Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

18 Before 2018: A Year-End Goal Setting Challenge

18 Before 2018 End of Year Goal Setting Challenge

I’m excited to participate in Lisa Jacob’s end-of the-year goal setting challenge:  18 Before 2018.  If you’ve lost touch with your goals or feel they need to be refreshed, you’ll love this challenge.

I have a different relationship to goal-setting than I did earlier in my life.  I’m less focused on material accomplishments and care more about personal and spiritual growth.  But you can use this goal-setting challenge in whatever way you’d like.  Your 18 goals could be exclusively focused on your work or business, if that’s what you need.

I’m also far more relaxed about achieving goals these days. That’s because I don’t want to live a pressured and stressed life.  But you might be more goal oriented than me. You might be in a different stage of life or need to pay the bills. Whatever your situation, relate to this end-of-the year goal-setting exercise in the way that best suits you.

If it isn’t clear yet, this challenge involves setting 18 goals you would like to accomplish before 2018.  You could renew goals you already have in motion, let go of ones no longer relevant, or set brand new objectives.  Life changes, let’s adjust our plans accordingly.

My 18 Before 2018 Year-End Goals

I began 2017 with a rush of enthusiasm and set big goals.  But life got in the way with a series of external crises, so I didn’t accomplish many of them. But I managed to keep my sanity and my blog going, so I feel good about what I’ve  accomplished so far this year.

I didn’t set personal goals at the beginning of the year, but I do so regularly now and the practice makes a positive difference in my life. Personal aspirations, therefore, play a prime role in my 18 Before 2018 goals. In fact, I start with them.

Here they are, my 18 Before 2018 goals:

18 Before 2018 Goal Setting Challenge

1. Practice the healing exercises for my pattern from the Five Personality Patterns each day.

These exercises help me live with more clarity, in alignment with my values, intuition, and purpose.  Learn more about the Five Personality Patterns.

2. Enjoy quiet mornings at least four times a week.

Because the external circumstances of my life have been turbulent this year. I needed quiet mornings to stay sane, but sometimes I let them slip.  Quiet mornings help me build resilience so I can face the external chaos each day with more equanimity.  I try to make quiet time every morning, but I have less time on days when I’m off to my morning Tai Chi class.  So I decided I’ll linger for longer at least four days a week.

3. Be clear and firm about my boundaries.

Just when I think I’ve established clear boundaries, someone or something comes along to test me.  I’ve improved dramatically in recent years. But I see I can peel back more layers that keep me from honoring my boundaries.

4. Participate in my Women’s Within E-Circle, twice a month.

The “E” in E-Circle means “empowerment.”  I began participating in a women’s circle just a few months ago.  I love it!  E-Circle offers a safe and supportive space for psycho-spiritual exploration and growth.  Check out Women Within International for a circle in your area.

5. Create time and space for connection with my partner each week.

It takes commitment to keep a relationship fresh and alive.  It’s far too easy to take each other for granted or to get lost in the mundane. I need and want to make connection with my partner a priority in my life.

6. Lose five pounds.

After my fabulous weight loss last year, which I thought would be forever and ever, the pounds started creeping back on.  Yeah, like I was under mind-control when I ate that flourless chocolate cake.  Food is a source of comfort for me when I’m under stress and it’s been an incredibly stressful year.  But I don’t feel at my best with a ring around my waist.  So I’m starting with a modest goal and a realistic timeframe.  I can do this!

7. Increase my daily water intake to 64 ounces per day glasses.

I know how important hydration is to good health, but I was barely drinking more than a few glasses of water each day.  I set a goal to drink  48 ounces of water a day. Honestly, it’s been challenging.  But I’m almost there on most days so I want to increase to the recommended 64 ounces per day.

I carry an 18-ounce wide-mouth Hydro-Flask (affiliate link) with me wherever I go. That makes it easier for me to remember and pre-measures my daily dose.

8. Retreat for three days in October.

By “retreat” I mean disconnecting from the world:  no online activity, no emails, no phone calls, and no leaving the property.  I’ll spend my time in meditation practice each day, engage in other practices like loving-kindness, and listen to inspiring spiritual teachings.   I’ve done retreats like this before and thoroughly enjoyed them.  I still find it challenging to make the cut from my usual activity, but I know I’ll be happy I did.

If you’d like inspiration for your quiet time check out my treasury of free spiritual teachings — audio, video, and written.

9. Attend programs with Sri Prem Baba.

Sri Prem Baba is a Brazilian spiritual teacher, who holds a Hindu lineage but teaches in a universal way.  I’ve benefited greatly from his teachings this year, especially when external turmoil prevailed.

Sri Prem Baba will teach in Los Angeles from September 3-5, so check out the link above if you’re in the area and might be interested.

10. Arrange two social activities each month.

As an introvert, I spend most of my time either alone or with my partner.  I sometimes have to push myself to engage socially, but I almost always find it nourishing when I do.  I definitely benefit from stepping out of my own little world.

11. Take some online Buddhist courses.

Last year, I took an online course with Ani Pema Chodron called “The Heart of the Matter.”   Taking courses like this helps me keep spiritual teachings alive in my day-to-day life.

