The start of a new year is one of the best moments to set a goal because everything is a brand new beginning. People often jump into the new year with excitement and motivation because they believe that the coming year is going to be great for them. And if you are looking to set and achieve some new year goals, continue to read on and apply the 10 tips I’m about to share with you.
According to this article from U.S. News, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.
Whether it is to lose weight, to save money, to learn a new skill, or to get out of debt, most people fail and give up on their goals by the second week of February.
People start strong, with high motivation and they are so committed that they can do it. However, as time flies, their motivation will fade and they will quickly revert back to their old habits and lifestyle.
You have to understand that it is easy to set a new year goal, but execute your plan and follow through is extremely difficult. And this is the main reason most people fail to reach their New Year’s resolutions.
Of course, there are some exceptions. There is a small group of people who manage to achieve their goals. They execute, their new productive habit sticks, they follow through their plans, and they accomplish their goals.
And if you want to join this small group and achieve all your goals, apply these 10 tips below:
1. Make your goals specific, measurable, and with a deadline
This may sound so simple and easy, yet, most people don’t follow this rule.
Take a look at this top 10 most common resolutions according to Time:
- Lose Weight and Get Fit
- Quit Smoking
- Learn Something New
- Eat Healthier and Diet
- Get Out of Debt and Save Money
- Spend More Time with Family
- Travel to New Places
- Be Less Stressed
- Drink Less
Can you find a common theme from the list of resolutions above?
They are all vague goals, not specific, without a measurable feature, and they don’t have a deadline.
You have to identify the end results that you want. If you want to lose weight, identify how many pounds or kilos you want to lose. If you want to learn a new skill, identify that skill. If you want to travel to new places, identify the place.
You cannot be vague when it comes to achieving your goals. When your goals are vague, you are not giving your mind a specific target to focus on.
One of the best ways to make your goal specific is to make it measurable. Include numbers into your goals.
If you want to read more, find out how many books you want to read. If you want to have less stress, find out how you can do that. Perhaps, you can start with a 5 minutes meditation each morning.
The more specific and measurable your goals are, the easier it is for you to come up with a plan and the more likely you are going to carry out the plan.
Identify exactly when would you like to achieve your goals. Include a deadline to all of your targets. A goal without a deadline is not a goal, it is just a mere wish.
Now that you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, it is time to move to the next step.
2. Transform your identity to reach your goals
The second thing you need to do is to make sure that your goals are connected with your identity.
One reason people lose their motivation to pursue their goals is that they pursue the wrong thing.
When they see their friends buy a new watch or a new phone, they make a resolution that they want one too.
When they see their friends having vacation overseas and posted photos on Instagram and Facebook, they tell themselves that they want to go there as well.
When you set a goal that is not what you truly want or a goal that is not in alignment with your identity, you will never achieve it.
At one moment, you feel excited to think about the goal. But when it comes to taking action, you will never have the drive because you are not ‘wired’ to do so. Your identity is different.
This is why it is important to connect your goals with your identity. Ask yourself who you want to be, not what.
The only way to achieve your goal is to transform yourself into someone who is worthy of that goal.
For instance, if your goal is to earn $200,000 a year, there is no way you can achieve it if you refuse to change and still stick to your $50,000 a year mentality.
People who successfully reach their goals are the ones who change their identity.
The key to achieving your goal is to transform yourself into the right person who will attract the goal.
You will have to develop the right characters, create the right habits, and build the right identity to reach your goals.
You can learn how to change your identity from this article written by James Clear.
3. Create your action plan
Next, it’s time to get down into creating your plan. The problem with most people is that they don’t have a plan.
All they do is that they identify a vague end result that they want, but they don’t have a plan to reach it.
You have to understand that in order to achieve your goal, you must have a plan.
Just like if you are visiting a country that you have never been before. Visiting that country is your goal. How you spend your time there, where you stay, what places to visit, and what to eat, etc, are parts of the plan. When you are creating the itinerary, you are creating the plan.
So don’t just leave your goals hanging without a solid plan. Here’s an example:
Goal: to build a better blog
- Publish new content every Tuesday and Thursday
- Submit a guest article to other bloggers each Wednesday
- Read and leave at least 10 insightful comments on other blogs each week
Do you see now why having a plan is important? Don’t just come up with a goal like losing weight. You need to have a plan too.
