With the start of a new year comes promise, excitement and hope. That is why it is the perfect time to set yourself some goals. With the whole year stretching ahead of you there is no telling what will happen and what you can achieve. So you blissfully state what you are going to work towards and how you are going to make your year great.
That is the mindset at the beginning of the year. The reality on actually achieving those goals is a lot different when the first weeks of the year are a distant memory and you are neck deep in work, family, commitments and stress.
If you actually want to follow through with your new year’s resolution and achieve something this year then you need to read these tips.
Want to get started? Download the accompanying 3-page workbook to make a start on defining your goal.
How To Set A New Year’s Resolution That Works
In order to make your new year’s resolution become a reality, you need to structure it as a proper goal. If you have heard of the idea of a SMART goal but aren’t sure what it means, I will demystify it for you.
SMART is an acronym for setting goals that actually work…
S – Specific
M – Measureable
A – Achievable
R – Relevant
T – Timely
Let’s break each of these aspects down and look at them in greater detail so that you can turn this dreams into a reality this year.
What is it that you want to achieve?
Your goal needs to be a specific one. There is no point saying that you want to lose weight or that you want to eat better. Because what does that really mean? Does it mean that you want to lose 20kg and remove all sugar from your life, or does it mean that you want to lose 1kg and stop drinking soda so often?
If you set a goal with specific details then you can work towards it and know if you have actually achieved what you wanted to come year end.
How will you measure progress?
Being able to measure your progress is an important part of staying on track. So when deciding on your goal, you will also need to decide on a timeline for when you want to complete it within.
Will it be a goal that will take you all year to complete, or will it be a shorter 90 day goal that helps you work towards a larger goal?
To make your goal measurable, you will need to have cold evidence at the end of the timeframe.
When you have your specifics and timeline nailed down, then you can break your big goal into smaller actionable steps. You might set yourself monthly or weekly tasks that will ensure that you have completed all of the required components to achieve your goal within your designated timeframe.
Is your goal realistic?
There is a fine balance when setting an achievable goal. Make it too easy and you will complete it within 3 weeks. But make it too hard and you will give up halfway through because you know you are never going to complete it.
To find that sweet spot between the two extremes your goal must scare you a little bit, but it has to be realistic and achievable at the same time. It should make you constantly push towards being your best, but not leave you drained and stressed out.
Saying that you want to double your income next year is fine if you run your own business, but having that goal as a full time employee is probably not achievable.
Why do you want to reach this goal?
Is your goal suitable for you? It is something that you are really passionate about, or did you set the goal because you thought that you should?
Ensuring that your goal is relevant to you means drilling down into your why.
Why you are working towards that goal and what it will make your life look like at the end of the year. Is it something you truly want and is aligned with your beliefs and values.
If your goal is not relevant to you then it is unlikely you will have the motivation to complete it.
How & when will you fit it in?
Time is a really important currency. You only have a finite amount of it every day, so you need to make it count. Set yourself a plan with deadlines.
Deadlines are what drive you forward and keep you on track. Make sure that your timeline is realistic and somewhat flexible.
If something comes up then you need to have the wiggle room to deal with it first. But always return to your task deadlines. Being too strict with your deadlines can have the opposite effect to what you want. It may kill your motivation instead of boosting it.
Get started with the Free 3-page workbook
Following the SMART formula is a great way of creating a new year’s resolution that you will be able to follow through on and actually achieve. Having a dream is great, but having that dream become a reality is a feeling that is indescribable.
That sense of pride and achievement is enough to make you want to go ahead and set another round of goals the following year.
Download the worksheet below to get started on defining your goal!