• Shelly Elliott

Enhance & Expand- How I'm Setting Goals for My Life, Blog, & Work in 2018

Happy New Year! Ok, ok. I know I'm a couple of weeks late, but still, this year is bursting with fresh, new opportunities! I've been spending the last two weeks identifying what I want to get out of this year on three focused fronts: my life, my blog, and my work, in that order.

Why spend the first two weeks of the new year doing this? I have a couple of reasons. First, I spent the last two weeks of 2017 enjoying a bucket list trip with my husband to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and Belgium. It was a dream vacation, spending Christmas and New Years in a foreign country, and I wanted to be fully focused and present during the trip. I also needed some time to recharge. Second, the holidays are hectic, making it tough to devote the time, attention, and focus needed to go through the critical year-end goal evaluation and setting process.

Scott and I in the Austrian Alps.

A quick summary recap of 2017, using my mind map that was part of the January 2, 2017 post:

Things I accomplished as a:

- Wife: Supportive of my husband as we continue to go through the job-search process in PIttsburgh. We kept up our monthly date nights and traveled a lot!

- Blogger: Everything I set out to do.

- Networker: Held monthly discussions with a mentor and connected quarterly with someone who had a role I thought was interesting or just wanted to get to know better.

- Community Member: Volunteered at church through lectoring and working the Lent Fish Fry

Things I didn't accomplish:

- Christian: I missed mass on a few weekends while traveling, and I did not say 52 rosaries.

- Reader: I read maybe ten books this year and fell way short of the 60 book goal before my 28th birthday.

- Athlete: My BMI definitely didn't hit 23, and I didn't run a 5K.

A year ago, the "go-getter" goal-setter in me would have said that I wouldn't be happy unless every single thing on that mind-map was checked off. A year later, after really living the "Reflect and React" motto I embraced for the year, I am telling you that I am ok with the things I did not accomplish. Why? Because when I sat down to do a self-assessment on these goals and see how much progress I had made, I realized either:

1- The goal no longer had any meaning for me.

2.- The goal still had meaning, but I didn't put forth the effort.

For example, missing mass was purely because I didn't put the effort into finding a church when we traveled. Not reading 60 books? That didn't happen because my priorities shifted and other things had more meaning. I put more time into reading articles, researching the latest industry trends, or learning in other ways.

In 2018, I'm taking a bit of a different approach to how I set my goals. I've laid out some longer-term goals for areas that are non-negotiable, like my faith, my relationship with Scott, and the blog. I'll be breaking these down into quarterly objectives that tie-back to meeting the longer-term goal. Each quarter, I'll be evaluating these objectives on a weekly basis to see where I am at. I'm also looking to change-up my goals each quarter around giving back, friendships, learning, and travel. I chose the theme "Enhance & Expand" because I want to be able to magnify and intensity my existing characteristics, skills, and talents (enhance) while developing new ones (expand).

I'm excited to share my plans for the Shelly In Steel Toes & Stilettos blog for this year:

1. @ShellySteelToes Twitter account is up and running! This will be where I'll tweet about anything and everything pertaining to women in engineering, STEM careers, cool things engineers are doing, links to professional development articles, etc.

2. These tweets will be synced with the Shelly In Steel Toes & Stilettos Facebook page, so you can stay up-to-date with the latest news, info, and blog posts.

3. I'll be stepping up my blogging game and posting something new every Wednesday!

4. We'll be kicking off a quarterly C-Suite Conversation, where I'll feature an interview with a current or former executive female engineer! The first C-Suite Conversation will highlight Diane Gulyas, former President of DuPont's Performance Polymers business. Tune in to the first of a three part blog on Wednesday, January 17 (only 2 days away)!

5. I'll be putting together a few of the tools that I use for career and professional development and releasing to a new page on the site in the coming months!

#reflect #selfawareness #goalsetting

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