We’re in the last few months of the year, and maybe you’ve still got some lingering resolutions or goals. Or maybe some new goals have popped up along the way. Regardless, there is definitely a way to achieve those goals in the next few months. I’d like to share a 5 step process to set and achieve your end of the year goals.
This article will help you decide on your own short-term goals and walk through how to achieve them easily.
I’ll be using one of my own goals as an example. I want to use the next two months to plan out next year’s blog content. It’s going to be a huge undertaking but something that is so worth it. I’m sure you have a similar goal that you would love to tackle, so let’s get started!
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5 Steps for Achieving End of the Year Goals
Step One: Set a reasonable number of goals
Stick to one goal, or maybe a few tasks. You don’t want to go overboard and overwhelm yourself with too many goals in a short time. If you’re having trouble narrowing it down, start by brainstorming. Get out a piece of paper and make a list of any goals you can think of that you might want to accomplish. Anything goes!
If you need help getting started, here are 10 ideas for personal development goals.
Once you have your list, go through it and settle on one or a few to focus on for the rest of the year. I’d recommend no more than three unless they’re smaller to-do list items. You probably have way more than three things on the list, so save it and use it as a starting point for New Year’s resolutions, if you’re into that sort of thing.
You also want to have a solid reason for why you want to achieve the goals you choose. Will it make your life easier or more organized? Will you learn something or improve your relationships in some way? Having a clear purpose will help you stay motivated.
I won’t bore you with my whole list, but let’s use my example. One of my main goals is to plan out as much of next year’s blog content and posts for Plants and Pondering as I can. Obviously, more ideas will come up, and I want to be flexible enough to add extra posts as I think of them. But overall, it will really help me stay on top of things to have a larger plan for the year. And as a Type-A organizing planner person, having a plan will make things much easier for me!
Step Two: Make the goals specific
If a goal is too broad, it’ll be harder to turn into actionable steps. How will you even know where to start?
Something like being healthier or saving money is probably too vague of a goal. That may be your intention or the end result, but goals should be more specific. If you just have a general idea, how are you going to do it, and how will you know if you’ve succeeded?
Instead of wanting to be healthier, you may set a goal to cook a certain number of meals at home every week. Or meal prep with healthy recipes, or work out every other day. Deciding to save $50 every week and creating a budget will be easier to execute than simply wanting to save money.
In my case, I need to be specific about what blog content I want to plan. I should decide on a certain number of post ideas, and organize them into a rough schedule. Maybe planning out three posts for each month would be a good place to start. Since I post weekly, that’ll help me have the majority of my content pre-planned, while still giving me the ability to add in extra posts throughout the year.
Step Three: Make the goals realistic
Basically, plan based on the amount of time that you’ll actually have and what you can realistically get done. Keep in mind that you’ll probably be busy and things will come up with the holidays and any other commitments or traditions you have. Plus, you’ll want some time to enjoy yourself, too!
Once you have an idea of how much time you’ll be able to devote to your goal, you may have to change the scale or adjust your expectations. Maybe you have a goal you want to work on every week, but you know you’ll be traveling for Thanksgiving. The thing won’t get done that week, but that’s okay. Maybe the work that you get at your job is always super busy at the end of the year, so you won’t have as much time for your side project. This doesn’t have to be a disappointment if you’re planning for it ahead of time.
In terms of my content planning, I would love to have 36 post concepts (for three posts per month). In an ideal world, I would spend time brainstorming, researching, and outlining for all of these ideas. But we all know that 2020 has been far from ideal! And I know that I’ll be busy with a lot of other things in the next two months. Coming up with 36 post ideas is definitely achievable. Researching and outlining all of them, not so much. Realistically, I would be happy with a big list of potential topics, with some research and rough outlines for at least 10 of them. That would give me enough of a head start to feel comfortable going into next year.
