  One thing that I do slightly differently is that I have a daily view for the weekends, one day on a page where I can time block . I actually find these really helpful for planning out things to get done in the weekend. I don`t know about you but I always have 101 things to get done in the weekend, so this works perfectly for me and ensures I get the important things done. 

Last year I started doing a weekly reflection, it is not really something that I thought I would get into ... a bit fluffy for me...however I actually found it really useful. So this year I am continuing do this.

Prettize the planner

Is there such a word? No suspect not but hey I have made it one now. This is where I have fun with my planner, as an FYI, planner embellishment is big business as is Planners in general. In short this is Scrapbooking for diaries. And yes I am a Scrapbooker from way back so it's a given that I got into planners. 

I actually make my own dividers. I take the original dividers that came with the planner and each year I cover them with updated card stock. My colour theme is gold and teal/turquoise or acqua or whatever colour you call it.  Each divider has a tab , this year I have gone all out and tried something different, just used a gold letter rather than the word on the tab, i.e m for monthly (actually it was an w upside down as I didn`t have any m`s left). I have to say I am in love with the look!!

 

So there you have it my planner for 2017. I hope this has inspired you to consider starting to use a planner....you never know it might change your life.  

If you are keen to learn more about using a planner and functional planning let me know, am happy to share the love!

Have a fantastic and productive week

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