Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Setting Goals Backwards

Right about now, many of us are setting goals for the coming year.  As this time of year has neared, I have toyed with the idea of beating myself up with the fact that I set ONE goal for myself last year, and I didn't meet it.  Technically, I test-drove the goal (of only buying used items) for the first three months of the year, and then discarded it when I realized that it wasn't moving me closer to the real purpose of that goal, which was to simplify and consume less...I realized I was actually consuming more!

I don't count that as a failure.  I learned some good lessons through my attempt to accomplish that goal...and by knowing when it was time to give that goal up.  

This has got me thinking about what a shame it is that many of us automatically move to setting goals again, without pausing to recognize what we have actually done right during the previous year...whether we planned ahead to do those things...or not.

Wouldn't it be great if we all set goals backwards?  Here's how it would work.  Instead of listing all of the ways that we failed to accomplish last year's goals, we make a list of all of the things that we actually did right during 2011. 

Here is my list.  Yours might be too personal to post on your own blog, but I still encourage you to do this for yourself in a journal or something.  

Write 12 things that you did right in 2011.  (i.e. weakness you overcame, a renegade closet that you cleaned out, a fear that you faced.)  Then re-read it and let the good things that you accomplished in 2011 just sink in, before you move on to the great expectations of 2012.  So here goes...

In 2011, I:

Accepted the Lord's will for the growth of our family.

Ran for exercise rather sporadically, but at least I did it!

Discovered my favorite book, 
(which means that I made time to actually read a book!  Yay for me!)

Taught my children about The Family Proclamation using the ABCs.

Got in touch with my Kindergarten teacher,
(...although I did it 10 months later than I had planned. I finally did it!)

Taught my children about Jesus Christ's Atonement during an amazing Easter season.

Was filled with the pure love of Christ on at least one occasion.
(And realized that I really want to feel that love a whole lot more often!)

Discovered a lot about the education that I came here to aquire, thanks to personal experiences and attending weekly General Conference Book Club.

Bought a piano and started practicing again.

Made a conscious effort to allow one-on-one time with my children and husband

Didn't buy a dog, because I felt that I shouldn't, 
although some part of me really, really wanted to.

Realized that I have some really good and true friends 
and spent quality time them this year.


It's amazing what you can accomplish when you set goals backwards.

~Bring on 2012~


  1. I love this post, and strangely, I'm not mad at you at all. Go figure!

  2. I love this idea. Fantastically awesome idea! Not only does it make me feel better about this past year, but I don't dread thinking about what goals I want to set for the coming year when I have this perspective. Thanks, Jocelyn!!

  3. This really is a good idea. I'm going to give my past year some thought and see what I come up with, too.


  4. what a great idea...one year my goal was act don't react. I still like that one...

  5. wonderful I idea. Not sure what I'm put on my list, but....

  6. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I set three goals for 2011 and none of them were met, but so many other things happened. I am going to post on my blog a similar list, so I didn't totally copy you. ;)

  7. p.s. I think the week between Christmas and New Year's is my favorite week of the year.

  8. Finally spending a few minutes online catching up and have to giggle over your post. Not because it's not absolutely wonderful, because it is. The post I wrote last week (scheduled for tomorrow) is similar. Made me smile!

    You are wonderful!

  9. How is it that you are so insightful?

  10. I am simply in love with this post! This is absolutely going to be my new New Year's tradition. I am in the process of working up a "2012 goals" post for my blog, and you have made me re-think the way I am looking at things. You really have a knack for doing that, by the way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts...as always!