Step Four: Have a plan for staying on track
Now that you’ve got your goal(s) in mind and the scope of what you want to achieve, it’s time to get going! Any good goal comes with a plan for how you’re actually going to get there. You can’t expect to run a marathon without some kind of training routine.
There are many ways to hold yourself accountable, and you might already know what works best for you. If not, I have a post full of strategies for staying on track with your goals.
Being consistent can be the hardest part, especially when you’re super busy. Write it in your planner, set reminders, do whatever you have to do to remember, and make time for your goals.
Going back to my goal of planning blog content, I know that it’s going to require a good amount of time. I also know that I want to balance planning future content with working on the posts that I’ll be publishing for the rest of this year. To keep both things going, I’ll spend most of my time on current blog work, and then dedicate one day per week to brainstorming and working on future ideas. This is also keeping in mind that I have a full-time job that is not my blog, so a day of planning really means a few hours after work one night.
Step five: Be kind to yourself
No matter what the outcome is! Whether you succeeded with all, some, or none of your goals, be proud of yourself for trying.
We all have a lot going on during the holidays, and any effort that you can make should be recognized. It’s certainly better than putting in no effort at all.
As someone who is always way too hard on herself, this might be the most important step for me. If we’re being honest, any kind of plan for my blog posts will be better than the haphazard way that I’ve been doing things for the past few months. And I need to keep that in mind when I evaluate the progress that I’ve made. It’s all good, and I can’t wait to see the cool ideas that I can come up with.
I encourage you to have a similar feeling of kindness for yourself. Goals don’t have to be black and white. Maybe you didn’t accomplish everything you wanted to, but you still gave it a try. And that’s worth celebrating!
October Goal Reflections
Goal #1: Read two books
I finished three books this month, which is becoming the norm thanks to my audiobook subscription. Last month, I mentioned that I wanted to continue in the Chronicles of Narnia series, as well as reading Broke Millennial Takes On Investing by Erin Lowry (which we’ll get to in a minute).
The two Narnia books that I finished were The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis. I think that Dawn Treader is actually my favorite so far, which I was not expecting. It was such a lovely story of a great journey. It also explores the far eastern sea all the way to the edge of the world, which had some really interesting world-building. The Silver Chair was another fun adventure into the depths and the countries that exist underground. Who knew that there was a whole kingdom underneath Narnia? I sure didn’t! This also means I only have one book left: The Last Battle.
The final book that I read was A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green. This was the final part of his debut duology. I read the first book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, last year, and I was instantly drawn into the story. It felt like so long waiting for the second book, so it was really satisfying that it concluded the way that it did. If you’re looking for very well-informed commentary about internet fame, social media, and a guess as to what would happen if an otherworldly being decided to visit, you have to check out this series!
Goal #2: Gratitude lists
My intention was to write down a gratitude list at least 4 times per week or 16 total lists for the month. My grand total was 15, so just shy of my goal, but still pretty good! I’m going to count that as a win since this month was a busy one.
I’m not including this as a goal for November, but I still plan to keep up the habit because it is so helpful for my mental health. As someone who tends to see the negative in everything, making gratitude habitual helps me to focus on the good. I want to remember all the ways that things are going right, instead of just what’s going wrong, which has been a lot of things this year.
I will still write this down as a to-do in my planner every day, and I will keep writing as often as I can. Gratitude lists are also an easy way to get into journaling. It gives you some direction so you’re not just staring at a blank page wondering what to write about.
Goal #3: Make an investment
I’m so happy to say that this is done! My order went through last night, and it feels great.
I planned to read Broke Millennial Takes On Investing this month as a way to educate myself before diving in. I’m not finished yet, but I’m about 80% of the way through. And I’ve already learned enough to feel somewhat confident in my first investment (besides my 401(k)). I really appreciate the way Erin stressed the importance of making sure you’re in a secure financial position before investing. She answers a lot of relevant questions that people in their 20s or 30s may have.
