This year I want to make more money, find my soulmate, find time for awesome side projects and work out more. But that’s not interesting.
I’m fed up hearing about my own new year’s resolutions each year. That’s why I decided to stop making them.
But I never given up on trying to meet long term goals, and I’m happy to say that this past year, I have actually succeeded! And I’m here to share with you exactly how I did it and what I learned.
I feel that trying to keep track of long term goals is almost a lost battle. Once we come up with our plan to success for this year, as the tiniest issue occurs, we easily lose grip of our entire picture to micro-management. Our friend just called and distracted us from this task. This unpredictable project just came in. We just ran out of groceries.
It’s very difficult to juggle between the small decisions we are required to make and pondering how it fits with our big picture at the same time.
That’s how we end up neglecting areas in our life that are important to us. We get caught up with work and forget our social life. We put our desired side projects aside. That’s what naturally happens when the entire organization which is your business is ran by one person- yourself.
There are a few traditional milestones throughout our year when we like to stop and reflect upon our lives and ask- are we happy? We find a lot of reasons why were not. And so we set goals and resolutions to try and meet by the end of next year to seek improvement.
Imagine you are going on a 1000 miles journey. You have your map, and a clear destination of your choice you want to reach. Throughout your journey you are allowed to look at your map twice only. At the beginning, before you start driving, so you can plan your route . The second time will be at the end, once 1000 miles of driving has been completed. You go on the road trying to do the best you can. After you complete your 1000 miles journey, time to open your map. Are you standing at your desired destination at the moment? The chances are pretty slim.
We make resolutions, then an entire year passes by. Then, we reflect – Have we met our goals? Probably not all of them. Do we have any real answers why? A year is a huge time span to try and reflect upon. We might try real hard and remember a few highlights for the better or worse. If we open our map and we are only able to mark our beginning and end points, All we are left with is some general information about some areas that need improvement, but no clear idea of what really went wrong along the way. So we come up with vague conclusions such as “I just need to be more brave/ stop being so lazy”.
Here is another problem with reflecting upon long term goals. By the time the ‘term’ is completed they might not matter anymore. Our needs and priorities are constantly changing on a daily basis. Our sense of urgency shifts between so many different things and areas in our life.
A year and a half ago I have set myself a goal to start my own business. Lucky for me I was already privileged to learn from people who are way more experienced than me that awesome stuff take more than a year to happen. Long term goals require a commitment to a long term journey.
How do I make sure I don’t get lost during my own 1000 miles journey? What if I could stop every now and then along the way to look at the map and make sure I am taking the right directions?
I decided I’m going to use the principle of reflection and resolutions differently. Instead of an annual check in during Rosh-Ha’Shana, new years and my birthday, I’m going to reflect daily, weekly and monthly. By using byte size time spans, I can tap into the real reasons of what is holding me back, and come up with specific actions I can take at the moment to slowly build and figure out the complexed machine that is expected to produce the results I want -myself.
This is what I did during the past year and a half. This technique can help you check in with yourself and make sure that all of your goals are on track. These can also help you making your journey even enjoyable along the way 🙂
Introducing- The weekly check-in!
A week is a good time span to reflect upon. It’s short enough for us to remember it into details and long enough to get an over all view of our own quirky ways – How we manage our time, what distracts us, and where our priorities are shifting without us noticing.
Every night during the last day of my week, I set a time for a reflection ritual. I invite you to make yourself a cup of coffee, sit down, and write/type.
What did you do every day of this week?
Describe every day as much as you can. Include what work did you get done, even if it was very little. Include the fun stuff, meeting friends. Include grocery shopping and the unpredictable stuff you had to tackle starting from you mom asking you to drive somewhere and your friend needing help over the phone. The goal here is to figure exactly where your time is slipping away.
What worked well for you this week?
What are the things about this week that you were pleased about? What made you happy? It can be stuff that you achieved, stuff that happened, stuff someone said to you.
What was difficult for you this week?
When did you feel down? It can be the stuff you didn’t achieve, stuff that happened, stuff someone said to you.
