What I Learned from Setting Daily Goals for 1 Year
Sometimes it's the simplest things that can make the biggest impact.
At the beginning of last October, I was overwhelmed by an extremely long list of to-dos. I had a very overdue oil painting commission to complete. I had an upcoming solo art show that I needed to work on pieces for. I had just moved into a new apartment (after being flooded out of my previous one) and had paperwork to fill out and boxes to unpack. I had people in my life I needed to send some encouragement to and pray for. My posture had gone out the window. I was working full time during the day, and instead of making good use of my time in the evenings, I was coming home and zoning out. Just taking care of the essentials because I "didn't have time" for anything beyond that. My to-do list was growing and I was struggling to find motivation to get things done.
My to-do list was growing and I was struggling to find motivation to get things done.
So one evening, after becoming frustrated that I wasted yet another day, I decided things needed to change. I needed to find a way to keep myself accountable. I grabbed a sticky note, and wrote the following day's date at the top. Then I made a list of what I needed to accomplish in the next 24 hours. At the bottom of the note I added the question "Did you meet your goals?" with a line to answer below. Definitely cheesy, but sometimes it's the easiest way to be direct with yourself.
I went to bed, and then a funny thing happened the next day. I actually made progress on that overdue painting commission. I turned in the paperwork for my new apartment, assembled one of those cheap bookshelves and unpacked some boxes. I actively prayed for people in my life and was conscious about my posture for the first time in months. All on top of the everyday grind. At the end of the day, I was able to check off everything on my list that had seemed like a lofty feat the day before. And when I asked myself "Did you meet your goals?", it was a good feeling to know that I actually had.
And when I asked myself "Did you meet your goals?", it was a good feeling to know that I actually had.
So that evening I listed my goals for the next day, and again I was motivated to accomplish everything I had written down. Making a list of goals become a daily habit, because it helped me stay accountable to myself. The most valuable part was taking the couple minutes to prioritize what was important for me to tackle that day. That way those were the most prevalent items in my mind, and gave my actions some direction as I went throughout my day. It's amazing how just a little bit of planning can save loads of time in the long run.
The fun part about writing this post was looking back through the notebook I made my lists in and realizing it's been a whole year since I started. Some days the goals included painting or making progress on a project. Sometimes my goals were to send someone a card or take time to read a book. Other days my lists included being thankful. And sometimes I actually had to make one of my goals be to wash the dishes, because that was the only way it was going to get done...
So was the answer to "Did you meet your goals?" always a 'yes?' Of course not. There were many days when something else would come up, or I would get rolling on a different project, or I would just plain be lazy. But making a daily list and thinking about what my priorities were led to accomplishing a lot of stuff I know I wouldn't have otherwise.
Making a daily list and thinking about what my priorities were led to accomplishing a lot of stuff I know I wouldn't have otherwise.
So friends, let me know below how you handle everything in your busy schedule- Do you set daily goals for yourself or keep strict to-do lists? Do you use a planner or have a friend keep you accountable for big projects? Tell me your tips! I want to know how you get stuff done.