Creating a single goal for 2018

So earlier today I published my review of 2017. The review is effectively step one in creating my goal for the new year. If you have been reading my blog for even a short time, you will have picked up that goal setting is a key activity for me. Over the last few years I have developed and enhanced my own goal setting process to create a single goal for the year.

Why one single goal? I choose to set a single goal for three key reasons:

  1. It becomes my mantra for the year. One single thing I can repeat to myself and focus on through the happy and more challenging times through out the year.
  2. It acts as a decision making framework. When presented with opportunities or challenges I ask myself if I take them on will it help me achieve my goal?
  3. It prevents me from feeling overwhelmed by competing priorities. Previous years I have set myself many goals and inevitably at some point in the year I feel torn between where I should spend my time, energy and attention.

You can find a detailed breakdown of the exact steps I take in this post if you are after more details, but below I take you through the results of the different steps in the process that helped me create my single goal for 2018.

I didn’t do all of these steps in one go. I worked on it over about four sessions across the week and guess I have spent around five hours altogether on the process. This may seem like a large chunk of time but for the clarity and focus it gives me for the upcoming year, I see it has a great investment of my time.

Setting one personal goal step 1 – review the last 12 months

As you can read in my review, 2017 contained much for which I am grateful, some key learnings from things that didn’t quite work and some wonderful surprises along the way.

In August of 2017 I undertook a Mindfulness short course with Al Jeffrey. It had a huge impact on me at the time but as I got deeper and deeper into the school volunteer projects I was working on in last September and October, I stopped practicing much of what I learnt. So it was utterly wonderful to have the letter I wrote to myself during the mindfulness course arrive mid December to remind me of why I did the course and what I wanted to achieve. Thanks Al for putting so much thought into the course and taking the time to send my letter to me!

Reading through this and going back to the handwritten notes I made during the course were pivotal in creating my goal for 2018.

Setting one personal goal step 2 – preview the coming 12 months

In 2018 we will have kids in year 4, year 6, year 9, year 11 and second year uni. I am still learning how to better parent a uni student living at home, so expect this to create challenges for me and I need to work on letting go more than I currently do.

Year 9 in the past has shown me with the boys, it is a big year developmentally and I am expecting it will be similar for our daughter as well. School A to Z from the Department of Education NSW is a great reference for parents. It shares what to expect year-by-year in high school in this post and it has this to say about Year 9:

Year 9 can be a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ year for some kids, as they seem to swing from one extreme to another. Relationships are changing with their peers and their families. They are asserting their independence but often without the good judgement that comes with maturity. Experts describe the teenage brain as a “work in progress” the brain structure is changing and teens are flooded with hormones. The habits they learn now – good and bad – will form the basis for later years.

Knowing that I may have some challenges parenting wise is important. It will help dictate how much work I take on and how much space I leave in the calendar. The more challenges, the more space I need!

My husband is intending to continue his local club sporting endeavours in cricket and football this year as well as tackle a couple of big sporting challenges. We already have these dates in the calendar and I will support him with these as best I can, like he does for me when I undertake training for a key event.

I intend to undertake a number of small sporting events through out the year and will hopefully manage to fit in some live events in the different locations I travel to so I can meet more readers of this blog!

It is important to understand existing time and energy demands before creating a new goal – if you don’t it can be super easy to over load or over commit yourself for the year.

Setting one personal goal step 3 – list it all

I go through this process to set my personal goal and then again for my business so I can create a business goal. For this exercise I listed all my non business activities I would like to achieve in 2018. I list them all knowing that it is of course not possible to do them all. Listing them all allows me to pick up on themes, key ideas and interests that I wouldn’t necessarily find it I limited myself to certain number of items I could list.

I then spend time looking at the list and seeing what appears from it. Even though I have been doing this for a number of years, I am still happily surprised at how easy it is to pick out the overarching themes that I will take into the new year:

  • themes – less, more, detach, adventure
  • images – open doors, trails, water, running, swings

With my list of activities I could almost slot of all them under the headings of less or more. I have included some of them in the below table so you can see exactly what I mean!

time insideadventures
of the status quolearning
time in shoesnature
workfamily time
fearchances taken

By summarising the key themes and images from your list, it makes it so much easier to craft a single goal statement for the year.

