Time for a Change? Tools for Setting Goals

As I sit in my office this morning and look out at the snow globe world outside my windows, I realize this is one of the last articles I’ll be writing at this desk. This month I have many shifts happening in my life, the most tangible one being a move to a new home. This is how my life tends to work: one change leads to another, or somehow they all converge at once. Often, things reach a boiling point before I even realize change needs to happen.

And the best person to make change is me.

The reality is: we’re just darn too busy. Too many balls in the air. Never enough time. Always coping and prioritizing to-do lists. And no margin should something go wrong, such as sickness (even a minor cold), unexpected travel plans or a big opportunity we can’t turn down.

I say “we” because I’m talking about my family. I don’t know too many couples where both parents freelance, but in my experience the best way to keep things under control is to put everything out on the table and treat it as something we all need to work through in order to maintain some semblance of balance.

So, while the pot threatens to boil over, I thought it was high-time to start taking out some of the water bit-by-bit. And I do that by shifting focus and settings some goals. But, not just any goals: S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. This was a concept I learned when I worked at lululemon athletica. Keeping goals specific, realistic and time-sensitive makes all the difference, and I have seen them make a big impact in my own life.

Care to join me in goal setting?


Download the Goal Setting Sheet in two formats:

PDF    WORD


Resources:

A New Year on the Horizon: 3 Goals for 2015

Each year for me ends with a reflection on the previous twelve months, a review of last year’s goals, and goal-setting for the year to come. I can attribute much of my progress and evolution, particularly in my career, to clear goal-setting and revisiting my intentions often. I normally break these down into short, medium and long-term goals, but for the purposes of this post, I’ll keep it to the bigger picture. I recently included these in my newsletter with more of a backstory, if you’d like to read that, too.

Before I continue with my goals, I’d like to say thank you to my community, supportive readers, mentors and clients. It has been one of my more challenging years, but I feel so blessed with rich relationships – in work and in life. I also feel blessed with experiences, such as touring the South Pacific with my family, outdoor adventures, frequent publishing opportunities, and new ventures with my career. I am excited to tell you more about those ventures in the New Year. ;)

3 Goals for 2015

1. Focus less on the things I naturally do well.

I am not an extreme perfectionist, but I care about the quality of my work and often worry that it’s not good enough. I need to learn to trust in my experience and expertise, and focus instead on the areas I want to improve.

2. Commit to personal wellness.

If you’ve been following along closely, I’ve had a year of ups and downs on the health-front – physically, emotionally and psychologically. A good portion of that is due to self-neglect and poor priorities. My health and wellness needs to come first, and I need to arrange my schedule around that goal.

3. Seek counsel before I say Yes or No.

Often my default is to have a knee-jerk reaction. I say “Yes” without thinking. I have needed to train myself to pause and reflect, and request I take time to consider my options before committing to anything. This is one area where I could do even better. This year I want to seek counsel with my husband or another listening ear to discuss my options before I decide on any new commitments.

What are your goals for this upcoming year? I’d love for you to share them with me by simply replying in the comments. I always find it enlightening to know what others are working towards.

Goal setting helps me focus on what's really important in life. Photo by Paul Zizka.

Goal-setting helps me focus on what’s really important in life. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

All the best for 2015,

Meghan

The Reverse Bucket List

At the beginning of this year, as many people were talking about setting resolutions or goals for the year to come, I found myself reflecting a lot on 2013. So, as I planned my next blog post for Women’s Adventure Magazine, I had the idea of bringing a concept to that community that I had benefited so much from in the past: the Reverse Bucket List.

In 5 Tips for Writing a Reverse Bucket List, I walk the readers through the benefits of writing such a list, as well as five ways to make the process easier.

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

Excerpt:

Benefits of Writing a Reverse Bucket List

At first it sounded like a fun, perhaps silly, activity, but the process of writing my reverse list had a profound impact on me. Here are just some of the benefits:

  • It gives you the chance to reflect positively on the past, and acknowledge how important certain milestones were to the direction of your life.
  • It gets you thinking deeply about the events and accomplishments that left you feeling happy and fulfilled.

Read the rest of the post here

2014: A Year of Hopes and Dreams

I originally wrote this post for The Adventures in Parenthood Project, but it could easily belong here as well. In it, I reflect a bit on 2013 and tell you about my hopes and dreams for the upcoming year.

