Well, friends. It is a new year and most of us (probably all of us) are pretty happy about saying Adios! to 2020. When the clock struck midnight, what were your thoughts about the New Year? Did you set intentions? Do you have goals for 2021?
So often, we set an intention or goal on New Year’s Day and then get frustrated a few weeks later when we don’t reach that goal.
One year, I decided on a weight loss goal. But I didn’t really put a plan in place. I didn’t change my eating habits or add an exercise routine. I didn’t take actionable steps. As you can guess, I didn’t reach my goal.
The thing about goals is that they require daily attention. Even long term goals should be looked at daily. This doesn’t always mean taking action on the goal. Some days, all you need to do is review your goals so that they stay in the front of your awareness.
Here are some tips for goal setting that will help you succeed.
First: Write your goals down and review them daily.
Goals like attention. Goals that aren’t written down are destined to fail quickly. So write out each goal you have for the year and keep your list in a place where you will see it each day. You might put them on the fridge or tape them to the bathroom mirror. Then, after a few weeks, move them to a fresh spot. You might even take a picture of them and save the list to your smartphone as a screensaver. The point is to keep these goals visible in a place where you will read the list each day.
Second: Create goals for different areas of your life
It is a common misconception that you only set one goal (or resolution) for the New Year. Sure, getting your finances in order might be your top priority for 2021, but what about the other areas of your life? If you set one or even two goals in each of them, you’re bound to see a ripple effect in every area. Here are a few areas to consider creating a goal:
- Education/Professional Development
- Health and Fitness
Third: Set goals that are realistic and attainable
While it would be great to lose 30 pounds, get out of debt, and get a new job that pays twice your salary in the coming New Year, you do want to make sure that any resolutions you set are ones you can accomplish in twelve months.
So instead of setting a huge goal that involves lots of steps, work on breaking your larger goals into smaller goals that can be reasonably accomplished. For example, you can pay $25 a week towards your smallest debt. The ultimate goal is to “Pay Off Debt.” That doesn’t usually happen all at once but rather in small increments. If you take small steps each day toward your goal, before you know it you will attain your goal.
Fourth: Think of What You’re Adding, Not What You’re Taking Away
Instead of making the goal to eat less unhealthy food, focus on trying to eat more healthy food. You may subconsciously feel more deprived if you think of taking something away rather than adding something good, and if you replace unhealthy food in your diet with healthy food, the same goal is accomplished.
Fifth: Make goals that are measurable
In order to stick to your New Year’s resolutions, you need to be able to see consistently that you’re on the right track. The best way to do that is to set goals that can be measured again and again over short periods of time. Look at the difference:
“I’ll sit at the table with my children for breakfast at least five mornings a week.” Instead of, “I’ll make more time for my family.”
“I’ll invite one friend out for coffee every other Wednesday evening.” Instead of, “I’ll be better at keeping in touch with friends.”
“I’ll straighten the house for 15 minutes every day after dinner.” Instead of, “I’ll keep my house cleaner.”
Making your goals measurable will keep you on track and, ultimately, help you reach your end goal.
Sixth: Design goals that can be accomplished with a partner
What are the main reasons New Year’s resolutions are so hard to fulfill? They’re hard work and no one tends to notice if you give up on them! So go ahead and change that by teaming up with a friend or spouse to accomplish a goal together. You’re bound to have more fun when you’re working together, and you won’t be so tempted to give up if someone else is counting on you. Accountability is key.
Seventh: Reward yourself for achieving your goals
Finally, the pay off! Gifting yourself little treats along the way will make you want to keep going. And, you will be more likely to set resolutions next year if you can remember the thrill and the reward of accomplishing goals this year. Just make sure that your reward doesn’t make it harder to accomplish any of your other goals. For instance, if you’re trying to cut back on debt, don’t reward yourself for losing weight with a trip to Hawaii. Treat yourself to a girls’ movie night out after you accomplish that fitness challenge. Allocate a few dollars more to savings each week you pay down debt, and do something fun with the savings when the debt is paid off.
Setting and achieving goals, while sometimes a lot of work, can also be a lot of fun. Just keep your goals in each category attainable, measurable, visible, and reward yourself along the way! Onward toward success in 2021!