December 2018 SMART Goals – Focus, Reflect, Relax

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I’ve written a few times on my blog about how I set goals in December, not in January so avoiding all those ‘New Year, New Me’, New Year resolutions. I think it’s easier to make changes in your life at another time of year.  I started making changes in December over 10 years ago – it seems to work for me, as the run-up to Christmas has always been a time of reflection and regrouping for me.  I’ve always had a diary, used reminders or to do lists either on paper or electronically. It really helps me to be accountable to myself. Last month, I started writing my SMART Goals on my blog, as it helps me to see what I’ve achieved over the month, the quarter and going into 2019. It also makes goals more real, realistic and accountable if they are public goals shared with your friends and family.  In December, I’m concentrating on my photography especially with my Lensbaby and my working life.  So I am focusing, reflecting and relaxing.

If you’ve ever been on any marketing, project management or planning courses they’ll have mentioned SMART objectives. SMART goals are:

  • Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Time-bound (i.e.What is the deadline or timeline for your goal?)

I wrote about how to set your SMART Goals last month:

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Let me know in the comments how you get on?

How I monitor and record my progress:

I have a diary/journal where I note daily activities. Also, I use alarms on my phone to schedule activities. I use the Pomodoro method – timed 25-minute work sessions and then a timed five-minute break – every four or five 25 minute sessions you have a longer break. This method really helps me focus.

You’ll see that quite a few goals from November have been carried over into December – this is because my work plan went really well; much better than I expected. This meant time for blog admin/template editing just wasn’t there.

I have moved all the Nov goals I haven’t achieved into my weekly and daily schedules for December, so I can see what I need to achieve – as it’s vital to be organised and accountable with SMART Goals.

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My SMART goals for December 2018:

In the Garden:

  • I’m planting more tulips as the weather is still mild – usually, by early December the soil is cold/frozen.
  • Pruning and tiding the garden – if I’m at home and it’s dry get outside for half an hour.
  • Putting up Christmas lights around the back garden putting away the summer lights.

Photography:

I’ve always loved taking photos, but I think photography is becoming my passion this year.

a. Lensbaby Learning:

My Chap bought me a Lensbaby Trio 28 lens which has three very unusual dreamy effects. It’s a lens with three different lenses within the main lens. It’s a fully manual lens and you use the aperture and focus to take the photo.

  • Twist gives you a large sharp central area of focus surrounded by twisty, swirling effect (called bokeh)
  • Velvet has a sharp central area of focus with delicate glow/blur from edge-to-edge – the photos look like impressionist paintings
  • Sweet creates a sharp central sweet spot of focus surrounded by gradually increasing blur to the edge of the frame.
My Goals for December:
  • I am revisiting #ChristmasatDunhamMassey with My Chap so I’ll be practising taking some night shots.
  • Take some more indoor shots with the Lensbaby Trio 28.
  • Outdoor shots if it is sunny – around Monton or on days out.
  • Using Trio 28 for In a Vase on Monday shots.

Here are some photographs I’ve taken with the Lensbaby Trio during November – I think I’m getting the hang of the lens in bright sunshine.

This oak sums up how I feel about the last five years of my life – a sapling growing from an old oak – change and growth.

swirl effect of orange pryracantha

Lensbaby Trio 28 lens – pyracantha with twist effect

Reminder: these photos are my copyright and not to be used without permission

b.Standard DSLR:

My Goals for December:
  • It really isn’t very wintery in Manchester yet, so I’m hoping to take some more Christmas/winter shots for use on the blog in December – inc some Christmas market shots.
  • This is carried over from November Do one flat lay Christmas styling photoshoot and Canva edits for SM. I didn’t even get to try out a flat lay let alone any Canva editing. Our house is tiny so I have to move things around to find space. The only sunny room is the spare bedroom which is overrun with boxes at the moment.

c. Social media/ Editing software:

I didn’t get anywhere with this in November, as other activities were more important.

  • Carried over from November Prepare three social media template photos for use in November/December – e.g. leaves, winter shots.
  • From November Social Media – Pinterest – read up on rich pins/prepare some Canva templates.
  • From November Add the Canva templates to my three most popular blog posts in the last quarter by end of December – and pin etc via schedulers.

On the blog:

a. Schedule

My goals for December:
  • Write and photograph a Six on Saturday and In a Vase on Monday every week – contribute and promote link ups on Social Media – I managed this most weeks in November – it could be tricky in December as very little going on in the garden. I’ll do my best.
  • Once a week: write a blog post on ‘a walk around…’ or ‘visiting…’ or ‘a review of…’ I managed three of these types of posts in November.
  • Once a week: write a blog post on a business/photography topic – nope didn’t happen and I can’t see this happening
  • Once a month: write a blog post about crafting – I’ve got the photos for a winter crafting just need to write it up.
  • Once in the month: write a blog post on ‘living with osteoarthritis’ – I’ve got this in my drafts but need to find some photos, edit and publish.

b.Theme

  • Carried over from November Identify, investigate and price a new theme: key issue – needs to showcase my photography well. I have done some preliminary work on this.

c. General

  • Reply to comments promptly
  • Continue to engage on SM/using schedulers
  • Be a supportive and helpful blogger in blogging groups – e.g. give advice promptly.

