February 4, 2013

How are you doing on your New Year's goals?

a picture from Instagram of my new glasses, just because.

This morning I had planned to put up a different post, but instead of diving right into my work, I did something I've been meaning to do every morning in the month of January, but majorly dropped the ball on: beginning my day with a "quiet time." For me, quiet time includes mostly prayer and visualization of achieved goals, and lasts about 5 to 10 minutes (that's all I seem to have the attention span for, for pretty much anything these days). For you, quiet time may or may not include prayer, and it might happen in the shower or while you're nursing your baby or on the car ride in to work or right there at your desk before your day begins. I'm trying to remember that there's no wrong way to do a quiet time--the point is to get yourself centered each morning - to get your head in the game - focusing on what you want to accomplish, and ready to work towards your goals.

Goals. Speaking of those, how did you do on your resolutions in January? I wrote down some overarching goals at the beginning of last month, and like I mentioned in this post, I put bright neon stickers on the first of each month in my calendar throughout the remainder of the year, to remind me to revisit and reevaluate those goals every month. It's already the 4th of February now, but I still sat down and took a look at what I'd written out last month, and as it happens, I only followed through with ONE of the five most major ones I wanted to accomplish in January (the one I followed through on was to blog at least 6 of my backlogged photo sessions, and I blogged 8, over on my photography blog. Hooray!).

I was pretty disappointed, though, to see that I hadn't done the other four pretty major things I wanted to  have completed last month, and it got me thinking about the difference between successful people and people who never quite get things done. I think the difference is FOCUS and ACTION. My husband is the most focused and action-oriented person I have ever know, and it's why he succeeds at anything and everything he puts his mind to. Because while the rest of us are twiddling our thumbs and talking about and writing about and dreaming about our goals, the successful people are making it happen through whatever means it takes. Writing those emails, making those calls, putting in late hours, making big sacrifices, setting priorities, taking risks, putting themselves out there, doing hard or tedious things that other people don't have patience for, and so on.

So I guess the conclusion that I've come to is that, no, January wasn't a complete loss just because I only accomplished one of my five goals. It was a learning experience, and a chance to tweak how I'm doing things to ensure that MORE of those goals get reached in the month of February. Months serve as excellent mile-markers, but change comes in the decisions we make right now, in the present. Action-oriented decisions, like to have a quiet time in the morning and get centered, and then lay out your list of actions needed to get you where you need to be. But the most critical part is in the doing them.

Lastly, if you're not deeply offended by a little strong language, go read this article titled "6 harsh truths that will make you a better person." It seriously blew my mind, and opened my eyes (it's hilarious, too). What you DO really is all that matters.



  1. What a great post Jenni! You are SO right. The secret behind being successful is no secret. You just have to actually work for it instead of just wishing for it. I have a horrible problem with that. I'm a huge dreamer, but I need to actually put the work into it. I wish I had the determination trait. It totally didn't happen for me, but that doesn't mean I can't make it happen. Thanks for the encouraging words!

  2. Last year, I set 12 goals for the year and only accomplished about 3 and a half of them. This year, I've decided to set 5 goals each month so that I can focus on them for a shorter period of time and not get distracted. I completed all 5 January goals (read one book, lose one pound, and some others). So far, 4 days in, I'm already struggling with February's goals. I definitely look at goals as a learning experience and not a loss when you don't accomplish them as expected.

  3. I've been working on quiet time too - I used to do yoga until I moved to Gabon where I got out of the habit and had no where to take classes. The other night I was horrified at how stiff my body had become (I don't bounce back quite like I used to!) as I sat down on the floor to do some stretching. Now, I'm trying to start the day with several sun salutations and then I'm following a 4 week meditation guide I found online. Some days are better than others but I'm persevering.
    Good luck with yours!

  4. I've been a major slacker on goals this year. I have them in my mind, but haven't actually taken the time to write any down and think them through. I think you're so right- action really is what makes a person successful. The biggest and best ideas are nothing without it. Good reminder, J!

  5. What a fantastic post that I REALLY needed. Kudos lady. Kudos.
    I'm off to DO and FOCUS and take ACTION!!

  6. Well my only goal I set for myself this year is actually coming to pass tonight. I just wanted to ween Adiah this year, and that may sound like no biggie but this boy is seriously a breast milk guy. At one point I felt like I was going to have to go to college and then on with him when he got married.not kidding he was that addicted. Anyways, tonight is the first night I will be putting him to bed without Nursing...We will see how it goes.

    I think I may need to find a new goal since it happened quicker than I thought it would. I hope you get what you want accomplished this month!! Have a great day Jenni.

  7. What a great post, I'm so glad you took the time to reflect this morning and share with all of us. I think I've been doing pretty good on my goals, but that's probably because I broke them down into shorter (almost monthly goals) to make them a little more attainable. I am still slacking at my sweat once a day goal, but hoping that because I recognize it, I can fix it!

    X Kenzie


  8. I am making monthly goals and did well in January. I need to blog my February ones today :).

  9. I've only managed to accomplish 5 of my 14 goals for the month of January. Some of them I knew would be ongoing but I really thought I'd get more done. For me, it was life that got in the way. We got engaged and bc we're planning to have the wedding later this year, the planning started almost immediately. I still feel good knowing I was able to accomplish at least some of my goals for the month and I already have a plan of attack for making February more productive. I think as long as you reflect at the end of each month and evaluate how you can make the next month better, you'll constantly be making progress. It is barely February, after all. Lots of time left to accomplish those 2013 goals! :)

  10. i posted last week about my goals.. not exactly triumphant but not bad either. i think as long as something is learned, it's not all a wash. and that article? oh man, that article really DID change my laugh. gave me the good kick in the ass i needed- even justin has noticed! so thanks for sharing that.

    and hey, to even MAKE goals, let alone accomplish ANY of them, is quite an achievement. i think we are definitely on the right path... AND, we have successful, sexy husbands, too.

    just thought i'd throw that last part in there. because it's the truth (;

  11. This is a great post Jenni. I'm all about visualization and writing down your goals, but it doesn't mean anything unless you actually go out and do it. I know that this year is going to be wonderful for you (and me too). We just need to go out and do it! xoxoxo

  12. I don't even remember my goals from January :/


  13. I love that you talk about your quiet time praying and then send me over to an article with dirty language ;) I really mean it! I like to see myself as a good girl with an "edge" also. Ok so maybe "good girl" is pushing it but you know what I mean.

