How to Make 2024 the Year You Build the Life You Want
Week 2: Setting Meaningful Goals
To create meaningful goals for the new year, you have to start from a foundation of what matters to you most. If you haven’t read the first post in this series, “Identifying Your Values,” you may want to go through that exercise before you begin the goal-setting process.
Once you’ve identified the ways in which you may not be living your best life, and you’ve imagined what it would feel like if you were, it becomes a lot easier to illuminate the path to getting there.
For each value you’ve identified, think about what you can do that would make you feel like the life you’re living aligns with your values.
As an example, here’s what my list looked like at this stage:
“Read more” and “Exercise regularly” are good goals, but they’re pretty broad, which makes them both daunting and vague. Goals are easier to accomplish when you break them down into smaller, more manageable steps. Getting more specific also makes it easier to measure your success so you can celebrate your victories and build momentum. So, in this next step, let’s break these goals down into a form that will allow you to actually achieve them.
I know the idea of SMART goals isn’t original, but it’s a great way to better define your goals.
- Specific: When I say I want to finish writing projects, what projects am I thinking of?
- Measurable: When I say I want to read more—how will I decide if I’ve succeeded?
- Actionable: Make it about inputs, not outputs. I want to publish my writing, but I can’t control whether it is accepted for publication—but I can control how much I submit my work for consideration.
- Realistic: If I can’t afford to visit Spain, then I should take that off my list of goals for this year and replace it with something like “Save $X so I can visit Spain next year.”
- Time-Bound: If I’ve set large goals for myself, consider breaking them down into smaller steps with smaller time bounds. Instead of simply saying, “I want to write a novel this year,” maybe decide to write a chapter each month.
When your goals ladder up to your values, they become a roadmap for how to create a life that fulfills you, inspires you, and brings you joy.
Constructing Routines to Support Your Goals
One of the easiest ways to work toward a goal is to create a routine that helps you get there. If I want to write a novel this year, I need to write every day. If I want to be in good physical shape, I need to work out every day.
Next week, we’ll talk about how to take the beautiful, ambitious goals you’ve set for yourself and break them down into manageable steps and supportive habits.