Adventurous Parents

It’s hard to top the birth of your first child when it comes to the highlights of a year, or a lifetime, so 2013 will go down in the history books as a particularly special year. As I reflect on the past 365 days, my heart is filled to the brim with joyful memories of adventure and life-changing moments. On another level, I am left feeling utterly bewildered by the sheer intensity of this past year. We practically crawled to the finish line, exhausted from long weeks balancing work and play, the struggle to keep up with the basics of life, and short nights that come with parenthood. And still, we are smiling and eager for more.

It’s hard to think that any other year could be as intensely emotional and joy-filled or adventurous as this one. But another year lies ahead, and one that I am looking forward to…

View original post 512 more words

Highlights of 2011

I don’t know about you, but the end of each year brings me the opportunity to take a glance at the previous years and all the joys, challenges and trials that came with it. Scrolling through my blog from this past year brought back many happy memories and, most of all, heaps of gratitude for the adventures and new experiences that came my way. Here’s just a sampling of the highlights from this past year! Thanks to everyone that have made my dreams a reality.

January/February

30 Day Yoga Challenge – I kicked off my year with a kick in the rear!

February

Launch of The Campsite Blog – A new home to write about inner journeys and the outdoor world.

Joined the team at Highline Magazine as the new Editor.

March

Launched the new meghanjoyward.com.

April

Took a trip to Nunavut, including a 5-day ski touring trip through Auyuittuq National Park (pgs. 20-21) and the Arctic Circle.

June

Launch of the new HighlineOnline.ca – a brand new website for Highline Magazine.

Hanging out with Everest on Gokyo Ri, Nepal.

July

Got to try mountain street luging with CBC – check out the footage!

Had my first cover feature story, an article about ultrarunner Ellie Greenwood for IMPACT Magazine.

Published The State of the Mountains Report with the Alpine Club of Canada – a 27-page report on climate change from the perspectives of Canada’s famous mountaineers and scientists.

August 

Wrote a brand new consumer brochure for Banff National Park.

September

Attended the Social Venture Institute at Hollyhock on Cortes Island, British Columbia.

October-December

Published the Winter 2012 Issue of Highline Magazine – my first as Editor.

Launched the trailer for Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies, a timelapse film for which I am writing the script.

Spent 9 weeks hiking in the Nepal Himalayas and researching the impacts of mountaineering and tourism on the local culture.

Here’s to a wonderful and amazing 2012! 

The Sneaky Voice of the Ego (Yoga Challenge: Day 12)

I’m beginning to have a love/hate relationship with yoga.

I’m starting to feel the way I do when a high-maintenance friend comes for too long a visit. You love them dearly, but after catering to all their dietary needs, particularities and preferences and showing them all your favourite spots, you start to tire. My 30 day yoga challenge is starting to feel like too much of something that I totally love but that is asking too much of me.

I could pretend to be strong right now or in constant yogic bliss, as though this 30 day challenge has enlightened me beyond all the realities of being human, but that would be lying. In fact, I feel the very opposite. I feel so…human.

I feel the limitations of my physical body, the mental chatter during practise, the desire to be great and to feel progress and the sneaky voice of the ego (yes, I’ve said it now!) For any of you that have read A New Earth, you’ll know which ego I’m talking about right now (and if you haven’t read it, finish reading this post and then pick up a copy.)

And yet I love this humbling experience and how yoga has put me in my place. I have so much power within me, but misused and it will work against me. If I could just get over myself and throw ego out the door, I would truly be able to come to the practise just as I am.

Lesson from Day 12

More on the ego. When I’m trying something new during my practise (lately, my “project” has been Pincha Mayurasana), the moment I start to care whether or not I nail it, I literally fall out of it. This has shown me that our intentions can work the opposite of the way we want them to. One instructor often explains that we can deepen postures if it is available to us. Whether your goal is to place your hand on the floor in Reverse Triangle or stand on your head, the end result is not directly related to how hard we are trying or how badly we want it. Yes, we can work hard, but at some point we will simply be ready to receive the posture – in body, mind and spirit.

Take yourself – your thoughts and goals – out of the equation and no doubt more will become available to you in yoga than ever before. Goals have their place, but will only be effective if you allow the journey to mean more than the destination.

 

My whole concept of goals and yoga has been flipped upside-down. This excerpt is from my goals worksheet from August 2010.

Note – Many people lately have been asking me where I’m doing this 30 Day Yoga Challenge, not knowing that there is a beautiful studio right here in Banff, Alberta! I am doing the challenge and go to yoga regularly at Rocky Mountain Yoga, which is located right above the Wild Flour Bakery in the Bison Courtyard. For more on yoga in the Bow Valley, click here.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2011.