It’s the final day of 2018 and I hope you’re as excited as I am to turn the calendar to a fresh, new year tomorrow! I always feel a renewed sense of purpose with the new year and a burst of motivation to set goals or revisit the ones I didn’t quite finish last year. If you want to make 2019 your most productive year yet, here are some tips for setting and working toward your big goals.
1. Limit your number of goals - In the past I’ve been guilty of setting a bunch of big goals at the start of the year and then feeling overwhelmed after a few months and giving up. I’ve learned that I’m much more likely to meet my objectives when they are realistic and achievable, so this year I’m narrowing them down to just a couple. Because change is difficult, I recommend focusing on adding just one new habit or big project at a time. But you probably have more than one thing you’d like to do this year, so that’s where tip #2 comes in…
2. Plan to address some goals later in the year - You have 12 whole months to get stuff done, so give yourself some breathing room. After writing down my big goals I do some thinking about when I will address them in the upcoming year. I use a simple worksheet I created (you can download it here) to map out the upcoming year and I try to focus on just one goal per quarter. I designed the worksheet to hold 2” x 2” sticky notes perfectly, so I can write things down and move them easily as I plan.
3. Focus on the action, not the outcome - New Year’s resolutions are often too vague: get in shape, read more, get organized. Shift your focus instead to the action that will get you to the goal. For example, if your goal is to get in shape, decide how many workouts per week will get you there. If you goal is to read more, set an intention to read a certain number of books per month. Figuring out what you actually need to do to achieve your goal will make it much easier to achieve it.
4. Break it down to specific steps - Big goals are intimidating because it can be difficult to see the path from where you are now to completion. Make the path visible by breaking down your big goals into small steps. Maybe your goal is to cook healthy dinners at home five nights a week. You’ll first need to research recipes and maybe take a cooking class locally or online. You may need some new kitchen tools, and you’ll need to plan meals and make shopping lists. Write down all these small steps and give yourself deadlines to check them off.
5. Remove the obstacles - What are the things standing in the way of your goal? Maybe the junk food in your pantry is preventing you from eating healthier, or lacking a designated space to workout at home is preventing you from exercising regularly. For me, mindless scrolling online often prevents me from getting to bed at a reasonable hour. An easy fix for that is to install a website blocker that will keep me off Facebook and YouTube past my bedtime. Brainstorm some ways to remove the things that are keeping you from reaching your objectives.
6. Schedule time to work on it - Here’s the step I often forget about! Any new goal requires time to work towards it. Figure out where you can fit this new action into your regular routine and what will need to be sacrificed in order to make time for it. Will you get up earlier in the morning or cut out some Netflix viewing? Make a plan and write it in your schedule, and if you miss a couple days don’t get discouraged. Remember, you don’t need a new calendar year to make positive changes, you can jump in anytime to work toward your goals!
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Make it fab!