With the New Year being so close, I decided to write a post on how to set achievable goals for yourself. The change to a New Year is a great chance for people to reflect on the past year and figure out what they want this next year to bring, which is why setting New Years resolutions is such a popular thing to do on New Years Eve. The issue with New Years resolutions is that they tend to be too broad, without a time frame or a plan on how to achieve the goal you’ve set; this is why most resolutions are already forgotten about by the time February rolls around. Today, I’m going to walk you through a step-by-step on setting goals for yourself, so that this years New Years resolutions aren’t just forgotten about the moment you write them down.
Step One: Write down your goal
The most simple step; write down your goal.
EXAMPLE: I want to start waking up earlier.
Step Two: Re-write your goal and make it more specific.
Our brains do everything we tell them to, so we have to be specific with our wording. If your goal is to wake up earlier, your brain can interpret that in a lot of different ways. “Earlier” can be fifteen minutes earlier than usual or it can mean six hours earlier than usual; being specific will give your brain a focal point and make it that much easier to accomplish. You’re also going to re-write your goal in the “I am…” format. Wording is key, and by starting with “I am going to…” vs. “I want to…” you’re saying there is no way you’re not going to achieve your goal. It makes it more real instead of just another thing you want.
EXAMPLE: I am going to start waking up at 5:00 in the morning.
Step Three: Write down the why
What is motivating you to accomplish this goal? Your reason has to be important enough to you that you are willing to work for it. Motivation only lasts for so long; eventually your motivation will have to turn into discipline in order for you to really make progress toward your goal, so your “why” behind setting your goal is very important to identify and understand.
Step Four: Break it down into smaller goals
What goes into achieving your goal? Most goals can be broken down into parts; this also goes along with how you are going to be able to achieve your goal. As much as I’d love to just be able to wake up at 5:00 AM every day, it’s not that simple; there are steps to take that will help make it easier to do, and also make it easier for me to continue doing it.
a. Identify what has kept you from achieving this goal in the past; how do you plan on getting past that?
Example: Make a list of all the reasons you can think of
- Staying up too late
- Not winding down quickly enough after work
- Eating too late
- Scrolling through social media late at night
- Snoozing my alarm
b. What are the steps you need to take in order to be able to achieve your goal?
Example: There are quite a few steps that I need to take in order to be able to make a habit out of getting up earlier:
- Going to bed earlier
- Starting my nightly routine at the same time every night
- Making sure to get off my phone an hour before I go to bed
- Start setting my alarm earlier in increments of 15 min
The steps I need to take were based off my answers to Part A; I need to find ways to get around what has kept me from achieving this goal in the past, like staying up too late on my phone and snoozing the alarm.
c. What will you focus on this week to help achieve your goal?
This question is so important, because it’s going to keep you from getting overwhelmed. Choose one step from above and focus on only that for a week. If you try to change too many things too fast, the chances of you sticking with your new routine are slim. Give yourself one thing to focus on, and do that until you feel comfortable with it; then you can start with the another step.
Example: I’m gonna start with putting my phone aside an hour before I go to bed, and I’m going to do that for one week. That way I can adjust to that first before I start on another step. Simple enough!
Step Five: Make a timeline
When do you want to achieve your goal by? Identifying this will help you actually complete your goal. The timeline makes it more real for you and your brain, and it also makes it easier to identify how long to spend on each step. Just remember to make this a realistic timeline; habits and goals aren’t achieved overnight. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds, for instance, do some research and figure out how long it should take you to actually lose 50 pounds. Not giving yourself enough time will just cause you to feel defeated when that date comes and you haven’t met your goal.
For really large goals (like goals that might take an entire year) I’d suggest setting checkpoints for yourself, maybe every three months? For example, this time next year I want to have grown my blog to 10,000 subscribers. Check-ins every three months are how I’m going to make sure I’m on the right path; it will help me figure out if I need to adjust my strategy or if what I am doing is working . Long-term goals are a good thing for inspiration and motivation, but actually achieving them is going to be difficult if you aren’t consistently checking in and seeing the progress you’ve made towards completing them.
1.Write down your goal
2. Re-write your goal with specific wording
3. Write down the “why”
4. Break your goal down into smaller goals (this is especially important for long-term goals)
5. Set a timeline
I hope this post is helpful for your 2021 goal setting! Let me know what some of your goals are in the comment section below, and be sure to pin this post so you can save it for later. See you all next year!