tips for goal setting

4 Tips for Setting Goals in 2018 (and 80 days of Excellence Intro)

I've been one of those people who crafted this articulate, well-planned giga-goals that never happened. In the last three years, I've learned several things about setting goals that are transformative and move life forward.

So, this year, I'm keeping things simple in goal setting:

  • 3 goals for each 12 weeks (Read the 12-week Year by Brian Moran about 12-week goal setting)
  • Focal questions to ask myself each day based on those goals and my philosophy for living life (more on this in a later post)

In this post, I'll share four tips that help me in my goal setting. Then, I'll talk about my personal 80 days of excellence challenge that I've given myself and why this journey start.

Tip #1: Keep Your Goals to Three

I've read that a four chaired stool is what they use to tame lions because it distracts him so much because he doesn't know what to focus upon in front of him. So, I'm choosing 3 goals.

You could choose a few more, however, be careful you don't end up as a distracted lion and don't know where to focus.

Tip #2: Set Goals for a 12-week Period

The problem with one-year goals is that I've either been doing the whole goal in 1-2 months or not at all. So, I'm cutting down goal setting periods to 12-week periods.

So, one goal, for example, is to lose 10 pounds between now and April 2nd. This is much more doable for me and I don't feel so overwhelmed as to lose 40 pounds in 2018.

Tip #3: Set Habits for Each Goal

Habits are the fuel for progress. Without good habits, you don't make good progress.

As part of my 80 days of excellence, one of my habits is to exercise 20 minutes each day for each of those 80 days.

Another goal is to go further into Dave Ramsey's financial peace program. It transformed our lives when we took the course at church, but I now have the workbook and am doing a financial shape up.

So, as you set your goals, decide the one or two habits or things that you'll do every single day as part of this process.

As I reflect in my journal, I'm writing about the progress I'm making on these habits.

Tip #4: Make Sure the Goals Are Worthy and Fit With Your Values

Make sure your goals are worthy and fit with your values. When you get super imaginative and pick crazy stuff that doesn't fit with your purpose and who you are, you end up wasting time.

This is getting personal, however, I don't know how to be anything but real and me with you. I can't compartmentalize my life and edit it for whatever won't bother people. But, this tip is the most important part of goal setting for me now.

Kip and I pray in the new year and for me, as a Christian, I pray deeply and seek God's will for the goals I set.

For example, last year, I had two big goals from this process of prayer — join the choir at church and start the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast.

Both of those were done by February 15, 2017. Both of those things are quite simply, two of the very best things I've ever done.

But I can unassuredly tell you, neither of those was something I would have dreamed of putting on my list. I was happy with the old podcast. I was happy sitting in the congregation. I didn't have the time, or so I thought.

To pretend like I somehow came up with the idea for the 10-Minute Teacher Podcast would be a lie. (I realize this whole thing might confuse some people – a great study is Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God.)

However, prayer changes things — and prayer changes me. I'm grateful to be on a journey with my very real God doing awesome, exciting things.


The Origin of 80 Days of Excellence

Sometimes a phone call will change your life. Sometimes a question can change it. For me, Terri Catt, my pastor's wife, called me about a women's Bible study she felt led to start at the church. Ten or so women are each studying and preparing to teach about 2 “pearls” each. Mine are “excellence” and “priorities.” So, I've been studying excellence for a month or so now.

Quite simple, this study is really shifting my thoughts.

I've been studying Daniel in the Bible who was a man with an “excellent” spirit. Here was an amazing person who lasted across kings and kingdoms in a time when people were usually killed off or imprisoned when a new regime took over.

In addition to reading, however, one thing I've learned is that to truly understand something, the process of discussing, reading your comments, and interacting with people about a topic takes me places I couldn't even comprehend. Journeys taken with friends and people different from you can make things even more exciting.

What will I do during these 80 days of excellence?

One of my 3 goals this year is to commit to 80 days of excellence. This DOES NOT mean that I will be perfect. What it means is that I will be learning and sharing about excellence each day in some way. I take Sundays off.

(Thus 12 days unaccounted for between now and April 2 when I teach the lesson on excellence which will be my last day of this first 80-day journey.)

Interestingly, the journal I picked has 160 pages in it! Interestingly there are 80 “workdays” until I make my last journal entry on April 2. So, I'll use 2 pages per day on this journey to ask myself several questions each day.

My goal during these 80 days is to share one concept relating to excellence each day. It might be a blog post. It could be a video, some tweets, or a Facebook post. I'm not going to limit myself or overcommit.

Just learn and share about excellence every day for 80 days and ask myself intentional questions each day of the journey.

OK, it might be 11 pm but day 1 is done. ;-) I hope you'll find the tips and conversations helpful.

Reflect, Reset, Refocus Guide

If you want to plan and work on making the next year or next month better, use this handy guide to help you reset and refocus on what is important.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Susan Hedgcock January 2, 2018 - 9:53 am

Thank you for this inspiring reflection. I found this encouraging and actionable. I think that it would be appropriate to share this advise with my seniors as well. Finally, a practical way to look at goal setting and the foundational element that needs to be addressed as well, habits.

Vicki Davis January 2, 2018 - 2:02 pm

Yes, habits!!! I’ll be sharing and talking about this as well!

Sherry January 18, 2018 - 2:51 pm

I am so glad I stopped to read your email this morning and to see what you had to say about 80 days of Excellence. I am also so excited to hear your passion about serving our Mighty God. I look forward to reading more!

Vicki Davis January 18, 2018 - 9:06 pm

Thank you, Sherry! We do serve an awesome God!

Mel Buendia February 27, 2018 - 9:29 am

Hi! I have followed you for a while, and just today I started reading your “80 days..”. Thank you for the inspiration, and although I’m not a Christian myself, I admire you for mentioning your true sources. I’m also a teacher, and my best ideas have never been mine!! They are just sent in (I do like yoga and meditation, though) but the important thing is to be clear and honest about how and where we get our drive, our passion to be better teachers. I’m thankful for you and everything you share. Blessings.
From MX with love

Vicki Davis February 28, 2018 - 10:25 am

Thank you, Mel. I appreciate and respect people who are honest about who they are, as well, as you have been in your comments. Being forthright and truthful, even when it displeases people, is an important trait in a leader. Thank you so much for your encouragement and comments.


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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere