4 Reasons to Schedule Your 2018 Goals Audit Right Now

desk with coffee, blank paper, smartphone

Ever heard of a goals audit?

Me neither! At least, not till I started brainstorming ways to actually make my goals of the new year become a reality, as a busy wife and mom.

In this post, we’ll explore how a goals audit can be one of the kindest ways to move forward with our goals, can set us up for succeeding, and help us to avoid the discouraging crash that can often overwhelm us when our pretty plans begin to derail a bit.

desk with coffee, blank paper, smartphone

There’s something about the start of a brand-new, sparkling, shiny year that just brings out the ambition in us, isn’t there?

We buy a new planner, and print off goal-setting worksheets, and prep our healthy meal plans. We pray. We build our exciting castles in the sky. And we know, just know, this is going to be our year. Then, we slip across that midnight line into January, with hearts full of hope.

And then…what happens? Some of the shininess wears off. The pages in our planner get smudged a bit, then neglected. The goals lose some of their appeal, as we realize that, really, they’re actually just more hard work! And some days, it really would just be easier to break out the mac’n’cheese than to wash, peel, cut, and cook vegetables.

We may even wonder…did we pray over our plans enough?

Come February, our lofty castle has faded a bit into the fog of everyday.

Ever been there?

I sure have!

Here’s the problem: we tend to feel like it’s all or nothing with these goals, and that once we’ve made them, they’re set in stone. We can begin to feel discouraged very quickly when our plans derail, like there’s no hope of ever getting back on track. Guilt sets in. And suddenly, the goals that were supposed to make our lives better…begin to feel like a burden.

I’ve experienced this cycle before, and decided I was sick of it. This year, I brainstormed a plan to prevent it.

At the end of January, I’ll be doing a goals audit.

Simply put, a goals audit is the process of reassessing all of your goals to make sure they’re still feasible in “real life,” and that they’re worth carrying around for the year (or the next 6 months, or whatever).

We often make our plans for the New Year in an artificial environment – we’re on vacation, or the kids aren’t in school, or we’re just not doing all of our normal-routine-things that actually control the flow of our lives. The holidays create this big bubble that we’re inside when we choose our focuses for the year, and as a result, we can sometimes set ourselves up for failure.

No one wants that, and no one wants to waste time. We want each day, and each year, of our small lifetimes to make a difference. Having a goals audit will help with that.

Here are 4 great reasons to schedule a goals audit:

  1. Making your plans with the intent of performing a goals audit later creates a tremendous amount of freedom. Planning a goals audit sets you free to dream big, and write down the things you really want to do — knowing that you can reassess what these dreams will cost you after a month of actually trying to live them into reality. Some may call this a lack of commitment. I call it counting the cost. After living and breathing in your normal everydays, what really is important–and possible for you, right now,–begins to come into focus a little better.
  2. Having an audit scheduled at the end of the month can help you focus on your goals with more motivation than if you “have all year” to make it happen. How many more people would cheat on their taxes, if they weren’t afraid of getting an audit? It’s incentive, actually!
  3. It helps to release us from baggage that we might otherwise carry around for an entire year, for no good reason. Especially for those of us who enjoy making lists, once that thing is written down, whatever it may be, you feel like it has to be done…almost like it’s a contract you’ve signed, and to break it would make you a criminal. Instead, think of January as your “try-on” period. This is the month where your goals get tried on, examined in the mirror, and then altered accordingly. At the end of January is when you can really decide what to hang onto and “wear” throughout the year…and what to let go of because it’s just not worth holding onto.
  4. A goals audit will better set you up for success by giving you the opportunity to make any necessary changes to your game plan. It’s the perfect way to step back,  see what’s working, what’s not, and then decide what steps to take going forward. Ideally, it is the time to ask God if your goals are His goals for your year…and release whatever would pull you away from His plans. For instance, maybe you will decide to do your creative writing in the evening vs. the morning, because that will give you more time with Jesus at the start of your day. Maybe you need to research a different workout series, because you hadn’t counted on that old knee injury flaring up. Or maybe, you need to read 2 books a month, instead of 4, so you can spend more time reading to your kids…or who knows, maybe you have learned you can fit 5 books in a month, and want to upgrade your plans! Whatever the details, you want to make sure your goals, and the steps to accomplish them, are married to your real life.

So, your next step is simple! Pick a day on the calendar in the last week of January (or even early February), and schedule your “goals audit.” Choose a day when you can snag a full, interruption-free half hour – after the kids are in bed, before the household wakes up, lunch break, whatever.

Planning for this day should be fun! NOT like an IRS audit. Think about if you want soft background music, or pure silence for your session. Arrange your schedule so the time is protected. Anticipate it with delight, not dread, and let it motivate you to enjoy actually doing the work to meet your goals.

One important note: if you haven’t already written down your goals, DO IT. You’re much more likely to achieve your goals, if you take the time to write them out.

I’ll be putting up a post later this month to explain a helpful process for auditing your goals – if you’d like to be notified when the post goes lives, enter your email below, and you’ll be the first to know. {hey…that rhymes!}