It’s official–the new year is finally upon us. As the calendar turns to January 1, 2022, many people are looking forward to the road ahead. As always, there are many unknowns and no one can really know what to expect. Yet, one thing we can know for sure is that it is up to us to ensure that 2022 is one for the record books–no matter what it brings.
You may be wondering, “How can I ensure an unforgettable 2022?”
The answer revolves around your goals. Notice I did not say resolutions. That is because I personally do not subscribe to the idea of resolutions. You see, every year the majority of people set these ground-breaking resolutions, in which they make a sweeping declaration to make serious life changes that inevitably never happen. Once they fail, they become discouraged and give up without any thought of making adjustments. I myself, am guilty of making this mistake, which is why several years ago I decided to start implementing yearly goals.
But I am not setting random or general goals, rather I am establishing SMART goals.
The Importance of Setting SMART Goals
If you’ve never heard of SMART goals, you’re not alone. Although SMART goal is a buzzword in the professional arena, it is not commonly used in more casual settings. Essentially, SMART goals instill a sense of direction and accountability into your goals, which makes them more difficult to forget or abandon. SMART is an acronym for:
Without aspects such as these, your goals have a lot of gray areas surrounding them. That’s why if you’re serious about ditching resolutions and setting goals in 2022, you need to set SMART goals.
The SMART goal methodology will enable you to create a plan that will take your visions and make them a reality by laying out concrete action steps.
Because your goals are specific you will be able to clearly identify what action you need to take in order to achieve your goals. In order to ensure your goals are specific ask the questions: who, what, when, where, and why.
By making your goals measurable and attainable you will be able to pinpoint and keep track of your progress throughout your journey. Moreover, by creating a goal that is relevant you are moving toward your overall objective.
Lastly, by creating a goal that is timely or time-bound you are keeping yourself on track by hitting your deadlines.
Overall, SMART goals help you create a customizable plan that you can easily stick to and thus ensure your success.
How to Create SMART Goals
The first step to creating a SMART goal is to identify your goals, believe you can achieve them, and write them down. Research suggests that writing your goals down increases your chances of achieving them by 150 percent.
When writing your SMART goal start with an action verb to describe what you plan to do. Then, specifically state what actions you’re going to take. Don’t forget to state why you’re going after this goal. Be sure to establish a realistic deadline. At the end, evaluate your goal, even if you did not hit the mark. Evaluating your goals helps you tweak them for the next time and provides invaluable insights.
7 Areas of Your Life That are Ripe for Goal Setting
1.) Career Goals
Your career is one of the major components in your life that will determine whether you truly feel content and satisfied. Because of this, it is crucial that you make career goals that will leave you feeling successful and passionate on a daily basis.
2.) Financial Goals
Financial goals are vital to your financial security. Without financial goals, you run a serious risk of spending money frivolously, which can ultimately lead to hardship, especially if you’re faced with unexpected expenses. Reevaluating your financial goals every year and updating them as needed will allow you to track your progress and stay financially secure. This helps reduce stress that comes along with unavoidable costs.
3.) Health Goals
Establishing health goals will enable you to lead a happy and enjoyable life. Begin by evaluating your current health and wellness status. Pay particular attention to your diet, fitness, life balance, and family health history to see where you could use improvements. Modifying your lifestyle as the year progresses will help you optimize your health and optimal functionality.
4.) Relationship Goals
Relationships are hard work, but they can be managed much easier with clear goals. Relationship goals need to be mutually agreed upon by both parties in order for them to work out their full effect. More importantly, if you’re not currently in a romantic relationship, the relationship you need to focus on is the one with yourself. Until you are happy with who you are as an individual, you’re not ready for a serious relationship with another person.
5.) Leisure Goals
Leisure goals don’t have to pertain to vacations, a round of golf, or downtime. In fact, leisure goals are designed more for your personal growth. Consider some things you would like to learn. Then, spend your leisure time gaining new skills and taking on new obstacles. Hobbies can also help relieve stress, encourage you to explore your talents, and even bring in extra income.
