setting 2015 goals with powersheets

For the last several years, I've set annual goals. I love doing it, but I wasn't always great about following through on them. Last year, I worked through Lara Casey's Powersheets, and I found them so helpful that this year I decided to stick with them and order a new set. Lara Casey, the creator of Powersheets, asks that we not photograph or copy them, so I'm deliberately vague in this post. But I hope to give a little insight in how I think about setting goals so when I share them tomorrow, there's a bit of context.

For those of you who aren't familiar with her, Lara Casey has built quite an empire online. She's a speaker, author, magazine publisher and more. I discovered her over a year ago via her blog posts on goal setting, and I was really intrigued by her process. Yes, it was pretty involved, but the questions she asked (and answered herself) really got me thinking. So I got my hands on a set of her Powersheets last year and now I'm going through them for a second year.

Lara's Powersheets are a bunch of worksheets designed to help with goal setting and follow-through. They start off by walking you through kind of an elaborate prep before you actually set goals. I love this section. It helped me reflect on what worked and didn't last year, what I want more of and less of in my life and what I actually want to make happen.

I know this much reflection isn't for everyone, but I seriously love this kind of stuff. I'm interested in the WHY when I set goals, which is something I learned by going through this process. It helps me stay honest with myself and keep motivated when I want to quit. 

For example, let's say I randomly put "run a half marathon" on my list. Great goal. But if I dig in and get honest about WHY I want to run a half marathon, maybe what I'm really interested in is having something to work toward, or wanting more time alone, or wanting to get fit, all of which might be achieved by doing something else I'd prefer over running five days a week. Or maybe it's just about the challenge of training, which is great! Or maybe it's about wanting recognition. Or approval. In that case, all the training may not be worth my time.

What I've learned through this process is that my answer to the question "why?" doesn't matter. Just having an answer gives weight and meaning and motivation for me. It wasn't until I had to answer the question "why do you want this?" that I really started to set meaningful goals. 

Here's an actual, recent example where this has really helped me. In the past, I've spent a lot of my time cooking elaborate meals. I'd done it so long that I stopped asking myself "why." But a few months ago, frustrated and exhausted after standing over the stove for over an hour on a weeknight, it occurred to me that I couldn't answer that question. Why did I spent soooo much time cooking? These days, I really don't love it more than working or spending time with the kids. I don't think it means we eat healthier. Before we had kids, I loved spending lots of time in the kitchen. Now, well, I just don't. So I took it off my list. Cooking elaborate meals isn't a bad thing at all! In fact, for almost a decade, it was really important to me. But at this point in my life, I just couldn't answer the "why," which meant I could let it go and fill that space with other, more worthwhile, things.

After you go through all of the prep work in the Powersheets, Lara has you set your goals. I had a similar experience at this point both last year and this year. My goals came so quickly. Boom. Jotted them down. Done and done. Great. However, they were a little... vague. Ugh. That's not great. I wanted things that were actionable. For example, the first goal I wrote down this year was "take care of myself."

Well, what the heck does that mean? How am I supposed to check that off my list? It took a little more digging to determine HOW I would achieve that goal, but honestly, that was the goal. "Take care of myself" is pretty ambiguous, but it describes something I want (and need!) to focus on this year. So I quit judging myself and went with it. Fortunately, the Powersheets account for this. You set a goal, answer the question "why" and then plug in the "how" in monthly tending lists. Lara's also really clear about the concept of progress. Maybe the goal is to make progress in some big areas of our lives rather than check things off a list. The joy's in the journey, right? 

Here's an example. Let's say one of my big goals is to spend more time on creative projects. Pretty open-ended. But when I think about HOW I'm going to do that, the answers become my daily, weekly or monthly goals. Like... take an e-course in May, spend Tuesday evenings working on Project Life, take a photo a day, whatever. Again, the individual goals will vary so much, but they stem from this bigger picture goal. At least, this is how it's worked for me each time I've gone through the Powersheets.

Bottom line: if your goals seem a little ambiguous to you as you go through the Powersheets, and that's outside your comfort zone, then please know that I get it! I'm into concrete-type things too, and all this is a little woo-woo for me. But once I set my big goals, and determined why I wanted to take action on them, I was able to answer the more granular question of HOW I could make progress on them throughout the year. And it all really made sense. Oh, and there are plenty of boxes to check.

So after going through the Powersheets this year, I ended up with ten big, somewhat vague, jumbo-sized goals that I'm sharing with you tomorrow and Wednesday. I'll tackle my "why" for each goal and a little about the "how." 

What about you? Are you setting goals or resolutions this year? If you've ever used Lara's Powersheets, I'd love to hear what you think! Check back tomorrow for the details on my big goals.