12. Write on Always Well Within at least twice a month.

I want to write three-four blog posts a month.  External reality pulled me away over the summer, but I seriously want to get back to writing more often for you.  Since I’ll be on vacation for two weeks, I won’t post again until September 16th, but I hope to be back in a regular flow after that.

13. Write my story

I plan to write a few short memoir pieces.

14. Write on e-letter a month and consider adding a mid-month letter.

I already write my Wild Arisings e-letter once a month. But I think it’s important to recommit to my previous goals instead of always creating new ones.  I’d also like to add a mid-month letter, at least now and then, to respond to questions I receive from new subscribers.  This happening, however, depends on whether external circumstances calm down.

You can sign up for my e-letter here. You’ll get access to the Always Well Within Library of self-discovery resources too.

15. Create and add two new freebies in the Always Well Within Library.

I’ll offer my “Your Year In Review” (18 or so compelling questions to help you end the year well) workbook again.  I have a second freebie planned too, a mini-guide on balancing your emotions and revitalizing your body.

16. Finish and release the paid version of my Loving-Kindness course.

I share an enormous amount of free content on Always Well Within, but tend to neglect income producing efforts.  I don’t need to make a fortune, but I’d like to cover the expenses involved in running a blog. And honoring the time and energy I put into the blog is important too.

17. Explore audio.

I’m keen on the written word myself, but I know some prefer audio and some prefer video.  By offering  only written word content, I’m limiting my audience.  So I want to explore audio this year — not a full on podcast, but at least sharing some thoughts in this medium.  This is a leap for me, so we’ll see how it goes.

18.  Secret dreams.

A few other dreams float around my mind,  things I would like to make happen for my readers.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to fit them in this year, but just in case there’s time, I’ve added them to this list.

Unlike the goals I set at the beginning of 2016, this set of intentions seems a bit of stretch, given the external circumstances of my life, but not unrealistic.  That feels comfortable to me.

I’m not obsessed with achieving goals at all.  But I find that regular goal setting keeps me aligned with what I truly wish for in my life.

Have you refreshed your 2016 goals this year?  Would it be helpful for you to set 18 goals to accomplish before 2018?

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra


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  1. Those are some pretty self-loving kindness goals. Very nice. I’ve pared down the goal setting in my life. I don’t even have a word of the year anymore, and that was hardly a goal. But a word that has been floating around lately for me is humility. So I’m going to try to explore this concept on a daily basis for the rest of this year. I would think I don’t need to know any more about it since every time I walk into a martial arts class is a lesson in humility–ha! But apparently I still have some pockets of arrogance hiding in the shadows, so let’s see if I can shine some light in those dark corners.

    • Dear Galen,

      How relaxing to have just one goal, to explore the concept of humility. Maybe I’m missing something with my long list. 🙂 Yes, I know what you mean about walking into martial arts class. In Tai Chi, we don’t engage in combat, but the teacher sometimes shows us how easily he can push us off balance. Your much more advance than me, however so I would like to acknowledge that although you of course can express humility. Thanks for connecting. I appreciate you.

      • Being advanced or a beginner is all relative, isn’t it? When I’m working with someone who is completely new to tai chi, I feel more advanced, but about 10 seconds working with my teacher makes me feel like I have never learned a darn thing! Not because my teacher tries to make me feel that way. All my teachers are 100% supportive and encouraging. I just mean that I’m immediately aware of how little I really know.

        I appreciate you, too!

  2. Sandra,

    I do need to set some goals for this year. Eighteen before 2018 seems overwhelming to me. Maybe just five or so would be enough for me.

    Thanks for getting me thinking in that direction.

    • Maybe I’ve gone overboard with 18, Debbie! I’m glad you’re clear you need to keep it more simple. You’re welcome, of course!

  3. Lovely goals Sandra…may they all happen with ease and grace for you. As long as I can remember the word ‘goal’ has had a negative connotation for me. The energy of it doesn’t resonate, so I tend to switch it to two words ‘fulfilled desires.’ We all have our little quirks!

    As a participant in a mastermind group, I have those fulfilled desires set out in January of each year, to be modified if and when something changes. And mid-year is a check in point to modify, chuck out, or revamp.

    However, reading your 18 for 2018 is something of a wake up call Sandra…I think cutting them back to 5 major ones probably allows for less diffusing of energy for me. So I’m going to be checking that out now, running through the list and since we’re in September, choosing 2 or 3 that seem most significant to see me through the end of the year.


    • What a great approach, Elle. I think words make a difference, and “fulfilled desires” seems to say exactly what’s important to you. I’m glad that this post was a wake up call. I definitely see the wisdom of cutting back to a few of the most important goals and focusing your energy there. I wish you the best with this!

  4. I love your goals Sandra! I found myself nodding all through the article thinking..I need to do that too!…and I’ll probably borrow a few of yours to my already long list 🙂 I especially love how you say, “I’m less focused on material accomplishments and care more about personal and spiritual growth.” …me too!
    So refreshing to read this…as it is such an encouragement to me to refresh my own before the year ends.
    Thank you dear one.
    xoxo, Z~

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