6.) Personal Goals
Personal goals are beneficial because they help improve your quality of life. Setting personal development goals will help you be successful in certain areas by pushing you to go a little harder and a little farther each day.
7.) Spiritual Goals
Spiritual goals are imperative because they will help you align your life with your values. To compose a spiritual goal, start by considering your beliefs, morals, and ideologies. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the BIG questions. Be sure to try some self-reflection, prayer, or meditation.
22 Goal Ideas for Growth
1.) Upgrade Something You’ve Been Needing to for a Long Time
Most of us have something in our lives that we know we need to upgrade, but we keep putting it off for one reason or another. The truth of the matter is you’re allowed to buy new things and 2022 is the right time. With this in mind, ask yourself what it is you’re going to upgrade.
2.) Do Something Nice for Yourself Everyday
If you’re like me, you don’t feel right doing nice things for yourself as counterintuitive as that may seem. You have no problem doing things for other people and find joy in giving outwardly, but when it comes to treating yourself you find reasons not to do so. Here’s the thing, doing something nice for yourself doesn’t have to be momentous. It can be as easy as treating yourself to a cup of coffee.
Here’s a fun example:
In May of last year I began working for a company called Ultimate Deli Provisions, which is a Boar’s Head distributor. My job was to drive around to different stores and restaurants and deliver Boar’s Head product. Being on the road all day, it was difficult to find time to stop and eat, and if I am being honest I didn’t want to spend money on food when I had food at home. On one occasion, I was driving with a partner and after we had finished delivering to our first store he asked if I wanted to grab a Starbucks coffee. I said yes. While we were enjoying our beverages, he informed me that he tried to treat himself to a coffee, snack, or sweet treat once a week. He told me he viewed it as a reward after a long day’s work.
After hearing this, I started to copy him. Each week around the end of the week I would stop in at a gas station and treat myself. It was the highlite of my week.
3.) Invest Time in Something You Enjoy
Do you have a hobby? I mean a true hobby. Do you invest in something for no other purpose than enjoyment? If not, this is the year to discover that special something. One of my hobbies is playing videogames. I love playing PS4 and VR. For the most part, it is fun, relaxing, and provides me the opportunity to shut the world out and turn my brain off. Another hobby of mine is learning Italian. My family is Italian and I have family over in Italy who do not speak English. Learning Italian enables me to communicate with my extended family, enhances my traveling experience when I venture over to Italy, and is good for my mental health.
What I am trying to convey is learning new skills is one of the best ways to spend time in the upcoming year.
4.) Commit to Exercise
Exercise is the one thing that seems to end up on everyone’s new year’s list. However, very few people stay committed to their exercise routine throughout the duration of the year. It is unfortunate because exercise is one of the most essential components of a healthy life. It goes beyond looking good and feeling good. Exercise is great for physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Exercise clears up, clarifies, and strengthens various aspects of your life. Whatever your health goals are for 2022, exercise is a key pillar to achieving them.
5.) Generate a Green Thumb
You may not be the best with plants, but 2022 is the year to improve. The best way to get started is to pick a plant and keep it alive an entire year. You may not know much about plants and that is okay. View it as a learning opportunity. Take the time to learn everything you can about the plant you’re nurturing.
Take it from me. I have a jade plant. A jade plant is a succulant plant that is easy to please. It likes sunlight and doesn’t require a lot of water. Plus, it can live for hundreds of years. I have kept this plant alive for many years, and now I have a host of other plants I have adopted into the family.
Plants are great to have in your home. They add a little beauty and purify the air. What more can you ask for?
6.) Don’t be Passive, be Active
Are you guilty of passively moving through life? Or do you take active responsibility for your decisions? You are the only person who can and is living your life. No one else can live it for you. No to mention, your life is unique. So stop letting life pass you by and put in the hard work. Take action. Own your life. Even if that means dismantling things or ideas you have carried around with you for years.
7.) Delete Social Media From Your Life
This one may be the hardest of them all, which is sort of sad. While social media does have its purposes and can be useful, it can also be a waste of time and can cause unwanted stress and negativity.
