October 19th was #EvaluateYourLifeDay so I guess today is as good a day as any to look at where I am and readjust course if necessary. Looking at yourself and your life can be difficult, nobody likes to acknowledge any negativity or failings in life. However, it is necessary to make sure you have the best life possible.
Here are my tips for honest reflection and continued happiness.
Start writing life goals
These must be meaningful and achievable; I use SMART as a guide (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). You can split them in to short, medium, and long-term plans, as a rule my short term is within the next 6 months, medium 6-12 months, long over 12 months.
You cannot achieve a goal if you don’t factor in time to do the work needed. I am awful at this stage; I have a million plans/ideas but I rarely actively pursue them (then wonder why I’m not successful!).
Don’t overburden yourself
This links in with dedicating time. At the end of the day, you still need time to relax, switch off, and have fun. Don’t be planning all your spare time on various goals. That way you are more likely to achieve them, even if it takes slightly longer.
Set aside times and reminders for re-evaluating goals. Some goals may become redundant if your plans or circumstances change. Don’t be afraid to remove, reschedule, rescope, or reprioritize goals. It is not a sign of failure; it is great management skills.
When you have achieved a goal, celebrate! This could be as simple as posting on social media that you’ve achieved this important goal for yourself. As you complete more and more goals, you could set ‘treats’ for yourself as motivation.
Keep a record
It is easy to forget the good things we achieve in life. We are so used to striving to better ourselves, or get promoted, or have a better lifestyle, that we can forget the path we’ve already walked. Keep a goals journal, or visual chart. Take time to applaud yourself every now and then as a reminder that you have come a long way in your life journey.
Be kind to yourself. The nicer you are to yourself, the more motivated you’ll be to continue with your goals. Tell yourself how good you are doing instead of focusing on negatives such as setbacks.
Sounds Like a Lot…
Let’s face it, Rome wasn’t built in a day! It is a process, and it should be a life-long process that constantly evolves with you. I personally love making goals, it gives me milestones to aim towards. It doesn’t mean I am not happy with my life as it is, it just means I can see room for changes and improvement. And as goals become over-taken by events, I don’t feel any guilt with deleting them! It is important that goals don’t become arduous task which cause you loads of stress. If it doesn’t add value to your life, then get rid of it.
Areas for Goal Setting
Some people find it hard to set goals as they don’t know where to begin. Not all goals have to be life changing or dramatic, they can be simple goals which enhance your life already. Here are some key areas to start with:
Continued professional development (CPD) is something I’ve always valued. I love learning and improving so I always have a goal for a CPD related issue. This year my focus was promotion… and I’ve achieved it! I’m so happy and proud of myself. It’s one thing knowing your worth, but it’s a whole new game to be able to convince others and show them how good you are. I’ve never been good at ‘blowing my own trumpet’ so that was what I focused on this year.
Money doesn’t make you happy, per se, but it certainly affects your emotional wellbeing! I’ve struggled with debt for a few years now, and it’s got to the point where I can barely keep my head above water. My goals for financial stability are more important now, than ever before! I’ve been proactive in trying to kind ways to make an extra bit of money, get that promotion, reduce my out-goings, reduce frivolous spending… It’s going to be a long journey, so I’ve set mini goals and milestones, so I don’t get disappointed by being still in debt after a day of effort!
I love my home! This is my first proper home (I was in the RAF prior to buying) so making it as comfortable and homely as possible has been my on-going goal. Again, it’s a long-term plan split into smaller mini goals. Since I am also trying to reduce spending, finding cheap or free ways to update rooms is essential. In that vein, I’ve reused, upcycled, and re-purposed items to create the look I desire. Even mixing a few left-over pots of paint together to create a bespoke colour for a room!
Lockdown had thrown a huge spanner in the works, but in a positive way. I used to commute up to 4 hours a day pre-covid, but now I work from home 95% of the time. It has taken me a while to settle into the right frame of mind to be focused at home. My goal now is to create and sustain a daily routine which involves work, life, socializing, etc. It is an on-going goal that can be changed to suit my needs at home as well as at work.
It is so easy to forget about caring for yourself when you have kids, full-time job, a dog, other people around you needing you help/advice… Meditation has been my key (I use Insight Timer), along with using SleepStation to reset my sleeping pattern. Now, I talk more, I acknowledge my own feelings, I take time out, I listen to my own body.
As I’ve got older and hit rock bottom at times, I have realized people matter not things! I’ve always been quite materialistic, wanting something I don’t have, feeling inadequate if I haven’t got something… When I realised that this was a childhood thing and actually what I cherish most about my childhood wasn’t even the things I felt I was missing, but actually the people I had; the walks, the holidays to Devon, the film nights, the time spent with loved ones… I felt a huge weight lift from my soul. Now I take time to reflect and be thankful for the amazing people I have and cut out people who don’t bring love and kindness to my life.
Making time for hobbies is important to break up the monotony of the week. They are the building blocks that enhance our passion and make our personalities shine. My current goals include improving my photography, build my blog following, and increase fitness.
When I left the RAF I decided to boycott fitness as I no longer had to pass an annual fitness test! Anyway… 9 years later, 4 stone heavier, and a ripe age of 41, I’ve decided I need to start taking my health a little more seriously! My goal is to move more, especially now I’m working from home most of the time. I’ve joined WW to monitor my weight and decided to include fitness into my daily routine. Dancing is such a fun way to exercise and I love it, so I am going to dust off the Wii and get the Zumba game out of hiding! I’m also making a huge effort to visit the doctor when I need to, current ailments include constant headaches and depression. My depression needs constant management these days to ensure I don’t hit that rock bottom again!
What are your goals? How do you manage them and measure success? Let me know your thoughts <3