    And as per your question, I am doing HORRIBLE on my new years resolutions. Maybe next year...

  14. What a good Idea to revist each goal every month. I'm definitely going to do that.. I need to keep myself accountable.

  15. That article was great! Really wish I could've said this "Here's that shit you needed. Now fuck off." to a few of the tables I waited on in college lol.

    I read the "Willpower Instinct" earlier this year, and it's really helped me understand why it is we fail at some goals and succeed at others, and when setting a willpower challenge to learn to take your time when you want to make a change or strive to achieve a goal. Hope that helps! :)


  16. I loved that article!
    I'd say you're doing a great job at moving forward and being productive with your life. However, you're right, there is always room for improvement and I love the idea of "re-evaluating" at the start of each new month. I'm failing miserably at my resolutions and goals, but tomorrow is a new day, right?!

  17. Thank you so much for sharing that article (and for the warning of strong language!) I think I need to read something like that each month to snap me out of the rut I always fall into - I loved it! Bout time someone said it as it truly is :)
    Cheers! Lou @ The Honesty Path

  18. Oh man, you're so right. I'm one of those people who tend to over think EVERYTHING I do and in the process get nowhere! I terrified myself the other day by thinking one twelfth of the year is already gone.

    Probably time for me to go read those harsh truths!

  19. I haven't accomplished any of the goals I set for myself this year. Although they are not really monthly goals but things I want to have finished by the time the year is up.
    I loved that article you recommended by the way. A real eye opener.
    Kayleigh http://www.thewayiwanderlust.blogspot.com.au

  20. I think I'm doing okay with my New Years resolution. The only one I set was to let it go. Yep, that simple. I'm a bit of a control freak and must have every component of my life planned out. Not just plan A, but plan B (and sometimes C). I just want to let it go, do what makes me happy, and not worry about it so much!

    Thank you for this post, as I needed this reminder. Happy Monday!

  21. You just reminded me of something that I had planned to do today. It wasn't life changing, but it was important to someone special out there. Thank you for that! I don't like making New Year's Resolutions, but that doesn't mean that I don't make goals for myself. I'm currently putting some of them into action.

    I read the article you mentioned when you posted it several days ago on your Facebook page. It was so amazing. I like how he basically draws out Gandhi's quote "you must be the change you wish to see in the world," and slaps you in the face. It was a good wake-up call for me on how to take criticism in the work place.

    LC from theworldofellesee

  22. my goals and I are not really seeing eye-to-eye...maybe next month. Love that article you linked!

  23. Thank you for sharing that article...it's what I needed to hear!

  24. don't give up and try again in february :)

  25. I didn't make any resolutions this year. I feel like if I do, then I'm definitely pin to fail. I get more done without them. I do like having little to do lists each month, every week, almost very stay to make sure I get everything done. I also have lists of things I've already done so I feel accomplished.


  26. wow, i was trying trying to find something to read, i dont know what i am looking for but this is exactly what i needed. thanks for sharing.

  27. Before the new year I got myself two planners. One to keep as a diary (I've managed to write everyday since the 1st!) and one to keep track of my goals and spending. At the start of each month, I write down two things I'd like to accomplish, and revisit it once the month has passed.

    For January it was to run & blog 3-4 times a week. I've been good with running at least three times a week. But with blogging it's been a little more of a struggle. Hopefully this month will be the month..

    A lot of us have excuses and say "we're too busy" to do the things we love. But after reading 168 Hours: You Havre More Time Than You Think by Laura Vaderkam, I've come to realise that there IS enough time... It's just a matter of deciding what to cut out to fit in what you TRULY love :)

    Sorry, went off on a bit of a rant... I've been reading your blog for over a year now, thought it was time I start commenting ;)

    Francesca Bee

  28. This lit a fire under my butt! Thank you! =)
    I have been a little too nonchalant about my goals lately, kind of brushing them under the rug to be dealt with later. I seriously do not want to be the kind of person who lets life happen to them without taking any action to fulfill their dreams. So again, thanks for sharing these thoughts!

  29. The entire time I was reading this I just felt like telling you that accomplishing one goal is amazing, that you shouldn't beat yourself up about only doing that ONE thing (because really, you went above and beyond on that one thing), etc. Goals are hard. I hate even calling them that, I like using more active words to characterize thinking about what I want. I, like you, love the idea of visualizations. So there's the visualization and then you go back to where you are and think about what gets you from where you are to where you want to be. Then you turn that gap into "action items." I think that subtle language switch gets you in the mindframe to DO. Not everyone is the same so maybe this won't work for you, but I thought I should share on the off chance that it actually helps. Some people's personalities are more oriented towards this type of "get 'er done" attitude and I think it is really unfair and unhelpful to compare ourselves too much to others because it wastes a lot of that positive energy that "successful" people are using constructively into negative "why don't I have what (blank) has" sort of thinking" for most people. Again, it works for some people, but I think you just need to be you, visualize what YOUR success works for and figure out how to get there with what YOU have and who you are.


Thanks so much for leaving your two cents! I read and appreciate every comment and respond when I can. Thanks for reading. :)

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