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Advance Your Goals – Board & Vellum

Advice for Young Architects, Other Tangents

5 Tips for Harnessing Renewal to Advance Your Goals

Everywhere you look this time of year, it’s all about New Year’s resolutions. But, there might be a better way. We make our yearly strategic goals in the summer, and that means the new year is the perfect time to assess and renew our progress. These are tips to ensure your yearly goals actually happen.

January 15, 2018

A new year always brings up stories about making new resolutions. It is hard to escape for a week or so and then, boom, all is back to normal. A few years back, Board & Vellum had our first annual retreat in the summer. It was timed rather arbitrarily based on the needs we had as we were growing. The time period stuck, however, and now a summer retreat is part of our yearly planning. Afterwards, we create an updated strategic plan that goes from mid-year to mid-year. Consequently, it felt odd at first to talk about New Year’s resolutions when I was only halfway through our plan. I’ve found, though, that planning things this way is incredibly helpful.

Instead of new resolutions each January, I find this time is a great chance to renew my focus on what I want to work on. Renewal of these goals helps me tweak them to new realities, and make new plans to ensure they happen. Given how things have worked over the last few years, here are my top five tips to ensure that your annual goals actually happen:

  1. Make January a month of goal renewal and not goal generation. January is a built-in time to automatically be reminded to check on your goals because of all the media attention on it.
  2. Take advantage of micro plans. Setting an annual goal is great, however, 12 months is a long time where you put things off and procrastinate. It is simply human nature. Why not instead make sub-goals or steps of the main goal for every three months? These are far more digestible.
  3. Make a monthly reminder on your calendar to reread all of your goals or plans. I do this and it is incredibly helpful for me to read everything and realize not only all the progress I have made but where I can focus my efforts next. Our strategic plan is 29 pages (which can be a lot to read each month so we include a summary of our major goals at the front which is easier to skim and digest.
  4. Monthly review is fantastic but do you want to know what is even better? Review small portions each week. At the end of our weekly Monday morning staff meetings, we spend five minutes reading a section collectively as a group. It helps refresh our memories and keep everyone focused. It also keeps us accountable.
  5. Ensure that your goals aren’t just big, lofty ambitions, but very specific and quantifiable actions. Metrics are your friends. Saying you’ll be the best of something sounds great, but how will you do that? Eat that cake one slice at a time and it all seems a lot more achievable. Also, a whole cake sounds pretty great, but it isn’t something you’re going to actually want to eat all in one sitting.

Side note, I once ordered a whole cake at KFC and my husband will never let me down. I couldn’t get the single slice that I wanted so bought the whole cake and threw the rest away. The lesson here? Not only shouldn’t you order an entire cake at a KFC and expect it to be forgotten, but you should also stay focused on your goals and get rid of the extraneous things that don’t matter.

This January, I’m excited to renew my focus on my goals for the year and I wish you all the best of luck on yours. And also, did you know that KFC sells entire cakes?

This post is part of the ArchiTalk series originally spearheaded by Bob Borson of Life of an Architect. Historically, he has selected a theme and a group of us (architects who also blog) all post on the same day and promote each other’s posts. This year, the themes have been selected by a variety of contributors. This month’s theme was selected by Larry Lucas of Lucas Sustainable and is: "Renewal." To read how others interpreted the theme, please explore the links below.

Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
get out of town renewal

Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Goal Renewal

Jeremiah Russell, AIA - ROGUE Architecture (@rogue_architect)
renewal: #architalks

Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Renewal - Re-Ranch

Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)

Stephen Ramos - BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@BuildingsRCool)
No guts, no glory!

Michael LaValley - Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
working towards my site re-launch. next time! cheers

Samantha R. Markham - The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
reNEWal. new year. new goals

Jim Mehaffey - Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Renewal (at Each Beginning)

Tim Ung - Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
Break Routines

Larry Lucas - Lucas Sustainable, PLLC (@LarryLucasArch)
Renewal is Valuable for Heart and Hometown

Steve Mouzon - The Original Green Blog (@stevemouzon)
The 12 Steps of Sprawl Recovery

Would you like to read more from the team?

If you enjoy reading our blog as much as we enjoy writing it, that just makes our day! You might also enjoy a few of the related posts below. And, if there is a topic that you wish we would cover, let us know!

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