Taking Control

In last week’s post I mentioned that for 2013 two of my primary goals were organization and health/fitness.  I have taken this directive to heart and wanted to share with you how I am trying to implement these two goals.

I have studied a variety of different schools of thought on goal setting and there are two major ideas that keep emerging. The first idea is that for new changes or goals to become permanent in our lives we need to make a routine or system to implement them – ie. they need to become habits.  The second is that our greatest happiness comes from aligning our deepest priorities with our goals.  Now, I can feel  accomplished when I check 47 things off my to-do list, but if all 47 items are cleaning, email purging and other “busy” tasks—it won’t feel nearly as satisfying as completing items that are truly meaningful (calling a friend, getting to the gym, etc.)

I know that to make the lasting changes I want this year I must make these two ideas central to my plans. To keep things simple and organized I created the chart below.  I chose  the four areas of my life I wanted see the most growth in and then I selected a couple of specific tasks or elements that would give me the biggest “wins”.

It was actually difficult to only choose two or three things I wanted to work on—I have tendency to dive all in when I want to change my life and I try to do too many things at once. I decided that a gradual process would be more effective this year. I am a pen and paper kind of girl and I like the thrill of checking something off my list. I plan on keeping each of my weekly charts as the year progresses so that at the end of 2013 I will have a clear idea of what I was able to accomplish.

We are half-way through week number two and things have been going well.  My small target for the month of January is to have 65% consistency in all boxes by the end of the month.  I don't have to be perfect to see success and so I am not going to burden myself with making 100% of the changes yet.  

In addition,  I must accomplish one task every week to help my in my long-term goals as well.  I am in the process of setting up a custom photo book business and so each week I need to take one small step to get this project off the ground. 

The easiest way to get a new behavior to become a habit is to anchor the action to something you already consistently do. For example, I decided that I wanted to stretch everyday. To make this happen I put my alarm clock on the other side of the room. Every morning I have to get out of bed to shut it off and this is when I have decided to do my simple morning stretches. It has been an easy way to wake up and get my body functioning.

Here are links to a couple of my former posts that I talk in more detail aboutestablishing habits and creating systems.

What are you hoping to achieve in 2013? How do you plan to go about accomplishing your goals? I would love for you to share your comments below.