A new year provides a wealth of opportunity to change your life. Unfortunately, too often we write out resolutions only to get serious about them for a week then abandon them. This year, trade in your resolutions for New Years goals and finally achieve all of those big ideas you have. Find out how to set successful goals and break them down all year long for the best year ever!
I have always set goals for New Years without even realizing it and called them resolutions. In fact, I set big goals because of the innate belief that anyone can accomplish anything when they set their mind to it.
Even if you don’t reach all of your goals for the year, you learn a lot about yourself in the process. You also find that sometimes you are chasing the wrong goals. What you think you wanted or needed wasn’t the case at all. Of course, you can’t do that without setting, working, and tracking your goals.
That’s why this year, I’m challenging you to trade in your typical, unfulfilled resolutions for New Years goals!
The Problem with Resolutions
Setting New Years resolutions are better than nothing, but there’s a reason that you aren’t following through year after year. When most people set resolutions, they basically write down a couple of things that they hope happen this year. There isn’t a plan to achieve those resolutions.
How many times have you decided that this is the year that you’re going to get organized. You spend the first couple weeks of January feverishly cleaning your home and finding places for all of the new gifts you received. Soon, you’re burnt out and have no idea what to do next. Sound familiar?
What if you could change that by setting goals and skipping the resolutions? When you follow these steps, you can finally make those things happen.
How to Set New Years Goals
Don’t set amorphous goals like, “I plan to lose weight this year.” That lands you in the same place you are now when next year rolls around. Goals need to be specific. For example, to lose weight your specific goal could be, “I am going to workout 4 times a week” or “I will meal plan every Sunday so that I can eat healthy foods easily”.
Another tip is to think about the specific areas of your life that you want to change. I recommend no more than 5 (you can see a list of areas to choose from on Tips and Tricks for Creating Your Future). Typically, I choose to set one goal each for Self-Improvement, Finances, Family, Home, and Business. This helps you set your focus for the year with big goals! Here are some examples to help you out:
- Self-Improvement: I will lose 5 pounds a month.
- Finances: Pay off $20,000 of debt.
- Family: Start having weekly family meetings again.
- Home: I will not purchase anything new, outside of groceries and toiletries, for an entire year.
- Business: I will grow my monthly income to $10,000 per month in order to hire an assistant by Q4.
Keep in mind that these are just examples to get the wheels turning. Maybe you want to strengthen your marriage this year by making weekly date nights a priority. Or, this year is the year that you are going to get your basement finished. Whatever your goals are, write them down.
Break Down Your Goals
Once you have your goals written down, it’s time to make a plan for completing them. No matter how specific your goals are, you still need to break them down into baby steps that you can focus on each month and each week. Think of these like the footholds on your mountain that help you reach the peak.
Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to plan out the entire year. In fact, I recommend only breaking your goals down 1 month at a time. Here are some ideas based on the examples above:
Lose 5 Pounds a Month
– Get 15,000 steps a day.
– Prep 6 healthy lunches on Sunday for the week.
– Complete 20 minute workout video Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Pay Off $20,000 of Debt
– Cut one unnecessary item from our monthly budget.
– Sell unused items in our home and put that money towards debt.
– Work side jobs to make up difference until we have paid off $2000 in debt this month.
Start Having Weekly Family Meetings Again
– Determine the day/evening of the week that this works best for our family.
– Prepare 4 family activity ideas to correspond with the family meetings.
– Execute 1 family meeting a week.
Not Purchase Anything New for an Entire Year
– Declutter living room so that I have a better idea what we have.
– Deep clean 1 area of the house every time I am tempted to buy something new to help deter the feeling.
– When I cannot find a work around using items we already have, find something used that will work.
Notice that these baby steps do not accomplish the entire goal. Instead, they break them down into monthly actionable steps that are much more manageable.
For example, if you said you wanted to lose 50 pounds this year, that seems like a steep mountain to climb. However, only focusing on 5 pounds a month is a much less daunting figure.
The same goes for paying off $20,000 of debt. That is a big number! Instead, break it down into a $2000 monthly goal and it doesn’t seem as impossible.
Make It Happen
Lastly, just having your goals broken down into baby steps doesn’t get the job done. The best way to make sure you work towards your goals is to schedule them in your planner every week. Make them non-negotiable for the first month and it will get easier every month after.
Pick a day of the week to update your planner for the following week and schedule your baby steps. For example, add your workouts to your schedule on the days you want to complete them. The same goes for your meal planning, home improvement tasks, or organization plans.
You also want to schedule check-ins throughout your month to ensure that you are staying on track. If you are focusing on losing 5 pounds a month, have weekly weigh-ins to track your progress. You should also have check-ins for your other goals such as checking every payday to see how much debt you have paid off that month.
It’s no surprise that rewards motivate us to keep going. Rewards are treats and treats make you feel good, especially when you have to earn them. The trick here is to make sure that you choose rewards that don’t derail your goals. So don’t make your reward cake for losing 5 pounds or don’t go out and buy a bunch of movies as a reward for not buying anything new. Both of these defeat the purpose of focusing so hard on your goals.
Instead, reward yourself with an extra free day as a reward for meeting your weight goal. You could also reward yourself with a spa day at home for not buying anything new this month. Whatever you choose, keep your rewards in line with your ultimate goals.
Don’t leave the rewards to the last minute to decide on. Instead, plan them at the beginning of each month when you set your baby steps for the month. This gives you something to look forward to and helps you prepare better as well.
Instead of wasting your time on more resolutions to abandon this year, trade in your resolutions for New Years goals. When you set specific goals, break them down, and reward yourself for making it happen you can achieve everything you want this year without burnout. Make it even easier when you subscribe to these monthly bundles and download the monthly planner. Every month includes a goals worksheet to break down your goals and remind you to schedule your steps each month!
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