The start of a new year feels like a blank slate, a chance to start over. “New year, new me” right? But if you’ve tried to make new year’s resolutions before, you know it’s not that simple. More often than not they end in failure and disappointment.
The problem is resolving to do something isn’t enough. You need to make goals and have a plan to achieve them. But how do you do that?
That’s what we’re talking about today. This post covers everything from why you need goals, how to set them, and tips for keeping them. Hold onto that new year excitement and let’s get started.
Why Set Goals?
Maybe you don’t like making goals. You feel like they’re restricting or don’t work for you. But as these statistics show, setting goals is a great idea.
•Only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions achieve them. 62% give up their resolutions within a month.
•People who have goals are 10x more likely to succeed. But only 20% of people set goals for themselves.
•Of the 20% that sets goals, only 3% write them down and create a concrete plan to achieve them.
Setting goals helps you achieve what you want in life. Ready to learn how to do that? Keep reading.
Make SMART Goals
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. Using these five concepts helps you create goals you can complete. Let’s look at each of these parts closer.
Vague goals don’t get done. You need a goal that you can picture, not a feel-good sentiment.
You need guidelines in place to help measure your progress. Like the bars on fundraising signs that show you how much more money they need.
Lose five pounds
Your goals should be specific, but you also need steps to achieve them. Goals without plans don’t get done.
Lose five pounds
Lose five pounds by walking every morning
Going from never working out to running five miles a day isn’t going to happen. Neither is two hours of exercise when you already have a tight schedule. Your goals need to be realistic to be achievable.
Lose five pounds by taking a walk during your busy morning routine
Lose five pounds by taking a one-mile walk when you get home from work every evening
Lastly, your goal needs an end date or it won’t get done. When you have a deadline, you know how much work you need to do to reach it.
Lose five pounds
Lose five pounds by your sister’s wedding in March
How to Set Goals
Now that you understand SMART goals, let’s move on to picking goals. Selecting goals requires thought and an honest look at what you hope to achieve.
Make Goals for Different Areas of Your Life
Start by assessing your current life, what you’re doing, and where you hope to improve this year. Look at each major area of your life, like fitness or hobbies, and write down a SMART goal for each of them.
For example, your fitness goal could be to lose five pounds, while your hobby goal could be to learn to draw better through daily practice.
You don’t need to make several goals for each section. One goal per area is enough. Too many goals are overwhelming and prevent you from achieving more.
Prioritize Your Goals
If you set multiple goals, you’ll need to prioritize. You can’t achieve everything, even if you want to. So you need to decide which ones are most important to you before you start working on them.
Let’s go back to our previous goal examples. Of the two, losing some weight is the more important one to you. So on days when you’re pressed for time, you should prioritize getting in a workout and not worry about your drawing practice.
Prioritizing helps you focus when a lot is going on. During busy seasons, you already know which goals to continue focusing on and which to temporarily drop.
Break Down Your Goals
At the beginning of January, you want to do it all. The new year is an exciting time, full of possibilities. But overwhelming yourself with huge goals isn’t the way to go.
You want to lose five pounds by taking a one-mile walk. But if you’re out of shape, even that might be too much. So instead, make a goal to walk around your block once a day for a month. Then move up to a quarter mile, a half mile, and finally, a full mile.
The bigger the goal, the more small goals or steps you need to reach it. It makes the big goal more achievable and gives you an action plan to follow.
Tips to Keep Your Goals
Making good goals might be tricky, but keeping them is even harder. It’s easy to get distracted by day-to-day life and forget about our goals. Here are a few tips to help you keep up with them all year long.
Write Them Down
Writing down your goals raises your chance of achieving them by 42%. Plus, if you write down your goals, you can review them often. Write them down in your planner, on a piece of paper, on your phone, or whatever works for you.
Life is always evolving and our goals should too. Review your goals every three to six months to make sure they’re still something you want to accomplish or still work for you. It’s okay to drop a goal, change a goal, or set a new goal, even if it’s not January 1st.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Use a habit tracker. Set rewards when you reach certain goals or milestones. Become accountability partners with a close friend and work together to achieve your goals.
Keep Your Goals Visible
Hang them on your desk or write them in the front of your planner. Keeping them visible helps you remember to work on them and motivates you to do so. It also helps you feel more accomplished when you achieve your goals.
With some thoughtful goal planning, you can achieve more this year than ever before. All it requires is diligence and a good mindset.
Do you have any goals for next year?