I’m getting better at doing these things, so this is an ongoing goal.

Health and wellbeing:

  • Continue to walk for at least one hour a day every day (in spite of the weather) – yes I managed this every day in November so I think this is feasible in December.
  • Attend at one (and preferably two yoga classes a week). Yoga classes stop with our teacher 1st week of December but we are scheduling yoga time together in the house.
  • Attend Slimming world meetings every week (oops!) – Nope not been in November – am definitely rejoining in December (beat the New Year, New me rush). Meal wise I’ve been doing fairly well though.

Working Life:

  • Clarify working situations (A) and (B): this is in progress – Keep going Bec!
    – focusing on plan A at present coming along well, meeting targets/deadlines 😊
    – plan B is coming together also 😊
    Note: part of this is out of my control.
  • Follow up on networking connections – yes have meetings confirmed and action points planned/agreed.

Note: I have written a detailed plan for the two main areas of work I’m focusing at the moment but it’s not something I want to discuss on my blog at the moment – as pitching is involved 😉

Work/Life Balance:

  • Invite three people to next Cottonopolis WI meeting in January (done)
  • attend Eccles Cakes WI Party in December
  • delegate weekly food/meal planning to my wonderful husband – we share cooking but he’s a better planner than me.
  • One ‘date’ night a week with my husband – Scheduled in for December, we have plans in place for January and I’ve booked some gigs for next year too.

Christmas and Hogmanay Break:

  • Christmas plans: have confirmed arrangements with family visiting – local arrangements to plan 🙂
  • delegated food planning to my wonderful husband – in progress
  • Planning Cornwall holiday in April – with My Chap
  • AND RELAX!!!!!!! Mostly spending time with My Chap 🙂

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Looking back over these – I think I need to be more time-bound/give myself deadlines – but this is all achievable in the month of December. Some of the photography goals are weather dependent, but that’s not in my control.

Mostly, I need to remind myself of all the things I achieved this year – and that it’s going to be ok. Here are my journals and diaries that keep me ORGANISED 🙂

I’ve joined a few blogging facebook groups and found some useful linkups and support, so I’m joining up with an existing Linky – as this will also help me be accountable to myself and others.

I’m taking part in the Monthly Goals (and updates!) Linky hosted by Charlotte over at CharlotteMusha.co.uk , Emma at MyDebtDiary.info and Claire at TheMoneyFreak.co.uk

I’m also joining Charlotte from BlogandBeyond who has a #12daysofblogandbeyond project.

I’m combining the first three prompts – 1 Dec – Goals, 2 December – Passion, 3 December – Organised.

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Do you set goals? Do you use SMART goals? What do you have as a goal for December? Or do you go with the flow?

How are you getting on with Christmas planning?

Photographers: Do you use any lens effects? Have you used Lensbaby lenses?

Carpe Diem,

love Bec xxx xxx

14 thoughts on “December 2018 SMART Goals – Focus, Reflect, Relax

  1. mindfulpoints

    Wow, you have everything under control! So many goals! Good for you to learn so many new things. I say it’s never late to learn! I did jogging this morning, enjoying it while I still can. I will need to switch to walking in the winter to keep moving…
    I am the one who posts those New Year resolutions in January 🙂 But I try to minimize the list so I have higher percentage of achievement. I give myself the whole year to finish them, and they are in the SMART category for sure. December is for Christmas preparation and shopping for me…
    I also love photography 🙂 No experience with Lensbaby lenses, but youtube is usually my best friend if I need to learn something. Have fun with your new equipment!

    Reply
  2. thebarefootangel

    I love your goals posts – and I feel like by outlining them all here it probably better helps keep you accountable! Enjoy your Cornwall break – although because I’m a Devon girl I do feel like you’re visiting the wrong county… 😉 Charlie xo

    Reply
  3. Beth Berger

    Blog posts that outline goals are such a fun window into someone else’s world! Keep up all the good work…seems like this structure is helping you to achieve great things. 🙂

    Reply
  4. kanishka

    December especially being a festival related month it is always good to have clear goals to not loose track of things! Love how organized you are xoxo

    Reply
  5. Sindhura

    That’s an inspiring post. Clear goals are something which guides us without us realizing. Being able to jot down the goals list shows how dedicated you are to achieve them. Inspired us to follow the same. Good luck.

    Reply
  6. Phaytea's Pulse

    Wow…. this is so detailed.. I plan my goals according to category then prioritize and actually do them. I also reschedule the ones I haven’t done so that they’re not forgotten.

    Reply
  7. Louise x (@withlovefromlou)

    I used to love setting SMART goals when I worked my last job. I think I need to start using them at home, too. Every year I say I’m going to be more productive etc. but I never am. This is just what I needed to read. Thank you 🙂

    Louise x

    Reply
  8. Naomi Oikonomou

    Wow your photos are looking great! I love journaling, but since I started blogging I seem to physically write less. This article reminded me how much I need to buy myself a new diary, although I tend to make my new goals/new years resolutions after easter, I think the year always feels new to me once spring has sprung and its also around my birth day.

    Reply
  9. MissPond

    What a way to keep yourself motivated! I have so much going on at the moment, especially with work, I’m so looking forward to the Christmas break so I can focus on my blog.

    Reply

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