The champagne has been popped and drank. The streamers have been cleaned up and the gold party hats have been put away until next year. Another New Years Day has come and gone.
2018 is over and 2019 is officially upon us friends. With a new year, comes new resolutions and new goals. As you look back on the goals you set in the beginning of 2018, do you see a list of hopes and dreams that ultimately came true as you progressed through the year? Or do you see a graveyard of good intentions that never materialized?
I hope that you were able to meet your goals over the last year however, statistically speaking, many of you didn’t. I know how that feels. There’s been many times that I failed to reach the goals I set for myself. I didn’t meet every single one of the goals that I set for 2018 but I did succeed at hitting most.
Over the last few years, I have been able to consistently increase the percentage of goals that I meet each year. It’s been a slow and often frustrating blend of learning from my own failures while learning from successful people at the same time.
Goal setting does not need to be a complicated process. Unfortunately, many gurus and internet personalities make it seem like goal setting is a difficult process that requires an insane amount of planning. Of course, you can learn the process if you read their book.
Look, there are a ton of great books out there on setting goals that I would never put down but I think they confuse many more than they help. I like to keep goal setting simple. When I have over complicated it in the past, I found that I got overwhelmed and just ended up quitting on my goals out of frustration.
With that being said, here are my 4 goal setting tips to make 2019 your year.
# 1-Start simple and break them down
This is the most important in my opinion and has been the most helpful for me. People like to set huge goals for themselves but they tend to psyche themselves out in the process.
I used to set these gigantic goals for myself and when I got to the end of the year, I barely made any progress. My mind couldn’t conceptualize how to begin to reach such a large goal when I was so far away to begin with.
A perfect example is a weight loss goal. Let’s use someone with the overall goal of losing 50 pounds in one year. That might work for some but for many, that’s a big number and it’s overwhelming to think about.
A much easier way to set the same goal would be to aim to lose 5 pounds in one month. Anyone can do that and your mind can conceptualize it because it’s a small number. After you reach your goal for the first month, set it again for the second month and every month after.
After you hit it for a few months you will gain momentum and gain confidence. It will feel like nothing after you’ve hit it a few times. Losing 5 pounds every month will be 60 pounds by the end of the year and ten pounds more than the original goal. You’ve surpassed the goal by taking a series of small steps.
# 2-Be realistic
This is another huge mistake that I used to make. The Gurus will tell you to never be realistic and set these gigantic goals but it doesn’t really work that way.
The rare person will go from zero to a million dollars in one year. Weirder things have happened but overall, progress is rarely linear. It’s often two steps forward and one step back.
With that being said, I think the best option is to set a goal just beyond what you think is at the upper end of possible. You want your goals to stretch you and force you to grow while reaching them but you don’t want them to destroy you. Your goals should be believable to you.
If I set a goal of becoming the president in 2020, I am just setting myself up for disappointment. For starters, I’m five years below the minimum age to run for president so that’s obviously not going to happen and I’d be setting myself up for failure from the beginning because it’s not realistic at all. I also couldn’t think of a worse job so there’s that too.
The goal should look feel possible but at the same time require a lot of hard work to reach. That’s the measurement that I have for my goals. Not easy but possible.
# 3- Write them down
This seems like such an obvious thing to do but yet many don’t actually do it. How can you expect to reach your goals if you never write them down?
People think that if they just keep their goals in their head that it’ll be enough. It won’t be. Think how many directions your mind goes in during every second of the day. You really think it’s going to be able to constantly keep track of your goals?
Writing down your goals does a few things. It helps you to remember the goals you actually set and puts them into existence. Also, when they’re written down you’re going to be far less likely to change them. It feels awful to cross out a goal you set and replace it with an easier one because you haven’t been doing the work. Trust me I know from experience.
Writing down your goals also allows you to keep them somewhere so that you can see them at all times. A lot of people post their goals on a mirror so that they will see them every time they walk by or look into the mirror. I personally like to keep them written on a note card that I carry with me. I can pull them out whenever I have some downtime to review them.
Something that I have done was rewrite my goals daily. Once or twice a day I will write the same goals down on a legal pad or planner. This is my personal favorite planner that will have you writing your goals down twice a day. I never accomplished my goals quicker than when I used that planner.
Writing my goals down daily keeps them constantly on the top of my mind and I find that I hit them much quicker when I am thinking about them constantly.
#4- Make them clear and measurable
Your goals should be written in a way in which you can clearly define success. If I just say that I want to lose weight by the end of the year, that doesn’t provide me with a measurable way to know whether I actually reached the goal.
If I defined success as losing 25 pounds by the last day of December 2019, then I will know within the first second of December 31st, 2019 whether I hit my goal or not. There will be no confusion. I either lost the 25 pounds and was successful or didn’t lose at least 25 pounds and failed.
People like to set ambiguous goals because they want to leave room for themselves to feel like they won when they didn’t. If I just say that I want to earn more money in 2019 but don’t specifically say how much more, I can technically say I reached that goal if I make a dollar more this year then I did the last year. In reality though, I just remained where I was. With inflation, I probably would have actually made less.
Make this your year
I want this to be your year. I want you to reach your goals in 2019. The best way that I know for you to do that is to set yourself up for success from the beginning.
If you follow these four tips when setting your goals this year, I am confident that you will find a great deal of success. Small step after small step turns into leaps and bounds over time.
Be consistent with your goals and don’t get overwhelmed. Promise yourself that this is going to be the year you stick to your New Year’s resolutions and goals.
What are some things you do when setting goals that you have found helpful? I would love to hear below.