q1 2014 wrap-up: i just figured out why i set quarterly goals

Most people start off each new year with a list of resolutions. Dragons, sometimes personal demons, that they intend to slay over the next 12 months.  The most dedicated will track their progress monthly, many on their blogs with monthly recaps and accountability charts for the world to see.

I work a little differently. I don't make resolutions because I refuse to kick-off the new year with a to-do list. I am already too busy and, let's be honest, I'm going to be super hungover on January 1st. No thanks. My goal setting style is more 'big-picture'. Rather than say, "I will commit to training and run at least 3 times a week" I say, "I'm going to run a marathon in a 5 months". I may never train, but that was not my initial goal. I didn't commit to training, I committed to the marathon - which for me equates to scratching something huge off of my goal list. I'm a Virgo, lists are my thing. I add tasks and goals to my list(s) and then I cross them off. The cross marks on the list are how I measure my success.

 Lots of purple ink.

Lots of purple ink.

I thought about setting monthly goals, and writing recaps here on my blog last year, but that didn't work for me. In fact, it turns out my first goal assessment last year was also for Q1. Today I finally realized why my brain operates this way: it's due to all the years I worked in sales and marketing.

Yes, we did track sales numbers & marketing efforts on a daily basis, but there are many other fluctuating factors involved that validate a need for quarterly goals. Seasonality, ROI, product releases, advertising calenders, marketing campaigns, industry-specific events, etc. are all variables that influence sales numbers over several days and months. I remember running weekly reports to track the progress of quarterly and annual sales goals, and noting how the variances from week to week were slight.

Translated into my personal life, quarterly goals work for me because they allow me to set really big short-term goals. That might seem like a contradiction, but it works for me. I can say today that I want to run a marathon in December and, except for registering for the race, I don't need to check back in next week to see how that's working out for me. I don't have time to micro-manage my goals on a daily or monthly basis. I just need to tell myself what it is I'm going to do, write it on the list, and set a due date. I'm a doer. I hold myself accountable just by waking up every day.

So here we are at the end of Q1 2014. How am I doing? What goals had I set for myself?

  1. Spend more time with my parents: Not doing it every single week as I'd hoped, but I am making every visit count. Quality over quantity.
  2. Run: I set out to run about 4 races in the first few months of the year and ended up running 7 thanks to the contest we won. That's a plus! My running is slow, my training is non-existent. My goal is to start training again.
  3. Focus on my writing: I'm doing it. Every second I can. A new website has been created and a book is on its way. The book is the end goal.
  4. Be present: My main goal for the next 2 years is to be present for my daughter before she leaves for college. With the recent illnesses of my father and Todd's father, my presence has been needed in so many more ways than I ever anticipated. I am glad I chose a different career path that has allowed me to be more present. We have college applications and lots of tests to get through in the next few months - those are the meaty goals.
  5. Fitness/Health: I lost 12lbs this quarter and found 13lbs. My big short term goal is to be healthy and fit back in my healthy-sized jeans by September. 
 Q1 Miles: 45.73

Q1 Miles: 45.73

I'm looking forward to a replacement Nike+ Fuel Band and a new Nike+ GPS Sport Watch to get that graph looking a lot greener in the coming months.

I'll check back-in on those goals again in July. In the meantime, I need to find more purple Sharpies.