Spring Bucket List - Success or Failure?? Don't Wait for New Year's to Change Your Life - Tips for Setting Goals!

YES!  Great tips for getting those resolutions back on track now that we're half way through the year...!  Frustrated With Meeting Your Goals? I've Got Tips and a Monthly Check-In! setting attainable goals, achieving resolutions, link-up linky, tips for succeeding and making your goals work, virtual accountability for progress, via Devastate Boredom
Goals, schmoals.  

Everyone was posting their goals on their blogs after New Years, and I felt super jaded about it... all like, "those aren't attainable goals!  You're going to get discouraged" or, "those are way too many goals!  You're just going to get frustrated!"  And in a lot of the cases, I was probably right.  A lot of those people probably did find their New Year's resolutions discouraging, and have probably forgotten about them altogether by now.  

BUT when my pal Lisa over at Syncopated Mama asked her readers for a "spring bucket list" as part of her series 5 After 5 a while back, I went ahead and responded... and *surprised gasp*, it actually was motivating.

This was my list at the time...

  • Finish the historical fiction novel I started for Nanowrimo (I am getting SO CLOSE *sigh*)
  • Teach my dogs leash walking (not close at all... overwhelmed by this one...)
  • Do some crafty stuff (decoupage and maybe paint on some canvases I've got gathering dust)
  • Go to Austen for the weekend and maybe stay a night at a state park too (since we're moving this summer presumably, and I'd like to explore TX a little more before we do)

And the results...

Spring is now officially over, and I'm happy to say I've completed three of the four!  

1)  Teach my dogs leash walking. My dogs are leash-walking like pros (80% of the time anyhow, which is what trainers usually say you can expect from a well-behaved dog).  Hurray!  It wasn't nearly as hard as I was fearing either -- I practiced leash-skills with both of them, separately, for fifteen minutes each for about two weeks, with periodic individual refreshers after that.  

2)  Do some crafty stuff.  I haven't decoupaged or painted those canvases yet, but I DID finish a crafty project!  Check out my post on how I transformed an old Mighty Mouse graphic tee into a fashionable accessory...!  I also created a number of free printables, which was way more graphic-design-y than anything I'd ever dabbled in before.  I really like how they turned out!  Hop over there to check them out and download if you like.  :)

3)  Stay a night at a state park.  I didn't actually get a chance to travel in TX before moving, but we did meet this goal in a slightly different form!  We actually went camping for a night at a state park, which was totally new for us.

4)  Finish my Nanowrimo Novel.  I made progress on this one, but haven't yet finished it.  I am closer now though!

You might be wondering, as I was, why this set of goals worked out to be motivating and attainable for me, when so many resolutions aren't.  I pondered that, and here's what I came up with.

How to make goals that will actually motivate, instead of discouraging you:
  • Pick a reasonable number of goals. If you have twenty goals that you are tackling all at once, you're going to get discouraged.  Period, end of story.  Honestly, the human brain can't even RETAIN that many thoughts / goals... pick no more than seven, and probably just start with four or five.  I say seven because it's the so-called Magical Number of things your short-term memory can hold... and I recommend actually starting with four or five because it's better to begin with less and have success, than to bite off more than you can chew and give the whole thing up in a fit of frustration.
  • Pick goals that are within your control.  A lot of times people say to make your goal "measurable," but goals like, "increase my twitter following by 500" or "lose 10 lbs" are measurable, but honestly not entirely within your control.  Discouragement, here we come!  A better goal would be, "each week follow 150 new folks on twitter, to begin growing my own following," and "work out four times a week."  You are in control of your own efforts, and if it results in 500 twitter followers or 10 lbs lost at the end of the month, amazing!  But by making your goal within your control means you can meet it, and feel great about your success, even if you've "only" lost 7 lbs, or "only" have 378 new followers. 
  • Pick goals with room for flexibility.  If you say "have 30 minutes of activity a day" rather than "go running every day," you can meet your goal even if you end up with terrible allergies, or torrential rains in your area, and end up doing workout videos online instead.  Similarly, "do a family activity outside of our house twice a month" is going to be more attainable than "go bowling twice a month."  When you sprain your ankle, or one of the kids decides they hate bowling, you have room to pick other options and still meet your goal.  My "do some crafty stuff" ended up looking differently than I expected, but I still was able to nurture my creativity and complete a project, both of which made me feel great.
  • Find accountability.  For me, this was sharing my goals with my bloggy pal Lisa previously, and sharing my progress with y'all now.  You can tap into that accountability by joining the monthly goal link-up I'm starting, or by leaving a comment sharing your goals, or by sharing your goals on facebook, on by looping in your bestie and telling one another your goals... there are lots of ways you can do this!
  • Make it hard to forget your goals!  Set yourself reminder alerts on google calendar -- write "goal check!!" in your planner -- set an alarm on your phone -- write "work out!" on a sticky note and put it on your box of cereal -- etc!  Time can slip by so quickly if you aren't paying attention, so FIND ways to pay attention!

Okay, it's your turn... time to do some pondering on what goals you'd like to set, now that we're officially half way through the year!  Think of it as getting a head start on next January's resolutions... you can be so far ahead of the game if you start now, just a little at a time!  

Once you've done some thinking, swing back by here next week (subscribe so you can find me again, if you haven't already!) and get some accountability by making your new goals public.  Or, quick scramble to catch up on YOUR spring bucket list, and then you can share your successes with me!  ;P  

Either way, looking forward to seeing you back soon.  :)

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  1. I gave up on goals. I just do whatever suits me anymore and it's all good. I guess having goals is good in a way, but not for me.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺

  2. Where's the link to the amazing Mighty mouse project??

  3. Good job on your novel progress and dog leash training!
    I see you've done a lot so far and it's only July. Nice!

  4. Goal #1 - catch up on alllll those emails from when we were gone. And hey, I made it down to the point of this post, so that's progress, right? Yeah on the dog-leash-walking - - which I can affirm that you have taken care of COMPLETELY! Those two are such fabulous pups - I know you won't be surprised to hear that Gv is STILL talking about them almost daily! So hey, I hope you keep doing this goal thing, because maybe I can even join in and write a post of my own instead of hijacking yours in the comments - and I have a bunch of canvases I want to paint, too, so maybe we could come up with some fun project to both work on - let's have one of those wine & painting parties or something (virtually, of course!) :D


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