Here are a few examples of how social media can be used positively:
- Keeping in touch with friends and family
- Spurring social change
On the flip side, here’s how social media can be used negatively:
- Online bullying
- Lack of Social Skills
However you view and use social media is up to you, but I personally believe our society could benefit from powering down all our electronics. Take it from me. I went under the radar years ago. You would be hard-pressed to find me online, and even if you did find any of my social media accounts I can gurantee you I am not active on them. I have deleted Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and any other platform that you can think of. The only social platform I appear on is TikTok, and even then I do not create content, I simply consume it. My point is I have been off the grid for a while and my life has greatly improved. Ask yourself:
Does social media increase or decrease my quality of life?
Is social media something I can live without or does it own me?
How much value does social media add to my daily life?
Is social media helping me grow and become a better person?
Am I using social media to promote good or evil?
Is social media helping me to stay connected or causing me to become disconnected?
Is social media simply a medium I use to distract and entertain myself with?
8.) Pay Off a Debt
I won’t bore you with the statistics on how many credit cards the average American has or how the average American lives paycheck to paycheck (Most Americans are one paycheck away from being in serious financial trouble). You can check the facts yourself. But I will say most people have trouble paying off their debts and instead continue to live with them. Moreover, we live in a country that is drowning in debt and the sea is only growing deeper.
Here’s the thing about debt–the longer you let it sit there, the more interest it accrues over time, and the more you have to pay in the end. So, one of the wisest financial decisions you can make in 2022 is to find a debt you owe and pay it off. The second wisest decision is saving up for an emergency or retirement. You are a steward of your financial resources, so use them wisely.
9.) Travel to a New Place
I love to travel. In fact, at 26 I have been blessed to have seen somewhere close to 20 different countries (give or take a few). I enjoy jetting off to a foreign land to take in the sights, consume the cuisine, interact with the people, and soak in the culture. Of course, with travel restrictions due to COVID for the past couple of years, many of us have not been able to travel as much as we would like. But you don’t have to travel overseas. There are hidden gems waiting to be discovered right in your town or city. A day trip can be just as exciting as a two-week vacation in Paris. The point is to get out and experience the world.
10.) Donate to Something You Care About
Volunteering or making a donation is a truly selfless act. I have spent my fair share of time volunteering at my local food pantry. I also give money to my local church to help support its local ministries as well as support foreign missionaries. This year find a cause you are passionate about and be sure to give of your time, money, or goods. You can make a difference in another person’s life.
11.) Get Rid of Toxcity
America is facing multiple giants, one of which is the plethora of unregulated and poorly researched ingredients in many of our daily products. With that being said, 2022 is the perfect year to consider organic, holistic products and services.
For instance, instead of reverting to prescription drugs and invasive surgery when faced with musculoskeletal pain, make a choice to try healthy alternatives like chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage, or acupuncture. Or instead of buying products with added sugars and chemicals, start researching and purchasing products that contain natural ingredients.
12.) Be More Creative
How do you show off your creativity in life?
Do you cook, write, dabble in fashion, or work with arts and crafts?
However you choose to express yourself through creativity, make sure that in 2022 you’re striving to be more and more creative each day. Think outside the box. Stretch the boundaries. Take a step outside your comfort zone. Being creative can help you break out of a rut, start a new habit, and embrace a growth mindset because it enables you to think differently.
I choose to express my creativity in multiple ways. I have a keen eye for fashion and even though I am a man I have a great respect and appreciation for women’s fashion. I also love to write and consider myself to be a wordsmith. One of the most prevalent ways I express my creativity is through my cooking/baking. Being raised in an Italian household, my mother had me helping her in the kitchen at a young age. During this time, I learned a great deal from her and had fun doing so. By the time I was in high school, I was creating and cooking recipes on my own. Now, I have chosen cooking as a career path.
Find your creative niche. It may open doors for you down the line.
