Education & Career

2016 Goal Post: Meticulous Planning Cultivates Success

January 14, 2016

I hesitated a bit about doing a goal post because even though it doesn’t always seem like it, I am actually a very private person. But I was encouraged by Tuke Morgan, and also the idea of speaking things into existence. Also, if this blog is about my journey, then it is important that I reflect on the steps along the way. Also I hope this post helps someone as they create and recreate their goals.

So in December I had a stressful bout of “what the hell am I doing with my life?!” This of course called for a reaccessing of my goals and priorities and an overhaul of my organization regime. Overhaul is a strong word because much my organization methods still remain intact from pre-December. It just got a much needed upgrade and many things were tweaked. I’ll write a post about my organization method if people are interested, but this is a goal post. So after getting that aspect of my life a bit under control I tried looking at other things I could tweak and manipulate that would make me overall more successful. I read about things such as morning and evening routines and weekly reflections. I was ready to plan, execute and reflect on whatever came my way.

As far as coming up with my goals, I hesitated between having set goals that I then give a certain number of objectives or just free forming it. I ended up going with the 2nd option and reorganizing a bit to look like the first one.

Before I did any of that though, I split my life into 10 categories, something I’ve done before but was encouraged to do again after reading bohoberry’s article. While hers is for 10 years, mine is just one so I didn’t do it exactly the same way she did. Also I didn’t force myself to do 10 points per category. This was for two reasons.

1. Some categories don’t need 10 and some need more than 10. In my financial category I only have 5 things because as a recent college grad I don’t have much going for me financially besides make money, save money and my student loans.

2. Not everything I wrote down had equal weight. Some of the things I was writing down were lofty goals/states of being (be more active), others were habits I want to cultivate (meditate), others were projects that would take me through the year (blog??) And others still were one off activities that I could tick off once complete (learn the ‘Our Father’ in French).

When I wrote out my categories, I had overarching themes guiding each one.

IMG_20160115_224818237-2

After free writing in each category, I went back through and identified which items were goals, projects, recurring activities, one off activities, skills and habits. I then thought about what my year would look like and broke it down into three parts: 1. In France: January to May. 2. In the US (most likely DC + SOMD): May to September. 3. In Nigeria: October to December (and beyond). I assigned each item in my goal list a trimester and bought a big planner. I color coded and reworte my goals.

When creating habits, it is important that you focus on one at a time instead of trying to do everything at once.

For the habits and skills, I also assigned them a month. This is because when creating habits, it is important that you focus on one at a time instead of trying to do everything at once. This is why many of us give up on our new year’s resolutions. We expect that we’ll completely change our lives in one night. But changing your life requires cultivating good habits. And cultivating good habits means giving each habit the attention it deserves. Alex Ikonn, one of the creators  of the 5 minute Journal, elaborates on that a bit in his YouTube video.

One of the reasons I was this meticulous in planning my 2016 goals is that I plan to have a meticulous year.

One of the reasons I was this meticulous in planning my 2016 goals is that I plan to have a meticulous year. I didn’t want to leave my future up to goals like ‘be more active” I wanted action plans that I would not only kick off this year but could maintain throughout the year. For example, in July, I plan on following a blogilates calendar. Go hiking is also on my to-do list. It will most likely happen in the 2nd trimester, but it doesn’t have a month yet. And that is the beauty of this goal list. Some things have rigid deadlines and others allow me to be flexible and go with the flow. I have challenges set up for myslef throughout the year. And I’ve set up everything outside my goals (organization method, morning and evening routines and weekly reflections) to ensure success. The rest is up to me.

Here is a sampling of some of the goals I have under my 10 categories:

 

Mind

  • Have a book of the month that I read for 15 minutes each day
  • Pick and actually follow a Coursera course

Body

  • Work out 3x a week for at least 30 minutes
  • Develop a yoga practice

Spirit

  • Paint, draw or do arts & crafts at least once a week
  • Continue daily journaling

Academia

  • Figure out what I want to do for grad school
  • Publish my research

Blog + Projects

  • Blog one to two times a week
  • Be better plugged into the D.C. + NYC Afropolitan community
  • Be invited to speak at an event

Finances

  • Learn to stick to my budget
  • Put at least $100 in savings each month

Family & Friends

  • Take Tayo (my little sister) on a trip
  • Skype family or a friend at home on a weekly basis

Fun & Adventure

  • Get out of Paris once a month
  • Go to Philadelphia

Work + Volunteering

  • Find an awesome well paid summer internship/job that fulfills Boren requirements
  • Fins an awesome NYSC post that reflects my goals

Personal

  • Feel fluent in French
  • Learn to cornrow & do crochet braids on myself

 

Phew! So I just picked two or three from each category, but in reality I have over 75 individual items. As I was organizing and reorganizing, it seemed daunting at first, but honestly many things on this list are things I HAVE to accomplish to move my life forwards and upwards. Others are fun and creative and I would do them even if they weren’t written down.

What are your goals for 2016? Do you have questions about the way I organized mine? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Yours,

Omolayo Nkem

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