Without a plan, you are not giving instructions to your mind of what you need to do.
In other words, your action plan is a detailed plan of what you need to do to achieve your goal. And most people don’t have this, which is why they fail to achieve their goals.
Remember, your actions are the exact things that you can do or perform to get the results you desire.
Hence, you have to be super specific with it. Don’t just say that you will exercise to lose weight, come up with a specific plan.
I will jog for 45 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday at 7AM.
I will write and publish a blog post on Monday by 8PM.
The more specific you are with your action plan, the more likely you are going to perform the action.
Use the implementation intention technique where you state your intention to perform a specific behavior at a specific time in the future.
Use this format: I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].
When you create your plan in this format, you greatly improve the specificity of your actions. This gives a direct and clear signal to your brain as to what you need to do and by when.
And when the time comes, you will actually do it.
4. Build your schedule and block out time
Now that you have a clear goal and also specific plan of action, what you need to do then is to create a schedule and block out time for your actions.
I discovered that time-blocking is a very powerful technique in getting things done. If you want to learn more about time-blocking, read the New York Times Bestseller book, The One Thing.
One of the best ways to get things done is to schedule the task and block out your time.
For example, if you want to write an article, schedule your time for it and block out the time solely for the writing.
Say, you can block out time from 9AM to 12PM on Thursday to write the article. During these 3 hours block, you will do nothing else except writing the article.
This is how you can get things done. You purposefully schedule a time to get the work done rather than waiting reactively to do the task whenever you are free.
If you want to exercise or to clean up the house, schedule the time for it. Block an hour or two to perform the task.
This way, you will make sure you get the work done.
When you have scheduled your task, make sure you follow through even if someone requires your time during those hours.
If someone wants to discuss work with you during your blocked hour, politely reject them and reschedule another time to discuss with them.
The reason you schedule your task and block the time is that you want to have a distraction-free moment so that you can solely focus on getting the task done.
So put your priority on your goal. Do what is important to you first.
5. Find a support partner
It is difficult to achieve your goals if you are doing everything all by yourself. After all, there is no one there to monitor and keep you accountable, right?
Many people keep their goals to themselves, which, to a certain extent, is correct, but sharing your plan with someone who can support you can be helpful too.
You have to put yourself on the line if you want to force yourself into taking action. You don’t want to just set the goal and let it be. You want to take action, consistently.
This is why getting yourself a partner is important. And your partner can be anyone. A friend, your spouse, your mentor, your boss, your colleague, etc.
As long as your partner is supportive and is willing to keep you accountable, that will be good enough.
In a study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews discovered that when people share their action commitments with others, they are more likely to perform the action.
This is what Dr. Matthews said:
“My study provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of three coaching tools: accountability, commitment, and writing down one’s goals.”
Thus, get yourself an accountability partner. You can always start with someone you trust, like your spouse or a good friend.
Share with him or her about your goals and your plan of actions. And from time to time, update them about your progress. Let them monitor you and hold you accountable.
6. Track your progress
If you fail to achieve your goals in the previous year, it is probably because you don’t track your progress.
One of the best ways to make sure that you are on track and never lose your focus is to track your progress.
Most people don’t do it. When they first started a goal, they are all excited. They are beaming with energy and motivation. They take massive action upfront.
But their energy doesn’t last. Some people work on their goals for a few days. Some act for a few weeks. And some maintain their action for two or three months.
And by the end of the third month, most people will have given up on their goals. They either lost their motivation somewhere due to many reasons like distractions.
Things will be totally different if you have a tracking system to measure your progress.
When you track your progress, you remind yourself of your goals and what you need to do to get the results you want.
If you don’t measure, you can never improve. Plus, you will never know if you are moving forward or backward too.
When you don’t see any progress, you will start to lose hope, which eventually will lead you to quit on your goals.
Now you know it is vital to have a tracking system for your goals. Here’s how you can do it:
7. Aim high, start small and focus on the progress
When it comes to setting your new year goals, most people believe that they should set big goals.
Now, there is nothing wrong with setting big goals, but the problem is that most people don’t believe in the big goals that they set.