13.) Cut Down on Your Wardrobe
Many of us in the United States have more than we could ever want or need, yet we find ourselves wanting more. The thing is when it comes to possessions like clothes, you can only wear one outfit at a time. You may be thinking, “The more clothes I have, the more options that are available to me.” But that is a fallacy because most of what you have gets lost, forgotten, or is an outright waste of time and space. Examine your life and see where you can make cuts as far as your wardrobe is concerned.
14.) Shop Consciously
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but for most of us, it is easier said than done. Before making another purchase on Amazon, consider if there is a more sustainable purchase at another vendor.
15.) Shop With Small Businesses
In a way, ideas #14 and #15 go hand-in-hand. COVID-19 did a number on small businesses. In fact, there are far fewer small businesses in operation today. And those who are still in business are still facing multiple challenges.
By shopping at small businesses you’re supporting your local community rather than pouring your money into big companies. Moreover, you can oftentimes save money by shopping at small businesses, and even end up with a superior product.
16.) Use Affirmations
Not everyone believes in using affirmations. Those who do believe in them don’t always use them consistently. Then, of course, there are those who heavily rely on affirmations. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, affirmations are a positive and productive way to build confidence, revitalize your thinking, and change your perspective.
17.) Go After a Goal You’re Afraid to Achieve
Is there a goal you’ve always wanted to achieve but have never made an effort to fulfill? I’m speaking of a goal only you know about. It’s in your head and heart but you’ve never mentioned it to a soul. I’m talking about a goal that you tell yourself, “One day I’ll do this or that.” If so, 2022 is the year to get it done because if you wait long enough you may never get the opportunity to accomplish it.
18.) Invest in Better Sleep
While your sleeping habits, sleeping patterns, posture, and nightly routines are key elements of a good night’s sleep, you won’t sleep at all if you have poor bedding.
We spend 1/3 of our lives are in bed. That is 33.33333333% of our existence.
While some of us wish we could spend even more time under the covers, no one can argue that that is a significant portion of time. That said, your bed should not only be a place where you feel cozy but a place that fosters a rejuvenating rest. Besides, being necessary, sleep is vital to your overall health and wellness. With that said, take the time to invest in the bedding that works best for you.
19.) Change a Bad Habit
Bad habits are not easy to change, but it’s worth trying. Think about this–if a habit is not serving you in any way, what’s the point? Bad habits are things that keep us from seeing the most change in our lives. They hold us back. When you view bad habits through this lens, why wouldn’t you make a change?
Especially, when you can replace a bad habit with a habit that nourishes your mind, elevates your spirit, and brings you closer to the person you are striving to become.
20.) Cut Back on TV
Notice I did not write, “Don’t watch TV.” I mean come on, let’s be realistic. Having said that, I think a lot of us could benefit if we cut back on the amount of TV we watch. Ask yourself, “Do I really need to binge-watch this new Netflix series or can I afford to slow down and consume it at a normal rate?” Once you’re done answering that question, follow it up with, “What could I be doing if I weren’t watching TV?”
21.) Contemplate What You Really Want in Life
I think this idea would be best served as a scenario.
Imagine you’re at the end of your life. You’re sitting in a rocking chair wherever you’re most at peace. For me, it’s overlooking the Mediterranean. As you reflect back on all that you have achieved, what is it that makes the top of your list?
Now return to the present time.
Are you currently living your life in such a way that you will look back and say, “Yes, I achieved what I set out to accomplish!” If not, you need to make the necessary adjustments.
Ask yourself the deep questions.
Ask, “What do I really want in life?” And then, pursue it.
22.) Stop Living Life for Your Fanatsy Self
If you’re like me, you tend to live in a fantasy world. You have such a vivid imagination that reality has a tough time meeting your expectations. I have news for you–reality is not the issue. You are. I am not telling you to lower your expectations. I am telling you to live in the present. I am telling you to live more imperfectly. Life is more than hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. You are unique and wonderful just the way you are, and as I already stated, no one can live your life as good as you.
Embrace each and every moment in 2022 while staying true to yourself and you are assured an awesome 2022.
December 21, 2021
November 30, 2021