Yes, I know it's totally cliché, isn't it? Goal planning.
But it works for me.
I may not literally check off all the boxes of my goals at the end of any given year, but establishing goals does a lot of things for me.
It gives me my map AND my compass. If you've played a dungeon level on any of the Legend of Zelda video games, you know it's great to have one or the other, but it's even better to have both. This is what goal planning does for me.
Buckle up, friends, it's a long post.
How I goal plan I use Lara Casey's Powersheets (aka Cultivate What Matters), and have for years. I know, I know, sometimes the planner/Powersheets can get a little "woo-woo," at least for my taste, but the foundation overall is strong and helps me really look at what matters. Plus they've gotten better about the "woo-woo" stuff.
One thing I really like about using Powersheets is that it's more of a holistic approach to goals- it's not just business. It's whatever you'd like to use the planner for- business, health, relationships, etc. Because my life is more than just being an entrepreneur- I'm a parent, spouse, have a household, and have other family and friends I'd like to continue connecting with.
The sheets help look at high-level goals, and then helps you break them down into the next steps. THEN, each month, there's a "Tending List," and that helps you re-center yourself on your goals on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis (BUT getting in the habit of reviewing the tending list regularly is key). I have to schedule out time to review the month and establish things for the next month, or all of a sudden, it's February 1st and I'm scrambling to work on it.
Also due to my ADHD tendencies (hiiii, hyperfocus!), I struggle with battles like focusing TOO much time on my business, not focusing and just flailing over many things, and forgetting things like calling a doc office to pay my bill...
When I goal plan I generally work through the initial worksheets that eventually lead to establishing the goals in a few sittings. These worksheets have you dig deep, so I tend to need more than one session- sometimes it takes me a few hour-long sessions over the course of a week or two.
I usually do this in December after shipping cutoffs have passed. This way I'm still in "business mode" and not in "sit around and bake and play video games for two weeks" mode that I get in during the last week of December/early January. With the exception of the last two Decembers, I find myself doing my goal planning during slow moments at craft shows, haha.
My 2021 Goals This year, I opted to take it easier. I tend to want to do ALL the things and pack my days chock full. Not this year. Hello, we're still in a pandemic, and while I know many of us are hopeful as vaccines roll out, who knows when we'll get a taste of normalcy again.
1- Work on me- get moving, get help, heal, and give myself permission and time to recover. When my oncologist and I had our end-of-treatment/survivorship appointment, she mentioned that eating healthy and exercising can help reduce rate of recurrence by 35%. THIRTY-FIVE PERCENT. That's a huge percentage in my book.
Some of you may remember I used to be a runner, and while I miss lacing up my shoes and knocking out six miles, I am accepting that I'm not there yet. Especially when the kids are home 24/7. So I'm starting SUPER small. Like 10 minutes a day, and then increasing little by little. I may not get my heart rate up during a walk outside with the kids (aka herding cats around the block), but it's something. My oncologist recommended Yoga with Adriene and friends have recommended Body Project, so we do those too.
My biggest challenge with movement/exercise every day was WHEN- when would I do this. I found a little snippet of time in the mornings after my kids' first live lesson but before their small group live lessons. The kids walk with me, or bust out their yoga mats in the living room for a few minutes.
Part of this goal for the year is a big-ass permission slip to take things easier. Not to take things easy, but to approach everything easier. Before my cancer diagnosis, I was go-go-go, burn the candle at both ends kind of person. I am working very hard not to go back to that.
Some might scoff at having myself as the number one goal, but one of the many lessons I've learned during cancer treatment is that if you don't put yourself first, it can affect your health, well-being, and you cannot help others as the best you can. Women, especially mothers, tend to shuffle themselves to the backburner constantly. I know I do, even when having a spouse who is an amazing partner and actually gives me a TON of leeway and support.
2- Connect with Rob and the kids. You might be thinking, "Holly, you're at home with your family all the time- why the hell do you need to connect with your family even more?!"
I have this goal because there's a difference between being at home and connecting at home. Rob and I still work- he works full-time, and I split my time between remote learning, my handmade business, consulting, and freelancing. It's SO so easy to just keep going through the motions each and every day. Plus I have a tendency to get into the "phone zone" after dinner, where I just sit and zone out on my phone reading emails, articles, going down social media rabbit holes.
One of the silver linings of having to be at home is that we GET to be at home with one another. My kids get along so much better, and they really enjoy one another's company (omg now that I wrote that, they're gonna start fighting, just you wait). We purchased a board game table/dining table as our Christmas gift to one another and it's been so awesome to easily bust out a board game with the kids. The boys have a chore/allowance chart (and yes, I have a daily reminder on my phone to update it every night or I WILL forget), and we've been teaching them how to keep a clean house, cook meals, etc.
3- Make my business "enough." Wait, what does "enough" mean? Well, it certainly means I don't have billionaire, or even millionaire aspirations. I want my business to be "enough," and this is the year to fully establish what that means in my life. Is it just me or a few employees? Is it still in my home-based studio, or a brick-and-mortar post-pandemic? Is it to establish revenue goals that help me not only pay off medical bills but also give back to my community (YES)?
4- MOAR art! Make more dang time for making more dang art. I'm super proud of the fact that I managed to schedule time for exercise/movement, but making time to create/draw has been a struggle. Obviously, this goal is still ongoing.
5- Connect with friends and family. While connecting with friends and family looks much different than it did in 2019, I'm working to find ways to continue to connect with folks regularly, whether it is a regular Zoom chat with college friends (we've been doing this since the beginning of the pandemic!), checking in with friends via text or social media, calling and chatting with family, you name it. Just because we can't get together in person doesn't mean we drift apart.
6- Keep making this house a home. Aka declutter, aka do some much-needed house projects. I WILL say that getting medicated for ADHD has helped. I used to get completely overwhelmed when trying to Marie Kondo this place, and while that still happens, it's a little easier to deal with.
7- Harness the power of my ADHD Wait, what? Hahaha, stay with me. One of the things I had too much of was Facebook groups (I did a major purge of the groups I'm in a few weeks ago). Many of those groups were ADHD-centered. Most of them were not helpful. One group, though, was amazing, and it reframes the thinking about having ADHD- that instead of swimming against the current in a neurotypical world, you have superpowers that others might not have. Granted, many of us still struggle with time management, time blindness, and forgetfulness, but reframing is a powerful tool that helps boost confidence instead of dragging you down.
So that's it- there's the goals. Tall order, huh? Like I said, I may not check off ALL the boxes at the end of the year, but if it helps me get re-centered when unexpected things happen. I'm not normally this forthcoming about my goals and intentions, but this year I feel like if I put them in writing for all to see, that it makes them even more real and may even help others.
Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear if you plan annual goals and how you do that. I'll be writing another post soon about my word of the year (ugh, yes, I know, but I have my reasons).
Hey there, I'm Holly Marsh (Maker/Illustrator/Mama/Nerd), the force behind MarshMueller. I started the company in 2011 after getting frustrated with the ho-hum options in big box stores when creating my first son's woodland-animal-themed nursery. I hand-pick every fabric, thread color, and zipper, design my own sewing patterns, and moosh them all together to create rad products for parents and gift-givers in my Astoria, Oregon studio (aka MarshMueller Secret Labs).
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