Setting Goals for the New Year
Make goals, not resolutions. There’s a difference - MP Edition 012
As the year winds down, it’s time to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to 2020. This is also when people start making resolutions for the upcoming year. Come January, gym memberships will skyrocket and optimistic vows of money-saving will be pledged.
However, while made with the best intentions and layered with promises and possibilities, New Year's resolutions are often notoriously broken. Only 20% of people actually stick to their resolutions after a mere month, and only 8% actually accomplish them.
If you’ve ever made a resolution, you know that it’s easy for the resolve and willpower to slip away. So instead of making resolutions, set goals for the new year - the difference is nuanced but setting goals for the new year could be just the thing that helps you achieve what you want to accomplish in 2020. Read our tips on setting goals rather than resolutions for the new year below.
How to set goals and achieve them
One way that goals differ from resolutions is a handy formula. A goal is SMART. And by smart, we mean Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. This is not a new concept, in fact, it’s used to set business goals all the time. Let’s look at what a SMART goal is.
Your goal should be specific
When your goal is too broad, it can feel overwhelming. Get down to the nitty-gritty of what you want to achieve. For example, if you want to save money next year, think about how you’ll go about doing that - will you get a raise, switch to a higher-paying job, or start a side hustle? Then break it down even further, what will you need to do to achieve those things? Get as specific as possible and break it down into digestible and manageable steps that you need to take to achieve your broader goal.
Your goal should be measurable
The point of setting goals is to see how well you’re doing. If your goal is to save money or lose weight, track how much you want to save or lose so you can monitor your progress throughout the year.
Your goal should be achievable
There's nothing wrong with being ambitious - it’s what pushes you outside your comfort zone and helps you grow as an individual. But at the same time you have to make sure the goal is achievable or else you’re just setting yourself up for stress and disappointment. You have to be realistic and ask yourself: Is this goal ambitious or simply outrageous?
Your goal should be relevant
In a work environment, this typically refers to whether your goal is relevant to the company’s vision or mission but it can be applied to your personal life as well. Think about whether your goal is relevant to what you want out of life? Dig into the desire behind your goals. Saving money might allow you to buy a house and start a family. Losing weight may mean feeling comfortable and confident in your own skin. Viewing your goal through this mindset rather than thinking about it as yet another thing to do on your ever-growing to-do list will help provide the motivation needed to hit your goals.
Your goal should be time bound
Let’s be real, if you didn’t have a deadline, there would be nothing pushing you to get things done. There’s obviously the broader timeline of the end of the year but break your goal down into manageable chunks and set deadlines for each. Have targets for every month or every 2 weeks, that way it’ll be easy to see your progress and how you’re doing.
Now that you’ve got your SMART goals for 2020, here are our top tips to help you achieve them.
Incorporate it into your routine
Integrating your goals into your daily routine will make it easier for you to achieve them. Try:
Adding your deadlines to your calendar
Setting reminders on your phone
Multi-tasking and doing your goals while watching TV, doing the dishes, or laundry
Whenever you have free time, dedicate it to working on your goals, that way your brain becomes familiar with the task.
Share your goals
Telling people about your goals not only keeps you accountable but it helps make the journey less lonely. To go at a goal alone can feel like a burden. Telling your family and friends creates a support system that can encourage you when you feel like giving up, as well as celebrate the little wins along the way. Join a community of people who are pursuing a similar goal or take on the challenge with a buddy - either way, share your wins, setbacks, and everything in between.
Don’t be so hard on yourself
Set-backs and roadblocks are part of life. Don’t expect your journey to go smoothly. Whether it’s missing a day of working out or splurging on a little something-something for yourself when you need it, don’t be so hard on yourself. Studies show that people who have a set back within the first month can still achieve their goals, proving that perseverance is key. A few setbacks won’t derail you completely. And make sure to take time to practice self-care too. If you feel stressed over your goals, take a bath, meditate, and read a book. Take care of yourself.
Go with the flow
Your goals may not stay the same, and that’s ok. You evolve as a person every day, so why wouldn’t your goals? You might feel differently mid-year than you did in January. Or life might throw something unexpected at you. When this happens, don’t give up, just adjust accordingly. You’re the one who sets your goals, and you can just as easily change them if the situation calls for it. Hopefully, these tips will help you set goals for the new year and crush them - happy goal setting!