This post wraps up my salute to 2011 and my warm welcome to 2012. I saved it for last because it was my goal to write five posts in five days.
The thing that most distinguishes my life as an irresponsible adult-child, and my life as a moderately responsible adult are my goals. And I don’t even mean the content, I mean the existence of goals.
Sure, I’ve always thought ambitiously of things I’d like to do, but only within the past year or so have I been using the SMART model for goal-setting. For those of you not familiar, those kinds of goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable and Timely. It’s important to include all these elements in your goals because they do a lot to keep you on track.
For example, what if I said I wanted to read more. How would I know if and when I’ve reached my goal? Now what if I said I was going to complete the #50BookPledge in 2012. Now I know that I have until the end of this year to read 50 books.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a compulsive list-maker. You can find evidence of this on my fridge, bulletin board, in drawers, waste bins, my phone and notebooks. But when we’re talking about something as essential to feelings of happiness and self-fulfillment as goals, I needed to figure out a way to keep all these in one place.
I found this great project called Day Zero. You create your own list of up to 1001 goals (completing the long list should definitely be on your list of things to do!) You can use the site to track your progress, share your goals with your friends, and make notes about what was involved. I’ve got just under 50 items on my list and 2 already completed.
But when it comes to goals, I’m not inclined to share. I read an article that said that the chemical released in your brain when you tell someone about a goal is the same chemical produced when you actually achieve a goal. You can trip yourself up before you even get going by tricking your brain into thinking you’ve already achieved your goal. So while lots of people like to share their to-do lists because they think their friends will help them stay on track, sometimes it’s better to keep these things to yourself.
What have my goals helped me to accomplish?
For starters, paying more attention to this blog. Also, finding the job of my dreams, paying off my debt, saving up for big purchases like my ludicrously awesome TV and a recent trip to Cuba.
Effective goal-setting had almost everything to do with my success of 2011, and now that I feel so much further ahead than I did this time last year, I tingle with excitement thinking about all the possibilities for 2012.
Well, that wraps up my salute to 2011. It was an interesting year, that’s for sure. Happy new year!