Bark less, Wag more, Be generous

Creating Goals for the New Year

2019 was a fun year, but it’s time to refocus and create new goals for the new year. In the past I’ve been terrible at writing goals. I often wouldn’t create personal goals for myself, and I’d create work goals that were obvious or guaranteed. But after re-visiting this post from Mr. Money Mustache I decided it’s time to create real goals and post them online. I’d also like to challenge you to make your own goals and publish them online.

When writing goals there a 7 areas of your life that you focus on. In each of these areas in life you are either evolving of declining. You win at what you prioritize. It’s not necessary to create a goal for each area, but you should be aware of the areas that are declining and adjust accordingly.

The 7 Types of Goals

  • Financial Goals – Save more, Crush debt, Optimize your credit cards, put more in your 401k or IRA, create a budget.
  • Spiritual Goals – Read the Bible, Connect with a great church, start a devotional, etc.
  • Fitness Goals – This one is obvious and difficult. Eat better, exercise more, take the stairs.
  • Educational Goals – What do you want to learn this year? Read more, take a class on Youtube, renew that Lynda subscription.
  • Family Goals – Be intentional about planning one-on-one time with your spouse or kids. Put the phone down and listen more.
  • Career Goals – Another obvious one. Work on getting a promotion or raise, polish up that résumé, apply to a new job, or finish that project you’ve been pushing off.
  • Social Goals – Reconnect with old friends, get coffee with a co-worker and get to know them better.

Building Better Goals

There’s a simple and easy format to use when creating goals. I’m a technology guy, so I use the User Story format.

As a [IDENTITY], I would like to [ACTION], so that I can [RESULT].

This is a strange way to write a sentence, but it has some very import things in a simple structure:

  • It forces you to think of what a goal means to you
  • Clearly states the action and result in order to build better habits
  • This format allows you to easily generate action steps for accomplishing the result

To be honest the identity portion isn’t necessary, but it does force you to think about why the goal is important to you

The second part of this format that makes it so powerful is the acceptance criteria. These are simple and actionable steps that can be clearly measured and followed. In the IT world we call these acceptance criteria, they are designed to be binary; either finished, or unfinished , no in between.

Here’s an example:

As a writer and blogger, I would like to grow my blog, so that I can share my knowledge and inspire others.

  • Publish a blog post every Tuesday, at least 50 weeks of the year
  • Engage with follows on social media and via email when requested
  • Post each blog entry to twitter to promote conversation

My Goals for 2020

Now that we know how to build goals let me reveal my goals for 2020.

As a husband, I’d like to go to the gym at least twice per month with my wife, so that I can get healthier and build better habits.

  • Attend the gym twice per month
  • Track and increase weight lifting and distance running

As a person seeking to retire early, I would like to increase my saving rate so that I can retire early to help people and live a purpose filled life.

  • Invest all extra money from bonus, and raises into index funds
  • Continue to fund investments despite market conditions
  • Encourage friends and family members to save and invest

As a professional seeking to learn more, I would like to read more and learn more so that I can write better content and make myself more valuable to my company.

  • Read 4 useful books in 2020
  • Use the information learned to add value to my employer or this blog

Final Thoughts

Goals, are important, and developing the habit of making and reviewing goals is the best way to ensure that we are continuing to grow. What you prioritize is what you win at, the key to success is focus. By focusing on a few important goals, we can build better habits and accomplish more.

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