This post may contain affiliate links.
Happy New Year, everyone! 2019 is going to be such a motivational, inspirational, fun-filled year.
Is this the time of year you set goals, work on them for a while, and watch them dwindle away month after month?
According to an article I read in Running Magazine (and a news source, apparently), 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by the end of February.
Well, 2019 is the year to change all that!
How I Set New Year’s Goals That Work
Okay, I’ll admit – I don’t meet every goal I set. However, there were several years at the beginning of my process (2009-2015) where I actually did. I met all my goals.
Every. Single. One.
Every year, I followed the SMART goals process, but the last few years have been a little different. I haven’t achieved every goal I’ve set, so I went on a little mission to find out why. (In a rush? Skip to the 5 Steps section below to find out what I learned, or keep reading for more juicy info and tips…)
Here’s a key I’ve learned from all of you lovely blog readers who email me with goal questions:
Everyone has a different process for setting their goals – and most of them work if we believe they will. The more I look at my unachieved or underachieved goals, the more I realize that the ones that haven’t come to fruition are either:
- Unrealistic to do at the same time as other high priority goals OR
- Not ones I truly believe in and visualize daily
As much as I write down all the goals, if I don’t truly believe in them – they don’t happen. This year, I’m writing vision statements next to each goal. That is, how it will make me feel when I achieve the goal. I think it’ll work for me, but I’ll keep you all posted!
What’s more, if our process doesn’t work for us, as individuals, it’s going to be a struggle to follow. So, when you get down to the part where I’ve outlined 5 steps, really think about whether each step will work for you. Modify, modify, modify – until you come up with a plan you’re sure you can commit to following.
Need a quick goal-setting template? Head to the free printables library – it’s the very first printable!
Why Goal-Setting Doesn’t Have To Be Overwhelming
However, I’ve had readers write to me saying that they can’t quite figure out how to actually stick to the goals they set. They seem great on paper, but don’t always get done, or even started. Personally, I think it’s actually the other way around – we need to start off by setting goals we can realistically stick to!
Sometimes, it’s as simple as breaking it down into pieces. A good friend of mine shared that this year, instead of calling them “goals”, she set milestones. Small pieces that lead to a goal eventually, but show progress along the way. That way, instead of focusing on the big goal at the end, it became less stressful for her.
One note from that article about failed resolutions I quoted above:
The main tip from the experts interviewed was “to be nicer to yourself. Stop self-sabotaging”. I think this is a tip we can all learn from. If we believe in something, anything is possible. In fact, what stops us from achieving our goals is often our own train of thought, and that negative mental dialogue that creeps in at times!
5 Steps To Setting New Years Goals You’ll Stick To
So, what did I discover from my little analysis? Well, I’ve broken it down into 5 easy steps to help you get started on your goals this year. If you’ve already written them down, go back and check. Do you have these 5 steps covered? If not, slowly go through each goal and make sure you have them. I find it’s the best way we can actually achieve the goals we set.
1. Know Your Why
Often, people set goals without thinking about their deeper purpose. If you have a goal (weight loss, finishing an academic or training program, getting a promotion at work, being more active, etc), do you know exactly why you want it?
What’s your purpose? What’s your why?
Take a second to actually write it down. Are you setting the goal because others think you should, society is telling you it’s what you’re supposed to do, or is it because you really want it.
If it’s the latter, I say green light! Write on it on your goal-setting sheet, and let’s move to Step 2.
2. Know Your Motivators
Wait…isn’t that the same as #1? Well, it’s related, but I’ve discovered that they’re really different.
- Our “Why” is our purpose.
- Out “Motivators” are what gets us there.
First, we need to know why we really want to achieve the goal (#1).
Then, we have to be sure of what’s really going to keep us motivated on the way. Sometimes, the “way” is long and arduous, so this part is important! In fact, it’s what’s made me veer a bit off-track several times. The goal for 2019 is to get back to my pre-2015 habits and set realistic goals and achieve them all to the best of my ability.
Perhaps you need physical rewards, or an accountability buddy to talk to, or even time to do your favourite activity. Set a reward up with each milestone that gets you towards your goal. Perhaps if you run 45 minutes one day, you reward yourself with 45 minutes of Netflix or celebrate with a friend. Sometimes even just having someone else to tell can make us want to achieve our goals more.
If you follow my blog regularly, you know that I’m all about visualization. It really helps me fully believe that I can reach my goals, which is (at times) half the battle.
Need tips on how to visualize? Check out my post on 5 Simple Ways To Learn To Visualize for more.
4. Make A Concrete Plan
I’m sure most of you have heard of SMART goals (and if you haven’t, go ahead and read my post on it). However, having SMART goals is simply not enough.
We need a plan. A concrete, solid, plan of action that makes the SMART goals possible. Even if they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and have a timely deadline – that doesn’t mean we’re going to do them.
This year’s addition to the plan is to add visualization statements to each goal. That’s right – a statement on how I will feel when I achieve each short-term, medium term, and long-term goal I set this year. Now, some of those goals are 5 to 10-year goals (the long-term ones), so it’s a bit more difficult.
However, if we squeeze our eyes tight, breathe, and focus on the feeling – we can really feel it. Write down how you feel when you do this and see your dreams come true.
5. Follow-Up Regularly
So, this is mistake #2 I made in 2018. I have to say, even though I didn’t achieve every goal in 2016-2018, I didn’t make this particular one until last year.
Usually, I start working on my goals at the beginning of January, and concrete them on my birthday, the 24th. Then, on March 24th I take a little peek to see how I’m doing, without recording anything. It’s a little reminder of what I said I’d do.
Next, on June 24th, I do a “6-month check-up“.
In 2018, I didn’t check at all. I let myself become overwhelmed with the day-to-day, the chaos of having more than four separate jobs/endeavours and didn’t stop to make sure I was going in the direction I wanted to go.
(Hint: Looking back now, I wasn’t).
We need to be sure that we understand where we are now, and our perspective on our progress. This year, I’m going to try to follow the advice in that Running Magazine article – and stop self-sabotaging for the more difficult goals. We can achieve all our goals with the right mindset, the right plan, and the right attitude.
What is your process for setting goals, deciding on milestones, and starting your year off right? I’d absolutely love to hear from you in the comments below 🙂 I read and respond to every comment!
Have a lovely and productive week!
P.S. Photography fans, the photo (Door of Opportunities) for today’s post is one I took last week in the Gothic Area, here in Barcelona, Spain.
Grab Your Free Motivational Posters!