First, they don’t believe that they can achieve it. Next, they don’t have the right action plan to get there. And then they focus on the wrong thing. They focus on the goal and not the progress.
You have to understand that what gets you the result you want is your progress. Thus, you have to focus on the small daily actions, not the end results.
If you want to lose 10 pounds, your action plan can be to exercise regularly and go on a diet plan. The problem is that most people put too much thought on losing the weight but not the action.
Focus on the progress and you will get the results.
8. Create the right environment
The next thing you want to do is to create the right environment that will support you and help you in reaching your goals.
In fact, the environment plays a crucial role in shaping you and getting you the results you want.
When you are surrounded by people who are ambitious, have big goals, talk about ideas and pursue their dreams, do you think that you will be influenced and become one of them?
Researchers once conducted a study on how the food was placed in a cafeteria can affect the students. The researchers discovered that when they placed bottled water on a more exposed area throughout the cafeteria, the sales of the bottled water increased while the soda sales dropped.
The environment you are in often plays as an invisible hand that is shaping your habits and decisions.
You eat the potato chips when it is on the kitchen table because it is obvious and convenient to reach. But when it is stored in a cupboard where you can’t see it, chances are, you will less likely to eat it.
Therefore, design your environment so that it becomes supportive in helping you achieve your goals.
9. Constantly improve yourself in the area where you want to be great
I believe in constant learning and improving. No matter what kind of goals you are trying to pursue, you have to learn about the subject and improve yourself so that you can perform better.
If you love tennis and you have been playing it every day for 10 years, does that make you a professional tennis player?
No. The reason is that if you don’t aim for improvement, you can never improve your skills to match the professional players.
I have been playing badminton regularly since my childhood, but I’m not qualified to be in the Olympics. Why?
Well, I don’t aim for improvement. I do want to play well and to win every match that I’m in. But that’s all I do. I don’t hire a coach to train me. I don’t track my progress. And I don’t join other professional players to excel along.
This shows you the importance of constant learning and improving.
Without increasing your skills, you will stay stagnant. And if your skills don’t improve, you cannot perform better.
And one of the easiest ways to improve yourself is to commit to reading and doing. When you read, you learn. And when you take action and you actually do the work, you learn from experience.
As an internet marketer and blogger, I use Canva to create many of my images. When I first used Canva, I found it to be a little complicated. But after playing with it for a while, things become easy. And now I’m using it to create most of my Pinterest images for my blog.
The more you do, the more experience you can gain. And with a better experience, you become better at it.
The same goes for reading. I read constantly too. As of this writing, I’m reading Atomic Habits, a powerful book written by my favorite blogger, James Clear.
Hence, commit to constant and never-ending improvement.
10. Constantly review your goals
The final step I want to share with you is to constantly review your goals.
Most people don’t review their goals at all. All they do is to set their goals and write them down for once. And then they go on to live their life.
Guess what will happen next? Soon enough, they will forget about their goals. They will be distracted by their everyday life and eventually, the will quit on their goals.
If you are serious in achieving your 2019 goals, make sure you review them on a daily basis.
Write down your goals every day if possible. Look at them, review them, track your progress and talk and think about them on a daily basis.
I like this quote from Brian Tracy:
“You become what you think about most of the time.”
If you are not thinking about your goals and dreams, you will never do something to achieve them.
Ordinary people spend time thinking about their lunch, dinner, what should they do on the weekend, what movie to watch, what new games to play, and who is breaking up with who on social media.
On the other hand, extraordinary people spend their time thinking about their goals and dreams, they think about how they can do better and what they can do to get more results, they talk about ideas, and they take action on their goals every day.
This is the difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary.
If you want to join the extraordinary and create outstanding success in your life, you must be willing to do the extra.
Hence, review your goals each day. Program your goals into your subconscious mind.
And when you do, you will take action automatically. And results will come to you.
Achieving all your goals in this brand new year is possible. As long as you follow through these 10 steps given above, you should be able to do well.
So get rid of procrastination and start doing what you are supposed to do. Become unstoppable and make 2019 your best year ever.
P.S. If you want to overcome procrastination and achieve your goals in this new year, learn this powerful technique.