I was never the over-achiever in school. When I got good grades, it was because the subject came easily to me, not because I worked extra hard for it. I liked to do just what I had to to get by.
And then I graduated college and became a grown-up and realized that things don't get handed to you anymore. There are no counselors, professors, or even parents to check up on us, to make sure we're on the right path and moving forward in life and flossing our teeth.
And so I forced myself to become one of those driven, go-getter people I used to roll my eyes at during awards ceremonies in middle school. I was frustrated with where I was in life spiritually, creatively, professionally; I was aimless in pretty much every way. So I started to set goals. And was totally blown away when it actually worked.
I know so many awesome things in my life have been total gifts and have nothing to do with me making it happen. But I have set a clear path of dreams and expectations, and I know from experience that when you do that, crazy things just happen.
I could talk about this all day, but mostly I wanted to share some of my favorite tools for goal setting. At the end of the day, all you really need is a dream and the time to write it all out, but here are some fun extras that have helped me over the past few years.
I've used this (free!) resource for years and filling it out has become one of my favorite year-end traditions. It's basically a workbook where you reflect on the previous year and set intentions for the year ahead. I've learned so much about myself through this process and highly, highly recommend it. You can print the workbook out for free, or do like me and simply write it all out in your journal.
I got this 2016 planner/goal tracker in the mail a week ago and I absolutely love it. It's a planner, but so much more than that. If you know anything about its creator, Elise Blaha Cripe, you know that she is passionate about goal setting and taking actionable steps to making big things happen. It's a little more than I would ordinarily spend on a planner, but I am so glad I invested in it for the upcoming year.
Also made by Elise, this is a simple daily goal tracker where you can track your progress over the year. I plan on using this to help me keep track of my 365 photo-a-day project.
Okay, I've never actually used these, but I've heard great things about them. If you haven't heard of Lara Casey, you need to check out her website like yesterday and prepare to spend a good hour wading through her encouraging, practical tips on making things happen and, more importantly, keeping Jesus first.
So tonight I plan on sitting by the Christmas tree with a candle and cup of chocolate mint tea and making big plans and goals for the coming year. Not because it's the thing to do but because it really, really makes a difference when you take an honest look at your life and celebrate your successes as well as make plans for improvements. If you have any goal setting tips or ideas, I'd love to hear them! Here's to finishing out 2015 with a bang!