We’ve just entered the new year, and that means that people around the world are setting new goals for their lives. It’s easy to set a New Year’s resolution, but it’s a bit more difficult to actually achieve your goals. Taking your goals from a thought to a reality requires some planning, but with forethought and dedication, anyone can do it.
Here are some helpful tips for achieving your goals in 2019:
Make your goals very specific.
If you set goals that are very vague, like ‘work out more’ or ‘be more frugal’, it’s going to be very difficult for you to make real progress. These vague goals aren’t measurable, so it will be difficult to determine if you are actually going anywhere. Instead, set very specific goals that you know how to measure and work towards, like ‘work out three times a week’ or ‘save $5,000’, for example. You can have several small, specific goals that add up to one bigger goal.
Put in daily effort.
If you’re only committed to your goal halfheartedly, you will never achieve it. You need to put in time and effort to reach your goals, and one of the best ways to do this is by putting in a little bit of effort every single day. Set aside a little bit of time during your daily routine to work towards your goal, whatever it may be. Come up with small actions you can take that will further your progress towards your goal. This can be difficult to do at first, but after you’ve been working on it consistently for a while, it will become a habit. If you struggle to remember to work on your goals, set a reminder on your phone or in your calendar. If you start to lose motivation, try to remember why you’re doing it. What about this goal is so important to you? By thinking about the things that got you started in the first place, you will start to feel fired up to keep working harder.
Break things down into smaller chunks.
If you are aiming to achieve a very large goal this year, it may feel too daunting to think about all at once. Try breaking things down to make them feel more achievable. For example, you could make a list of small steps you can take to achieve your goals, or even break one big goal up into smaller milestones. Once you’ve separated these things out into smaller parts, you can take things step by step and everything will feel much more accessible. Keep a notebook as you are working on your goal to track your progress and jot down ideas throughout the year. If you don’t like to write, try using the notepad on your phone or computer instead.
You should also schedule these smaller activities to make sure that you are progressing. In addition to just determining what you have to do, you should also determine when you are going to do it. Planning out your days and weeks in advance will allow you to work more efficiently, so you have more time to get things done. If you struggle with planning, there are many tools out there you can take advantage of. Bullet journals have become very popular, as have detailed daily planners. There are also many digital planning apps that you can use to stay on track.
If you are trying purely to emulate someone else in pursuit of your goals, it is going to be very difficult to get where you want to go. Instead, take some time to really think about your positive qualities and what you have to offer. In fact, you can list out your positive qualities in your journal, even the ones that you might not think have to do with your goals. Then, think about how you can use these qualities to pursue your goals - you might be surprised with what you come up with.
You should also remember that just because someone else is successful doesn’t mean their strategies will work for you. Everyone is unique, and it’s always best to use your own skills and motivation to work towards success. It’s fine to use others as inspiration, but ultimately, you need to pull from within yourself to achieve your goals. You also might find that there are people in your life who directly try to get in the way of your goals, or who want to change you. It’s difficult, but you can’t let them get to you. Continually remind yourself of what you want and why it’s so important to you. Goals are very personal, and you should never allow someone else to interfere with yours.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
When we think about achieving our goals, we usually think about success - we don’t think about the failure that could happen along the way. Although it can be uncomfortable, it’s important to experience failure and make mistakes on the way to success. This is because mistakes are the key to learning and coming up with new approaches to achieve your goals. If you shy away from making mistakes, it will be difficult for you to learn what needs to be done to be successful.
When you do make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up or dwell on the negative aspects of the mistake. Instead, analyze why the mistake happened and how you can prevent it in the future. Taking the time to think about your failures intelligently and learning from them will set you up for success in the future.
Turn off your phone.
We live in a world full of distractions, and it can be easy to slip into wasting time on your phone or computer if you aren’t careful. To achieve your goals, you are going to need to put in some real focus, and that means you’ll need to turn off your electronics every once in a while. While social media and other apps can have huge benefits, they can also be very distracting. Put your phone in a drawer, give it to a family member, or just turn it off for a few hours and really get things done. You’ll be surprised at how much focus you have when you aren’t being constantly interrupted by the buzz of your cell phone.
