Since moving to Charlotte (what I can’t believe has been) three years ago, we have been very fortunate (though intentional) to surround ourselves with positive, motivating friends. Last new year, one of my girlfriends invited us over to her place for a New Years Day brunch. We talked about what we would be hoping for in the new year and she mentioned to me that she actually writes out all of her goals for everything in life at the beginning of each new year. That is so cool, I thought. I had always regarded goal setting as something more for your day job or for your weight, as we all have a goal to lose weight every January. I had never though, thought about having goals for all aspects of my life, and I certainly never documented them. I asked her if next time she does it, she could show me.
Surely enough, this new year rolled around, and my friend asked if I was serious about doing this goal setting activity with her. We set the date for the second Saturday in January and invited others to join us. Surprisingly to me, only two of our other friends took up the offer, the rest citing that spending an entire day from 9-5 seemed like a big time investment. In my mind, 8 hours to get my ENTIRE life in order for the whole year was a small price to pay. But hey, everyone’s priorities are different. And maybe I’m just in more dire need of getting the hot mess that is my life, in order.
First thing’s first. FOOD is necessary to get through an all day session like this. My friend made us a healthy breakfast and lunch (eggs, salad, light on the dessert) to keep us fueled throughout the day. No use in setting a goal to eat healthy while chowing down on a doughnut. After we had our morning coffee, we camped out in her living room that she outfitted with lots of fun colored pens and paper to inspire our creativity all day. Our friend warned us that typically this process was built to be done over a week, not a day, so we would likely need all the energy we could get!
Our first deliverable of the day was to answer a few questions in reflection of the year before. We so often beat ourselves up for the things that we didn’t accomplish, that we don’t spend some time to celebrate our accomplishments. Questions like What did I try that was courageous? Who came into my life this year? Where did I make the most money? Just in thinking about these questions, I felt really great about traveling to China and London, starting a new business, remembering all the cool people I met this year. We also answered questions like Where were the time leaks? What did I let go of? Was there an area I felt stuck in? I realized my subconscious frustration with my health goals, how much TV I actually watch and mentally said my last goodbyes to the negative habits I let go of in 2015. If we had done nothing but answer these few questions, I would have felt so productive already!
After we answered those questions, it was time for us to select a theme for this year. I absolutely LOVE this idea of having some guiding theme/principle/mantra to be intentional about all year long. It could be something simple like Stretch or Peace like some of my girlfriends picked. It could be around a particular accomplishment or a thought or even something abstract like a color or feeling. I was inspired by some of my MBA classes I’ve taken recently and settled on Sustainable Living. I decided that would mean that this would be the ground year (year 0) that I would take to slowly start building habits that will go on with me for the rest of my life. I realized that one of my biggest faults is that I am incredibly impatient and want things as quickly as possible. I decided that this year, I would focus on taking small steps in the hopes that these habits and lifestyle changes would stick, rather than just be a fleeting obsession. I even made a little visual reminder that is hanging on my refrigerator to look at daily and remember this theme.