Learning how to set goals and achieve them does not need to be a scary thing. It does not need to be an end-of-the-year thing. And most definitely should not make you feel guilty about where you’re currently at.
Before I knew how to properly set goals, I was overwhelmed with trying to meet all the goal “criteria”. Is it measurable, achievable, blah, blah, blah. My version still uses these pillars, but in a less structured way. These buzz terms just make it way more complicated than it needs to be. Goal setting does involve time — after all, it’s your process of how you’re going to get from A to B, but it can be a fun and insightful process.
So here are my tips…
This part requires the most up front thinking. It’s probably the part you least want to do, but is also the most important. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP. Start by writing down (yes, write down) all of your ideas. Some good prompts are:
This process should take a good hour. Really dive deep on what you picture for the following year.
Once you have all of these ideas written out, start to look through for patterns. Do you see certain words popping out a lot? Or maybe certain names? Do you get a general vibe or feeling from what you wrote down, perhaps growth focused, perhaps health focused, etc? Once you go through and pick out some patterns or ideas you really love, start to reconfigure those into initial goal ideas. This may involve re-wording some of your ideas, or combining words you see throughout into one consolidated goal idea, or simply picking out patterns. My goal ideas at this point usually are just categories, for example “Less Waste”, “Exploration”, “Balance”, “Personal Fulfillment”, “Financially Responsible”.
From your goal ideas, pick 1-8 that you are most passionate about. Are you willing to sacrifice things to meet these ideas? Will you get closer to where you want to be with everything you wrote down in your first step? Consider adding in a verb here (this is where that “actionable” comes in). But honestly, if your goal is “take care of myself” that’s fine too because we’re going to build out the action part in the next steps to make it more specific.
Once you have your goals written out, you are going to take a deeper dive into each one to create actions around it, and a timeline. To come up with the actions within the goal, I find it’s best to think about what needs to happen from now, to the end of the year (or quarter, however long you want to have this goal for) – what are all the things you’re going to DO from now until then? Then, break the goal down into 2-3 mini goals, each mini goal having 1-3 actual steps to achieve. For example, a goal of “Enhance Relationships” could have mini goals of “Enhance family relationships” with actionable items of – make a list of fun activities to do with my nieces – plan a recurring bi-weekly facetime call with my parents – plan a quarterly family activity; “Enhance friendships” could have – text a check in every week to 3 friends – Host a quarterly dinner or game night – write down birthdays and purchase cards to have on hand. And the third mini goal of “Prioritize my marriage” could have- date night on the 19th every month – put away our phones after 8pm – read the marriage book together. These are just examples, yours may look totally different!
The next thing you’re going to do is make a deadline when you are going to complete those smaller tasks under each mini goal! Some of these tasks might be monthly, like a monthly date night, or some of them are quarterly, like planning a family activity. Schedule EVERYTHING out in your calendar and make sure you’re spacing these steps out throughout the year so you aren’t overloading yourself in January, February and March. If you try to do too much at once, it’s not going to stick! Maybe some goals you’re in okay shape on, so you can wait to work on your finance goals until July, etc.
I honestly hate this term, but it is important to make sure you’re actually sticking with your goals and that they’re working for you. I set up a calendar, basically a “To Do” list, so I can make sure I’m tracking if I’m taking my vitamins, how many times a week I’m working out, if I checked in with my friends, etc. If there is a task or part of a goal that just doesn’t excite you, then maybe remove it next quarter, or reword it so it motivates you and change the mini goals! Look back at your big picture of where you want to be as well, sometimes that lights a fire.
Have you heard the phrase, “nothing changes if nothing changes”? Learning how to set goals is important to help you live a life that YOU want to have. There are bound to be curveballs, and that’s okay. Some things might not get done, but just because one or two things didn’t happen or you fell off the wagon for two months straight, that doesn’t mean you should throw in the bag. Any progress is good, and we’re all about progress not perfection! Goal setting has become a big part of my life to hold myself accountable to ME. Only add goals on your list that YOU want to achieve, because if you are doing something for the wrong reasons, believe me, it won’t stick and you won’t achieve it! Take care of yourself and give yourself grace – life is sticky and messy and sometimes but flowers grow through dirt, and so can you!
Becoming a vegan or eating plant-based can seem daunting at first if you’ve never done it before! What are vegan pantry staples? Why do you need them? Why is it different than my normal pantry?
Vegan pantry staples are a little different than a normal pantry. In my plant-based diet I am making a lot more of my sauces and toppings than in a vegetarian diet. For example, you may make your own nut milks, your own ‘parmesan‘ cheese, your own ‘yogurt’ based sauces, etc. Because of this, you go through some items a lot faster than you may normally. Also, some ingredients are relied upon more heavily for their nutrients and vitamins so they get used more often.
I always make sure to have quinoa, couscous, farro, freekeh, and bulgar. I also love wild rice, jasmine rice, and brown rice. Grains are often the base of many vegan bowls, and I love cooking with ancient grains because of their nutrient density. For example, 1 serving of freekeh has 20% of your daily iron intake and farro has a lot of great fiber. Vegan bowls are also one of the easiest meals to make. Simply pick a grain, add some veggies and tempeh, and top with a sauce of your choosing. Voila!
Cooking with a vegan pantry, you’ll be utilizing a lot of delicious spices to infuse flavor. The spices I use the most are cumin, coriander, curry powder, cayenne, paprika and cinnamon. I also love cardamom, garlic powder, onion powder, saffron and turmeric. Many of the cusine from India and much of Asia for that matter is vegan already, so I find I use a lot of flavor profiles that tend to lend themselves to those regions.
I always keep refined coconut oil on hand! This is such a versatile oil. Buying it refined (vs virgin) means that it won’t have a coconut flavor. Other great ones to always keep stocked are olive oil, vegetable oil, soy sauce, liquid aminos (great nutrient value and is a fish sauce substitute), tahini, and rice vinegar. Also, canned coconut milk is a must — it’s great for tons of sauces. And finally, vegetable broth.
Always keep some tofu (usually firm), tempeh, miso, almond butter, peanut butter and vegan butter (I love Miyokos!) Also, asian chile garlic sauce, and hoisin sauce will become your best friend for all of the Asian inspired meals you make.
There are a ton of vegan pantry staples in this category. I use a lot of chickpeas, cannellini beans and black beans but pick your favorites! Lentils are another great item to keep stocked in your pantry, they’re so easy to cook and are very versatile. I personally cook a lot with red and green lentils, but pick your favorite! Ffor nuts, raw cashews are my top pick. I cannot emphasize enough how much cashews are a vegan pantry staple. I use them to make vegan mac’n’cheese, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, a mozzarella-ish cheese, etc. you get the picture. Any other favorite nuts like almonds, pecans, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts and pine nuts are also great. I use them all both in cooking (walnuts and pine nuts always go in my pesto), and as toppings (hello peanuts!) and for snacks with dried fruit.