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Creating Values-Based Goals for 2019

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creating values-based goals for 2019

using trello, what’s important to you, and lots of COLORS to plan your year

I believe in the power of fresh starts, which is why I decided to kick off 2019 with a brand-new writing blog! This blog will be dedicated to writing advice, updates on my writing, and some shouting about books I love. Now, let’s get started with some productivity advice.

What Goals Mean to Me

As a Slytherclaw, Virgo, and INTJ, I adore goal-setting. Unfortunately, in 2018 I lost sight of the bigger picture of my life thanks to a slew of health issues.

Fun fact: depression, pneumonia, a full-time internship, and living in New York City are not the best combination.

In 2019, I hope to have a better time of it thanks to graduation, a new job, a permanent move to New York City, and having a solid healthcare team since I won’t be moving back and forth between my hometown and my college anymore.

Improving my life starts with having a plan to achieve what I want. That plan is, my friends, what I call my Map of Goals. Or Goal Map. Goal-y Map-y Plan-y? Whatever. I like throwing map in there because that’s what goals are: a roadmap to getting what you want, on your own terms. Years that I have goals tend to be more productive than years I don’t, even when I spectacularly fail my goals (*ahem* 2018 *ahem*).

Why Write Goals According to Your Values?

When I was enrolled in a partial hospitalization program (PHP) this fall, we learned about creating our values systems. These are the words we strive to embody within our lives. The words that represent what we believe in and, to an extent, why. There’s no good or bad values system: your values system is your own and shouldn’t be influenced by the opinions of others.

My six key values are safety, independence, contribution, creativity, self-care, and self-development. When I sat down to do my annual goal planning, I considered the values-based work I’d done in therapy. A lightbulb went off: if I try to embody those values in my life, why not base my goals on them?

I’ve experimented with categorizing goals (like Health & Wellness; Volunteering; Career, etc.) with some degree of success, but this system felt inherently right to me. My favorite part of it is that I can have goals in as many of those “life categories” as I want, as long as they align with my values.

Creating Values-Based Goals (With an Example!)

Now for the fun part: creating your goals!

Note About My Goals

I’ve hidden some of the goals on my Trello board because they’re ~secret~ or I just didn’t want them public. For example, I’m not showing my completed goals or my Safety, Self-Care, and Independence goals. Therefore, this isn’t a complete picture of my life, but it’s pretty close.

The Goals Themselves

For each value, I developed 3-4 SMART goals. I know this sounds like a LOT of goals, but I mixed in some easy ones (creating a vision board) and ones I knew I’d accomplish anyways (starting my new job). Why? Though I knew I’d get them anyways, I still need those wins! And it’s not like they’re small wins: a goal not pictured here is college graduation, something I’ve worked toward basically my entire life.

You might want to start off with one goal. Or two. Or maybe expand it to five or six. The point of goal setting is to find what’s most comfortable for you, and create a system that will enable you to achieve your goals.

elmore 2019 goals trello label system

Using Trello

I love Trello for goal setting because it’s so visual! Trello works by utilizing boards (2019 Goals screenshot above), lists (“Creativity”, “Self-Development”, and “Contribution”), and cards (“Complete DEATH BY SOCIETY revision.”). This format sets it apart, especially when you consider that you can create custom board covers, add labels, include notes, and mark deadlines.

My label system is pictured to the right, and explained below.

  • In Progress: I’m making progress toward completing this goal.

  • Habits to Build: These are goals that I hope to form as habits, rather than one-time events. My best examples of these are my goals to watch TED talks and read nonfiction books. Both will help increase my intellectual curiosity, something I already have but am always seeking to improve.

    • Pro Tip: I track my daily TED talks progress and taking my antidepressants on the Day by Day Android app. Super easy to use!

  • Complete!: I finished this goal.

  • Q1 (Jan to Mar), Q2 (Apr to Jun), Q3 (Jul to Sept), Q4 (Oct to Dec): Breaking my goals down by quarter gives me a better picture of my entire year. While planning my year, I’d realized that I stacked way too many goals into Q1, and shifted some to April to June, which should be a slightly less intense time. Though only slightly, since I do have a move to New York City, thesis presentation, and, um, GRADUATION.

  • Cancelled: No, this isn’t Twitter after someone messes up one time (I’m sorry, I had to say it!). My cancelled goals are ones that I no longer wish to pursue, or cannot because of external circumstances. It happens.

Going In-Depth on a Few Goals

  1. Apply to be a Crisis Counselor at the Crisis Text Line. This is a goal that may end up in the “Cancelled” column, but I am hoping that it sticks! I want to volunteer more, and this seems like the best way to make an impact while staying inside (look, I’m going to have to schlep it to work every day soon enough), helping other mentally ill/troubled people, and increasing my communication skills. The part of this I anticipate having trouble with is asking for references, because I hate asking other people for help.

  2. Learn to play “Thank U, Next” on my keyboard. My mom got me a used keyboard last year, and it’s kind of just…sitting in my apartment because of my cacophony of health problems. I’d wanted to learn it this summer, but there was no way I was hauling my keyboard to Tribeca. Learning “Thank U, Next”, a song that helped me deal with trauma from leaving an emotionally abusive/toxic friendship, is a tangible goal to strive toward. I’ve always loved music and used to take music classes in school, so I’m excited to go back into it!

  3. Create a vision board. I did this a year or two back for class, but want to create an updated one that looks like an aesthetic. That way, I can stare at it and remember what I’m fighting for. I’m prepared to fight for the life that I want, a life full of love, happiness, tempered mental illness, and flourishing in my career and hobbies.

Questions to Guide Your Goal Planning

  1. What could I accomplish this year that will truly fulfill my creative spirit? Home life? Work life? (You get the picture.)

  2. What goal tracking methods have I used in the past? Did they work? Where did they fall short?

  3. Will I work better with paper or digital goal tracking?

  4. What areas of my life could use more work?

  5. What major life events are happening that could affect my productivity?

  6. Am I prepared to budge on some of these goals in case life throws curveballs? If so, what’s my Plan B?

  7. What financial, material, time, and human resources will I need to complete my goals?

  8. Am I pushing myself too far? Am I not pushing myself far enough?

  9. Are there any mental, emotional, physical, and/or spiritual health considerations I need to take into account?

  10. Are these goals truly important to me?

Pro Tips

  • Brainstorm your goals on paper or in a text file first! This creates a freeflow of ideas and allows you to simply dream before committing yourself.

  • After drafting your goals, transform them to a SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely) format so you know exactly what you would like to accomplish.

  • Remember that IT’S OKAY TO ADJUST OR DROP YOUR GOALS OR NOT EVEN HAVE GOALS AT ALL. I’m a hyper-organized Virgo, so this is the method that works for me. Even if you base your planning on this method, you’ll surely tweak it — and that’s perfectly fine, normal, and a-okay. Don’t let strangers on the Internet tell you how to live. We don’t know what’s best for you! You know what’s best for you!

  • Adding visuals to your Trello board can really help. I created custom board covers, but in truth you can just slap a photo from Unsplash up there and it’ll look beautiful.

(A Very Short) Conclusion

I hope this blog post has given you some insight into how you can set and track your goals! For the commenters: What are your 2019 goals? How do you keep track of them?