Take note when good things happen.
Alternatively, it’s also very important to keep track of your successes on the path to achieving your goals. It’s easy to dwell on the negative things when they happen, or to brush off positive things in an effort to keep moving forward. This can lead to a loss of motivation, and it also makes the pursuit of your goals much less enjoyable. Start writing down the small, positive things that happen while you are working towards your goals, and make sure to look back on them every so often. These positive little reminders of how much progress you’ve made will encourage you to keep trying and moving forward.
Find a support system.
No matter how strong you are, it’s difficult to achieve your goals all on your own. You need to reach out to other people in your life for help and support while you are working to achieve your goals. There are so many different ways you can do this, depending on the goal you are trying to achieve. If your goal is personal or emotional, you may want to work with a therapist. If your goal is related to your career, your finances, or your health, you can reach out to others who have achieved the same goals and ask them how they did it. Having a mentor is incredibly helpful when it comes to making progress with your goals.
Alternatively, just having supportive friends and family will help you stay motivated, even if they aren’t involved in your work itself. Positivity begets positivity, so it’s important to surround yourself with others who are positive. If you notice that someone is adding negative energy to your life that is getting in the way of your goals, don’t be afraid to distance yourself from them. Life is short, and you will be more successful if you surround yourself with people who truly care about you.
Use positive self-talk.
Positivity is very important to achieving your goals, so while you are working towards success this year, you should also make a positive attitude a habit. This is easier said than done, but there are little tricks you can use to make your inner monologue more positive and encouraging. Start by just taking note whenever you have a negative thought, particularly if you are getting down on yourself. When you have a thought like this, replace it with a positive thought. Even thought it will feel silly at first, over time, it will become a habit. Positivity can boost your confidence and give you the energy you need to keep working towards your goals, even when things get difficult.
Take enough time to rest and recharge.
If you throw all of your energy into achieving your goals, you are going to get burnt out very fast. Make sure you take enough time for yourself to relax, so that when you do work on your goals, you have enough energy to really pursue them properly. If you are very busy, it can seem difficult to take time for yourself, but there are so many small things you can do for yourself that will help you stay happy and energized. For example, just taking a little bit of time on your lunch break to do something you love, like reading or listening to music, can help you stay more focused on your goals when you are working. Taking a bit of time in the morning or evening to do something purely for yourself is another good habit to get into. It’s important to remember that your mental and emotional health is just as important as your physical health, career goals, financial goals, or whatever other goals you are pursuing this year.
It can be easy to stick to the same methods and strategies you’ve always used, just because that’s what you know. However, if you keep doing the same things over and over again, it’s going to be very difficult to make real progress. Be open-minded to new ideas, and don’t be afraid to give something different a try, even if you aren’t sure how it’s going to go. If it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to the drawing board, but it’s worth exploring something different to see if it will pay off.
There are so many ways to look for new ideas if you are getting stuck. Ask others around you for their advice and see what they come up with. Their unique perspectives might be exactly what you need to get things moving forward. Additionally, you might consider reading books or watching online tutorials and seminars that introduce new ideas. Even if you don’t end up trying them, you will end up learning something new, which will be extremely beneficial for your overall progress. You can also try taking time each week to be creative and brainstorm. Scheduling time that’s entirely for you to come up with new ideas, research, and try new things without judgment can have incredible results.
Acknowledge that sometimes goals change.
While you do need to have a strong focus on your goals, you also need to be realistic about what makes the most sense for your life. A year is a long time, and throughout 2019, you should take time to continually assess your progress and your feelings and adjust your goals as needed. Making adjustments to your goals doesn’t necessarily mean giving up on them - instead, you are being practical and making the best decision for your needs in the moment.
Hopefully there are some helpful tips here that will get you feeling more confident about achieving your goals in 2019. And with any luck, in a year's time you'll be looking back in awe at how much you've actually accomplished!