Getting Back on Track: Three ways I create new goals

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Feeling Overwhelmed & Without Purpose

After several emotionally taxing events last year, I had another round of depression that crept in and hung around for several months. Overlapping with that time, but extending until just recently, I had a couple stressful work events that consumed a fair bit of my time and, more importantly, my energy.

Getting Back on Track

When I get frustrated with my work-life-play balance and how I’m allocating my energy and focus, I find it helpful to switch around my bullet journal setups, reevaluate my routines and typical behaviors, contemplate my values and set some new goals. It can provide me with inspiration, excitement and a more optimistic outlook.

The first thing I typically do is review articles about the “Eisenhower Matrix”. The Eisenhower Matrix is a prioritization system for your to do list that emphasizes the difference between important things and urgent things. If you haven’t heard of it before, you should definitely read up on it. The goal is to be working on important, but not urgent, things most of the time. Sometimes I need help deciding what is important, though, and this is where my three methods of deciding goals comes in.  Once I have some goals, my goal-related items on my task lists get stars next to them- they are important and should be given the priority they deserve even if I feel there are more pressing matters.

Method One: Value Sorting

Have you heard of value sorting before? It’s a common life coaching tool. It consists of a deck of cards with values on them. Some examples of values are: “creativity”, “wealth”, “professional accomplishment” and “faith”. You sort these values based on their level of importance to you. Eventually you sort them into five categories: least important, less important, neutral, more important and most important. You can find one online version of the tool here: http://thegoodproject.org/toolkits-curricula/the-goodwork-toolkit/value-sort-activity/

Understanding what your values are is important for living authentically. Authenticity is about living consistently with your beliefs and values. Someone who is honest, hardworking, down to earth and responsible might still not be an authentic person. For example, a person who matches the above description might spend a lot of their time working, taking care of family and meeting the expectations of others; however, they truly have a passion for art and beauty that they are ignoring. They might be a wonderful person, but they aren’t living authentically.

Once you’ve done a value sorting exercise, take a look at your “most important” values. Each time you do the exercise these might change slightly, and that’s alright. You are looking to acknowledge what is important to you at that moment. You should have just four most important values. Brainstorm possible goals that relate to these values. What helps you live more in line with these values? What activities can you add to your daily life that relate to these values?

Method Two: Categories of Self Care

Consider the different categories of self care. If you are unfamiliar with those categories take a look at  another one of my blog posts: http://www.crazycatnerd.com/meowing/2019/2/28/types-of-self-care-a-comprehensive-look-at-self-care What categories do you feel you could give more attention to? What areas would be beneficial for you to focus on? Is there something self care related that you’ve been wanting to work on? Perhaps you already recognize you need to get more movement or better sleep, listen to what your body is telling you and focus on that. But if you aren’t sure, review the self care categories and brainstorm possible goals related to them.

Method Three: Wheel of Life

There are several variations of the Wheel of Life which is another popular life coaching tool that is used for finding balance. If the various aspects of your life were put together to form a wheel would you have a smooth ride? Some of the aspects to consider are career, family, health and fun. Find a template such as :https://medium.com/@chengeerlee/wheel-of-life-a-self-assessment-tool-to-find-out-what-is-not-working-in-your-life-8af1faadafa5 or https://raviraman.com/the-wheel-of-life/ .

Rank your satisfaction with each area of your life on a scale of 1 to 10. Which areas are the lowest? Brainstorm goals for each of your lowest categories.

Setting Goals

Choose one goal from each method- Values, Self Care and Wheel of Life. If any of the goals from each method are the same or similar, I give them priority. If something can help increase both my self care and helps me realize one of my values, I go with that one! It’s important to limit your goals. I chose to do one from each category, but you could do more or less. We are seeking to find purpose and have a clearer path so limiting ourselves to just a few goals gives us focus.

Once you have your three goals, break them down into small actionable chunks. Something that will take you less than three months to achieve. I write my goals in my monthly bullet journal spread along with five actionable steps I can take that month to work towards that goal. When I set up my weekly spread, I take at least one actionable step from each goal and add it to my weekly task list. When I setup my daily spread, I write down three small, achievable tasks that work towards the step I chose for the week.

For example, one of my goals is to establish a blogging routine that I maintain for three months. For the month of June, my goal was to simple write three blog posts. For a variety of reasons, I haven’t been blogging as much recently so I started simple- I just wanted to get some posts written. Writing posts will help me formulate my routine. For this week, my goal was to write a blog post. My goal for today- write a paragraph for that post.

By breaking my goals down into more reasonable steps I can ensure I work on them mostly everyday. This keeps my motivation up and ensures I don’t let my goals fall to the wayside. It makes me feel good to know I’m moving in the right direction step by step.


Moving Forward

This has helped me immensely over the last couple weeks. I feel optimistic about the future and motivated to improve my life. I hope this post gives you some inspiration. One of my top four values is personal growth, so please share any ideas you have with me about goal setting in the comments!