Gathering weekly conclusions
Are you feeling generally upset and you can’t pinpoint why- you have your answers now. It is amazing what short term memory we have when we are super busy. I remember a week when I felt super anxious lonely and upset not knowing why. After re-writing my week I realised I spent my entire time sitting at home by myself working, and didn’t see or talk to one friend of mine. I realised that I need to make an effort putting fun stuff in my schedule.
One week I realised as my work goals were barely met, I was giving away my time for friends and family too easily. It was time I started setting some boundaries.
By connecting the dots between how your week went and what triggered the positive and the negative, you can easily have a broad picture and determine what specific changes and actions you are going to take regarding your schedule to improve things for the better.
Planning your week strategically
- What stuff I feel I did right this week and I’m taking with me for the week to come
- What are things I want to improve, what is one or two things I’m going to do differently this week.
- Your weekly to do list, drawn by all the stuff you know that matter to you.
It is very important to point out, as well as the things that are not working, the things that do work. You don’t build a building by tearing it up apart all the time. You have to gather your strong bricks along the way and actually use them.
Setting a weekly intention, to awaken your inner force.
Now we are getting really spiritual here (fun!) – It is time to set a weekly intention followed by your conclusions, and associate it with a physical ritual of your choice (Nothing dirty. Unless you’re into some stuff. I don’t judge. )
So after I did my reflection, set my goals, and planned my entire week by the detail, here comes my intention. I’m asking to arise within myself some inner quality I need to help me complete my task, and I then pick a nail polish color that I feel represents it, and then I do my nails.
That’s right, I said I do my nails so I can have the superpowers I need to reach my weekly goals.
Let’s say I’m feeling that I need to be more energetic and bold this week, so I use a bright red. If I’ve been feeling down and I need to be more optimistic, I’ll go for a pink. If I’ve been feeling way too anxious and afraid and I needed something to calm me down and help me feel more grounded, that’s when I go for a neutral color.
Designating our thoughts to an action using our senses help us implement ideas in our mind better. The nail polish is an example for using color and the idea of wearing something to implement in my mind the thought of me being braver/happier/calmer. After doing this again and again, I started feeling that once I put a fresh color on my nails, my fingers work differently on the keyboard. I now have the superpowers to make all the stuff I want happen. Sounds silly? It might be.
We are the best in fooling ourselves to think we are incapable of things and bringing ourselves down. Why wouldn’t we try to fool ourselves the other way around? It can make us a lot braver .
Not into nail polish? That’s ok, I still think you are cool. Here are other ideas of using your senses to implement some intentions-
Pick up a weekly theme song that you feel represent who you want to be this week. Listen to it every morning when you wake up. This one was mine for a while. It helps me pretend I’m this bad ass who everybody says yes to and not the little nerd I am. Hey, I’m proud of my nerdness, I own it, it’s just that when needed, one must become a little bit of someone else 🙂 It’s ok you can borrow it 🙂
Pick a t-shirt color/outfit to wear during your first day of the week that represent for you who you choose to be this week.
You get the drill. I count on your creativity.
The answer to whether your choices and action align with your big picture lies beneath one simple question – What matters to you right now? What mattered to you today? What matters to you for next week? All of our goals and aspirations revolve around one basic need- wanting to be happier. We all came to realize that happiness is a road and not a destination we meet once a year. We yearn to meet it every day. When we know that our time is spent with the people and dreams that matter to us, we know that we are on the right path. Although it may be rough and not so easy, if it’s the right one, we can feel content. It is our own responsibility to check in with ourselves to make sure we are not sidetracked. If not every day, every week can work just fine. It is called putting the effort to keeping your resolutions. All year around.
Happy awesome new year/week 🙂
This week’s gif header was inspired by an awesome tip I read online about productivity. They say that decorating your workspace will make it feel more personal and make your working time more enjoyable. I went festive. I think it can help me stay focused and productive. I’ll let you know how that works for me 🙂
Post by Sivan Sa’ar
I’m a freelance videographer and motion designer. I love to tell stories and I dream big, just like you.
I would love to hear your thoughts! Leave me a comment or feel free to email me at: email@example.com