Setting one personal goal step 4 – craft your goal

Crafting a single goal statement is something that gets easier with practice. Within about 10 minutes I had six goal statements for 2018 written down, but none were quite right. I then went and circled words that were most important to me in the various statements. I used these words to craft another four goal statements and it was the final one of these that I chose as my goal for 2018:

Detach from the old and embrace the new to nurture a family spirit of adventure.

Setting one personal goal step 5 – create habits to support your goal

The single goal statement is the broad vision for the year and for it to be achieved I need to establish effective habits that support my goal. Last year my habit choice caused me some issues, so I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about which habits would work best.

I went back and looked at the habits I set in 2015, 2016 and 2017 to look for patterns where I have had greater success and feelings of contentment. I definitely have had greater success with habits that I need to practice daily and have have found more happiness in years where I focus on my mindset and attitude and this is reflected in the habits I have chosen for 2018.

In the table below I have listed my new habits for 2018 to help me achieve my goal of detaching from the old and embracing the new to nurture a family spirit of adventure, their connection to my goal and a quote to remind me of how important these habits are. I will make a collage of these quotes to print out along with my habits.

HabitConnection to goal - Detach from the old and embrace the new to nurture a family spirit of adventure.Poem quote
Practice detachment dailyMy attachment comes from the right place in terms of wanting the best for my family and myself, but it can be founded on beliefs that I hold that are not necessarily true or helpful. Letting go of this belief and creating a new one requires me to detach.

Detaching doesn't mean I stop caring or give up but it means I acknowledge it, explore it, process it, take action to move on and let it go.

Letting go of old or untrue beliefs will mean I can focus on being more supporting and encouraging to the kids.
"For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business."
~ T.S. Eliot
Develop the practice of mindful listeningSometimes listening can be hard. I think I know what the kids or others are going to say, I have things on my mind, I have something I want to say or I have things I would rather be doing than listening then and there.

Mindfully listening to others shows that you value them and it empowers them to share exactly how they are feeling. I want my kids to tell me about their dreams, their hopes, their fears and their crazy ideas. This won’t happen if I am not really listening.

“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
~ E.E. Cummings
Do something new each month with the familyI love routine and being organised and sometimes I will take the option to spend time on these activities and not leave enough time for exploring something new.

This year I want to try some big and little adventures with the family.
"Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead."
~Rose Milligan
Use deliberate daily practice to learn something new each monthK. Anders Ericsson, a professor of Psychology at Florida State University, is a pioneer in researching deliberate practice. One of his core findings is that becoming an expert at a skill has more to do with how you practice rather than with just performing the skill many times.

To really embrace a new skill I need to intentionally practice, not just do the skill to tick the box to say I have done it. This is a practice I really want to develop and role model for my kids.
"Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there."
Develop a monthly decluttering habitOur house is relatively uncluttered but we really do have too much stuff.

All this extra stuff takes up space, time and energy - all of which I can reclaim and redirect when I declutter.
"The open space surrounding me
Clears my lungs
Makes me breath
I feel light
Vividly bright and empty
A room to dance in happily"
~Anna Elise

Setting one personal goal step 6 -track and review your goal

As you would know, I review my progress towards my goal each month here on the blog. This is a great way to help keep me accountable. Even if I haven’t achieved my goal, I know I need to turn up here each month and share what happened – the good, the bad and the ugly!

I am feeling super excited about 2018. The year will start of fabulously with a two week beach holiday with the family and then only a small amount of work until the kids are back in school in February. Lots of time for learning and new adventures!

Have you set a goal for 2018?

Want to learn more about how you can use goal setting to help you get more organised at home?

The first two modules in my Planned & Present e-course focus in depth on goal setting! If you haven’t heard about Planned & Present it is a seven week e-course to take you from feeling out of control and overwhelmed to feeling planned and present.

It is a step-by-step guide on how to organise the chaos of family life while still leaving space to enjoy it.

The course ran for the first time in October 2016 and has been successfully completed by over 350 mums to date. I have been blown away about the results members have achieved as they worked their way through the e-course.

With the drive of wanting to be organised it can be easy to forget why we want to be organised – to be able to spend more time enjoying our family. The course teaches you how to establish plans and processes for those repetitive tasks of family life, allowing you to be more effective and efficient with your time, so you can be more present with your family.

Planned and Present includes seven in-depth lessons, for you to work through. And with lifetime access to the course, it’s okay if you need extra time to make it through the lessons. The next round of the course will open Monday 8th October 2018.

To find out more about Planned + Present and to be the notified when the course launches click here – Planned & Present.

Swing Photo by Paige Muller on Unsplash