There’s a whole world of financial advice and content out there that I was totally unaware of until a few weeks ago. I’ve really been getting into personal finance and learning how to build wealth through investing. There’s always more to learn, but it seems like such empowering knowledge to have since most of us aren’t taught any of this in school.
One resource that I’m loving is the Clever Girls Know podcast. Bola Sokunbi runs the website Clever Girl Finance, which is full of amazing financial information and advice. The podcast is great because the guests are all women who have really taken control of their money and become successful no matter their circumstances. Such an inspiration!
Goal #4: Enjoy the fall season
It seems like fall has already come and gone! I know it hasn’t, but it’s getting pretty cold and most of the trees have lost their leaves for the year.
My boyfriend and I made our traditional apple pie and had a lovely time with it. We also decorated the apartment a bit, mostly with decorations from last year. We tried to look for new Halloween decorations, but by mid-October, a lot of stores had already gone full Christmas-mode. I’m definitely not complaining, but I know to start looking for fall stuff earlier next year.
I’ve tried to make an effort to really notice the leaves on the trees every time I go out so that I can see how they’ve changed. Some trees have already lost all of their leaves, but some are still hanging onto beautiful shades of orange and red. I so appreciate all of the colors.
Usually, I’m so eager to jump into winter and the whiteness of the snow, but there’s something so magical about the colors of fall that I feel like I’m really noticing for the first time. Maybe not the first time, but with a renewed sense of awe, I suppose. Nothing like a crazy pandemic to make you appreciate the little things.
November 2020 Goals
Goal #1: Read two books
This goal is pretty much a given at this point. I’ve been able to consistently read at least two books for the past few months. Audiobooks have been a big help with this!
I’ll definitely finish The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis which will wrap up the Chronicles of Narnia series for me. I’ll have to do some browsing and decide what I want to listen to next.
Also, I want to finish Crave by Tracy Wolff, which I started in October but couldn’t quite finish by the end of the month. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I have, but it’s been a really nice world to escape to. It was compared to Twilight, but honestly, I think the writing in Crave is a lot better. Maybe just because it’s more current? But either way, it’s nice to see representation and normalization of dealing with mental health issues, positive coping mechanisms, and going to therapy, plus all of the teenage angst and vampires that you’d expect.
Goal #2: Brainstorm next year’s content
This is the example I was using above, so I think it should be clear what I want to accomplish now!
I want to have a good-sized list of post ideas, along with some research, outlines for some of the posts, and probably a rough editorial calendar to spread out when I want to post which topics.
A plan would be hugely beneficial to me because I have been coming up with all of my post ideas week to week. I have no backlog or cushion, so when I have a really busy week at work or something, I just can’t get through the whole process for a new post that week. Consistency is so important to me, and I want to get better about it so that the quality of my blog doesn’t suffer. You all deserve the best, and I want to provide it!
Goal #3: Prioritize self-care
I know this is kind of a vague goal, and it doesn’t even follow the goal-setting structure that I outlined above, lol. But the intention with this is to make sure that my self-care doesn’t get pushed to the bottom of the list. I’ll have to juggle a bunch of other stuff like work, blogging tasks, prepping for the holidays, and other assorted life things.
Those things are all important, but so is self-care!
I guess if I had to be more specific, I want to make sure that I’m doing some form of self-care every day. I imagine that sometimes it’ll be more than one thing, and maybe even a whole self-care night if I’m lucky, but at least one thing. Lately, some of my favorite self-care activities have been reading, playing with my guinea pigs, watching YouTube videos, and cross-stitching!
So there you have my strategy for how to set end of the year goals! Plus my reflections on my October goals and new goals for November. The end of the year is approaching, but we still have time to make a difference.
There’s never a wrong time to start new habits, complete a goal, or figure out what you want your life to look like!
What’s one thing that you want to accomplish before the new year? Or something that you already did this year that you’re super proud of? Let me know by leaving a comment!
You might also be interested in creating an at-home fall bucket list or 10 ideas for personal development goals.