After what has hopefully been a productive 2018 for everybody, we’ve entered 2019 with a clean slate, and for some, a fresh new list of goals to tick off.
I normally struggle with achieving long term goals because after a while, I tend to lose focus. However, last year I knuckled down and managed to get through almost everything on my list, much to my own surprise!
It can be difficult to stay motivated throughout the year, but after having such a productive year last year, I wrote down a 6 step process that works for me, and I’m going to share it with you:
1. Write down what you hope to achieve this year.
This could be anything: writing a novel, losing weight, or getting a new job. Whatever it is, write it down!
Then try make them more detailed. For example, perhaps you might want to write a 30,000 word novel, lose 8lbs, lose an inch around your hips, or get a new job as a senior full stack developer.
Being more specific with your goals gives you something concrete to work towards, and allows you to measure your progress more accurately.
2. Break these goals down
For some people, it’s hard to stay focused on goals that seem so big. Being one of these people, for me, I find breaking them down a good way of making them feel more achievable.
So for each goal, ask yourself: what can I do to achieve this? Then write them all down in a checklist.
For writing that 30k novel, it might help if you break it down into 5k word milestones, alongside plotting and editing. If your goal is to slim down an inch on your hips, could be achieved by going to the gym at least once a week, and aiming to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. To get that new job, you might want to do research on what roles are out there, and what skills you’d need to get those jobs. If you don’t have those skills, your goals would be to learn them before applying for the roles.
There’s so many ways you can go about achieving certain goals, and sometimes that knowledge in itself is intimidating enough to put you off even trying. So make it easier for yourself before you start, and break them down into lots of mini goals to achieve over the year.
3. Consider your timeframe
Doing this will help you visualise the year ahead in terms of your goals, and get an idea of when you’re likely to reach certain milestones.
If you’re hoping to lose 2lbs over a year, you can realistically reach that in a month by aiming to lose a pound every fortnight, but if you’re hoping to lose 12lbs, you might want to aim for a longer time period; perhaps a 2lbs loss a month for 6 months, or even a pound a month for a year.
Likewise, with writing a story, it depends on what the goal requires. If you already have a well-formed plot in your head, and are a quick writer, you might find you’ll only need a couple of months to finish writing it to a good standard, but if you just have a small idea without any inkling of the characters involved, you might need a month or many more to plot before you even consider writing it. The same goes for career goals: learning skills takes time, as does the job application process.
Having a rough estimate on how long each task will take you will give you a better idea of what you can do within a year, and also provide you with solid milestones to reach at certain points of the year. If you can’t see yourself finishing even half of these tasks, then you might need to think about adjusting your goal.
4. Put them somewhere you can see them
With your goals broken down into manageable tasks and with a clearer timeframe, you’ll have a better idea of what to aim for across the year.
This year, I’ve drawn up a Trello board for all of my 2019 goals, and I’ve added all of my January tasks in the “To Do” column, with “In progress” and “Done” columns to move them to when I’ve completed them. It sounds quite over the top to have a task board, but I find it helpful to see them all there, and to know how much I’ve done so far, and what I’m yet to do still!
Another thing I also did that helped me last year was blogging them! By publishing my goals on the internet that essentially anyone could see, I felt as though by not completing them, I would be disappointing someone who was rooting for me to get them done. That thought alone spurred me on to trying to complete them.
5. Review them at least once a month
If you have more than one goal for 2019, you can begin to forget some of the things you were aiming for if you’re not checking your resolutions for the year. What was probably the most helpful thing for me last year, was reviewing my goals at the end of every month, and consistently reviewing how much more I needed to do.
Some months, I did well, and other months, I didn’t, but this practice helped me keep on track with what was left that I needed to do.
6. Persevere, but don’t pressure yourself
At times, you may feel like giving up: perhaps you’ve had an off month, and you’ve not really felt that productive, and that’s fine. When this happens, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.
You won’t be on top of everything all the time, so make sure to give yourself a rest and don’t guilt yourself when you think you’ve been slacking. So while it’s important to persevere when you’ve got things to do, it’s also just as important to slow down when you need to.
That’s my list of tips to help you achieve your goals! If you’ve been struggling to set your new years resolutions for this year, or your long term goals in general, these tips will hopefully come in handy.
This process is what works for me when it comes to setting goals in a way that motivates me to work on them more consistently, but everyone is different: what works for me, might not work for everyone!
On that note, I hope this list has been helpful. What methods help you achieve to your goals?