If you’d like to hear the full audio version of this article on my Just Get Started Podcast click here -> The F.E.E.L Framework for Goal-setting or you can listen on any major Podcasting platform. This episode originally aired on December 24th, 2020.
Every year-end most of us take time to sit and reflect on the prior year and make an assessment of the areas we achieved in as well as the areas we came up a bit short. No judgment, just realistic truths on where we came from in order to set ourselves up for success on where we’d like to go in the future.
Oftentimes, when assessing our goals, we either completed them too quickly, not at all, or there were too many to even focus on and put the right time into them given all of the other things that come up in life.
As we sit down this year to put together our goals for 2021, I wanted to come up with a better system that would help us all create more structure around our goals and organize them in a more manageable way to be able to hit the target. I thought about the areas in my life where I always set goals as well as areas to improve that I hadn’t considered in the past that might be relevant to tie goals around.
This led me to create the F.E.E.L. Framework for Goalsetting.
Here’s how it works.
There are 4 total categories; Focus, Eliminate, Experiment, Learn, and 3 items in each category. I am trying out 3, if you’d like to try 2 or try 4 or try another number then feel free. I’d be curious to hear how it works out anyway no matter the items in each category.
Let me share more on each one.
This category will contain our big projects for the year. What are the key items we’d like to complete that are going to help us get further ahead and bring more fulfillment to our life? Based on our lifestyle and mission, these could be anything from writing a book to starting a Podcast to creating a garden, to whatever. What are some things that we’ve wanted to accomplish this past year that got pushed down the list or is a new idea that has become important we’d like to spend more time on. Also, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a goal that gets completed next year. This could be apart of a larger project that might take many years but completing the first part gets us to the next. Remember, each of these are our goals and our goals alone. Focus on what will make us happy and lead us to a more fulfilling life and that should make choosing much simpler.
As we begin to focus on new projects and things we enjoy, it’s also time to look at areas that are creating stress or strain in our life or are distractions that are taking us away from higher priorities. As we think through bad habits, distractions, bad relationships, etc, pick three items that can have a big impact on improving our overall happiness. If we remove happiness blockers while adding items that make us happy in these other categories we will be able to walk out of next year in a better frame of mind and attitude for the future. Examples of things to eliminate like biting our nails, excessive Social Media/TV, sugary foods, negative friend, procrastination, etc. These are just a few and as we consider our own situations there will be some that pop to mind that we can honestly say removing would be such a huge stress reliever for us.
I’m a firm believer that we should always be trying to acquire new skills that are related to a curiosity we have or tied to something that might help us achieve our goals in the future. Sometimes, these might be new hobbies we’ve wondered about and would like to experiment with. There is no right or wrong in these categories and the parameters are to help each and every one of us put together a sound list. We can certainly go, rogue, if we feel it’s in our best interest. Experimenting (or trying) new things is always exciting but it can also come with fear, anxiety, and doubt when entering a new arena we might not have ventured into. That is part of the fun of this because it’s supposed to help us get out of our comfort zone and create new opportunities and experiences in our life. Examples of this might be learning the guitar, doing Improv, learning Karate, starting a Podcast, taking up golf, etc. Notice that we put “starting a Podcast” in both the Focus and Experiment categories. This was done to show that based on each of our situations, one of us may have Starting a Podcast as a big project while someone else may want to try it out without it being tied to a larger project-oriented goal of theirs. Everyone will have different initiatives and drivers in their life. Choose what is best for you.
Different than the Experiment category, the Learn category is geared towards topics that we are curious about, passionate about, or would like to get a better understanding of. This is not so much about acquiring a new skill but to acquire deep knowledge of a subject versus “headline reading” or doing a cursory search of a few articles. What are some areas we’ve wanted to learn about more in depth over the years that we haven’t invested the time in? Writing it down and making it an item of focus for next year might be the catalyst we need to put more effort into that learning process. Examples could be to learn about nutrition or more specifically gut health, learn about Mars, understand our political system, learn about Stoicism, etc. The topics are vast and the most important thing is what each of us is excited to spend time learning about through books, podcasts, programming, etc.
So that’s the Framework!
Organizing our goals into a more structured framework will help us create more actionable and repeatable goals that last far longer than the “new year resolution smell” that wears off weeks into the new year.
I hope we are all able to create goals that mirror our mission in life whether focusing on big projects, eliminating the bad stuff, experimenting with new skills, or learning more insight about topics that interest us. We need to hold ourselves accountable in setting time aside for these important items and not be afraid to adapt or change them as we see fit throughout the year. This is supposed to be a fun and motivating process so we need to make sure we keep a positive and optimistic mindset as we go through the year.
If you get stuck, remember this age-old quote; “Before you quit, remember why you started.”
Happy new year everyone!