I’m not really much of a New Years person. I don’t go out to celebrate, and I don’t have resolutions. Instead, I prefer to stay in, take stock of the year that has just gone by, and think about what I want in the next 12 months.
I’ve just ordered my 2019 planner and I’m getting started on a 2019 Trello board so I can track my goals. Goals are a big part of my year.
How to Set Goals For the New Year
Ever since I started setting goals for the year, my life started to move in the direction I wanted it to. I have a very clear memory of a serious conversation I was having with my partner at a New Years Eve party in 2014 / 15 about some unhappiness I had over my career at the time, and we talked about the different ways that I could fix it. Since that conversation, I really got into goal setting, and things started to change for me very quickly.
Today, to celebrate the New Year, I would like to share 10 tips on how you can make 2019 your best year yet. They worked for me, and I hope they can work for you too!
1. Start with Categories
Start by highlighting the areas of your life you think you would like to improve. Would you want to get in shape? Or get into a new job? Or start writing the book you have always dreamed about? Do you want to save money, or travel more?
Start with the areas of your life before you set specific goals. This year, the areas of my life that I want to improve are – writing, exercise, traveling and saving. Once you know the areas you are going to aim at, it’s time to write down the goals you want to achieve in these areas.
2. Write them Down
Goals should be written down.
Written down goals are 80% more likely to be achieved. It’s not enough to have your goals in your head. You will need to have your goals in writing, because later on in this article I’m going to talk about how you can use this to create a plan to achieve them this year.
Another thing that a goal should be is measurable – how else are you going to know if you have achieved it? If you plan to save, write down the precise amount you want to save by the end of the year. If you want to travel, list the places you want to see. If you want to increase your salary, know the number you want to reach. Write down the goal clearly, as if you have already achieved it.
An example might be “by 1st January 2020, I have €5,000 in my savings account.”
3. Set a Deadline
From the previous example, you might have noticed that I also included a deadline. It’s important to have a deadline for your goal.
You don’t have to do everything this year, in which case you could have a 5 year deadline. Maybe it’s something smaller that you can do in the next few months, and set that deadline for April. Whatever it is, every goal should have at least 1 deadline.
And if you don’t reach your goal by the deadline, just move the deadline. There are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic deadlines.
“There are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic deadlines. “ – Brian Tracy
4. Identify Obstacles
What are the possible things that might block you from reaching your goals? If your goal is to save more, are there any expensive things that you could cut back on?
Is there a class or course that you need to take to get out of your current job and into a promotion? Is there a job that you have been meaning to apply for? Is there something that is holding you back from exercising?
5. Create a Plan
You have your goal and your deadline, now it’s time to create a plan of action. What are the ways you could achieve your goal?
If you want to increase your salary, research the ways that this can be done. If you want to get a new job, create the plan to improve your portfolio, take interview training, whatever needs to be done to get achieve your goal.
6. Create a System
I believe in systems. If you don’t have a system, you have chaos. Daily life is chaotic enough without adding to this with lofty goals. Aim for effortless.
Working towards achieving your goals will be just that – work. When something is work, you won’t really want to do it on days where you’re tired, or your not feeling 100%. Reduce any kind of friction that this plan will make on your day-to-day life by creating a fool proof system to take small and manageable steps regularly.
An example of a system would be to create a standing order for your savings account every time you receive a paycheck, signing up to an exercise class so you don’t have choice in the matter, or taking and finishing a course that will allow you to move up in your career.
Don’t gamble on “I’m sure I’ll be able to find the time”. Amazing things can happen if you just do a little bit every day, or every week.
7. Make a List of What You Will Need
If you put this step off, you will start to make excuses to not reach your goals. What are the items that you will need to achieve your goals?
Since I’m hoping to improve my fitness this year, I just ordered some cool running gear off Amazon. I’ve never really owned good active-wear before, but I’m hoping that owning decent clothes will help me to stay motivated to use them.
8. Stay Motivated
One of the cool things about using a Trello board for your plan is that you can use a photograph for the background. I usually set this to something that inspires me, like a photo of an art studio, or the city-scape of somewhere I’d like to visit.
I don’t believe in motivational quotes hanging on walls, but I do believe in inspiration. Surround yourself with things that inspire you to achieve your goals.
9. Organise Your Work Area
Up to 30% of time is lost in the office setting because people are looking for files that are not organised. This is unnecessary friction that you can’t afford to bring in to your new high-achieving world.
Organise the things in your closet to make it easier to find the workout clothes you will need on dark and gloomy mornings. Organise the files and folders on your computer for when you are working on a side project. Organise the weekly meal plan to eat healthier. Organise your savings accounts.
10. Identify the Most Important Goal, and Get Started Immediately
Ask yourself – if you could only achieve 1 goal this year, which one would it be? Which one would have the most impact on your life? Is it to earn more? Or to save more? Or work towards a promotion?
Work out what goals is the most important for you, and why.
Then, get started today. Don’t wait. If your goals is to get in better shape, what better time to get started than right now? Order what you need, write out your plan, and set up the system today. No one else is coming to the rescue. No one will tell you to do this, so I’m telling you.
Your homework is to get started on your most important goal and keep going. The impact will be noticeable in a very short space of time if you can integrate it into your lifestyle.
Those are my tips on how you can make 2019 your most successful year yet. I hope you have found some of them useful. If you have any more tips, I’d love to hear from you, either in the comments below or over on twitter.
Thanks again for reading, and Happy New Year.
Banner Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash