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Rethinking Resolutions: The Paradox of Time and Goal Achievement

Updated: May 20

headshot of Amber Glus

As we embark on another year millions of people tackle the time-honored tradition of making new goals for themselves.

What often goes unexplored, though, as we plan our goals is the crucial link to planning for our time. For example, to read more books, I need more time dedicated to reading. I could reduce stress with more time for myself. Travel more? Need time. Spend time with loved ones? Need time. 

Starting with planning our time will significantly close the gap between intention and action for our goals.

Shifting The Paradigm To Time Management

If you’ve ever looked back on a day, week, or year and not achieved everything you set out to, you’ve likely uttered the words, “I just didn’t have time,” or some iteration of it. Life happens, and the plans we started with aren’t always possible (2020, anyone?). 

So how do we dream big but create a realistic plan to accomplish goals despite the unexpected? Here’s the framework I suggest.

  1. Decide what you want the end of the year to look like.

  2. Make a list of habits you need to do consistently to create that vision.

  3. Rank them in order of priority. 

  4. Fill out your calendar for the year.

  5. Build your typical week and put all your commitments into time blocks.

  6. Now, fill in the habits you need to do either daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly to accomplish that goal. Do that for each goal you set. If you run out of time, you need to make a choice to prioritize the goals at the top of your list and be willing to set the others aside.

  7. For each habit you choose to include, devise three creative ways to adjust if you don’t get the time you think you’ll have to accomplish it and still keep yourself on track.

You have to be willing to set the goals aside you don’t have time for. Don’t worry. If you have more time than you originally thought, you can incorporate them later. Like building a budget for our finances, building a budget of the time you realistically dedicate to habits that accomplish goals makes you significantly more likely to achieve them. 

arrows pointing different directions that read quality, cost, time

Rethinking Goal Achievement

Perhaps we feel less accomplished or like we’re not “keeping up” with everyone and their lofty list of goals if our list for the year (or to-do list for the day) has fewer items. That’s exactly why this paradigm needs to shift, and going against the grain often feels uncomfortable.

Let’s normalize fewer goals that get accomplished because we built a plan that worked for the time we had available. Think how good we will feel at the end of the year looking at a smaller list with bigger improvements. Now that feels good. 

By: Amber Glus

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Check out this article and others like it in our Empowering Women in Industry Digital Magazine.

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