How to set goals you will actually achieve
January usually comes with unrealistic expectations. Many of us dream of a new life for the new year. We end the year motivated by our great ambitions, convinced that January 1st will mark a turning point in our lives and that we will finally achieve our goals.
Unfortunately, according to a study published in Forbes, despite over 40% of Americans making resolutions for the New Year, less than 8% of people actually stick to them.
Why do so many people fail at goal-setting despite high hopes and motivation? What are the 8% doing differently?
If you struggle to stick to your resolutions, these 11 tips on achieving goals will help you understand what actionable steps you can take today to create your dream life this year.
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Do a life audit
The very first step to setting goals and living by your resolutions is to understand where you stand and where your life is heading.
The easiest way to do so is by doing a life audit. Hundreds of different tools are available to do it. My favorite one is the Wheel of Life.
This simple tool usually focuses on the 8 main areas of our lives :
- Social Life
- Physical Appearance
- Personal Growth
This exercise aims to grade your level of satisfaction in each area of the wheel from 0 (not satisfied at all) to 10 (very satisfied).
This simple exercise will bring clarity and help you with the next point on this list: defining your priorities.
Related post: How to do a life audit using the Wheel of Life
Choose your battles
One of people’s biggest mistakes when setting new goals is trying to achieve too much, too fast.
Your high hopes should not make you forget that you only have 24 hours a day and probably have to work and sleep for at least half of it.
Defining your priorities will be essential to achieving your goals because it will help you set new daily habits to support them.
When defining new goals, keep this in mind: to be successful, you need to be consistent. And to do so, you need to stay realistic.
Define your milestones before your deadlines
To make sure you keep your goals realistic, you will need to work backward and define milestones.
If you plan to lose 30 lbs, your milestones will be losing 5 lbs, 10 lbs, etc. Instead of setting your deadline and then thinking about your milestones, list the different steps of your journey and define reasonably how long it will take you to achieve each of them.
Repeat this action for each of your goals, defining a set of milestones and deadlines per goal.
This step will be the basis of your action plan, helping you figure out exactly how long it will take you to achieve your goals in the best-case scenario.
Make your plan
Another important step differentiating people who achieve their goals from those who give up is creating a clear, actionable plan.
To create your plan, you will need to know your milestones and deadlines. You will then need to find your perfect planner, choose between a paper or digital version, and save your deadlines and milestones in it.
Define new habits supporting your goals
To achieve your goals fast and transform your life, you must take action every day. To do so, you will need to define new habits to support your goals.
Habits, good and bad, have a massive impact on our lives. Your bad habits will definitely limit your success.
To transform your life, you will need to make minor adjustments to your daily routines. Defining your new habits and, more importantly, writing them down will help you understand the changes you will have to make to achieve your goals.
After writing your new habits down, you will need to find a way to track them. You will probably need to implement several habits to transform your life.
Life will keep you busy so tracking your habits is the easiest way to ensure you do not forget about them and stay consistent every day.
To help you, I have included 2 habit trackers in my free 19-page printable planner. Subscribe using the form below to receive them in your inbox.
Know Your Chronotype
The habits you decide to implement will not be the only factor determining your success. Your consistency will be key to transforming your life rapidly.
To stay consistent with your new rituals, you need to do everything you can to make it easier for you to keep up.
Working out at 6 am might be a bit too ambitious if you are not a morning person. To stay consistent in the long run, you need to make sure your new habits are aligned with your obligations and own rhythm.
The easiest way to do so is to find out your chronotype. The chronotype concept is a science-based theory demonstrating that our circadian clocks impact our productivity levels and define the best time to perform specific activities such as sleeping, focusing on deep work, or being creative.
There are 4 different chronotypes :
- Lions are goal-driven, highly productive, and can accomplish massive amounts of work before noon. Lions like to kick start the day early in the morning, need a nap in the afternoon, and like to rest in the evening.
- Wolves need a few hours to be fully awake and feel motivated. They are usually more productive in the afternoon and should plan creative/light tasks in the morning.
- Bears are the most productive before 2 pm. They lose focus in the afternoon and should plan their important tasks between 10 am and 2 pm.
- Dolphins are often dealing with anxiety issues. They have trouble finding sleep and a hard time waking up in the morning. Dolphins should plan light/creative tasks in the morning and deep work in the afternoon and evening.
If you want to find out your chronotype and discover how it can help you create your perfect daily schedule, take my chronotype quiz.
Another reason many people give up on their resolutions is a lack of time. Transforming your life will require time and energy.
The easiest way to make time is to track your screen time. Many people spend precious hours daily scrolling on their phones or watching Netflix.
You would undoubtedly be surprised to find out how much time you actually spend on your phone/tablet even though you are not active on social media.
Using a screen time tracking app will help you realize how much time you waste daily. You will then be able to stop this bad habit and replace it with activities supporting your goals.
Another great way to make more time is to use a timer when you do chores and other unproductive tasks. Home chores take so much time, and you can always do more. Setting a timer is a great way to ensure you do not waste an entire day cleaning.
These 15 time management hacks will help you be more productive and make time for things that really matter to you.
Look for inspiration
Another essential aspect of keeping your resolutions is remembering why you started and consistently looking for inspiration.
Pinterest is definitely my favorite tool for finding inspiration. Staying inspired is a great way to keep going and stay consistent even when having a hard day.
The easiest way to cheer you up when you feel like you are making little to no progress is to seek inspiration from people who have already achieved the same goals.
Podcasts and personal growth books are also fantastic for keeping your goals in mind and getting inspired to transform your life.
Here are my favorite books and podcasts for personal growth:
- Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
- Atomic Habits by James Clear
- The Mountain is you by Brianna Wiest
- Quit like a millionaire by Kristy Shen
- The 4-hour workweek by Timothy Ferriss
- The subtle art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manson
- Everything is f*cked by Mark Manson
- The psychology of Money by Morgan Housel
- You’re a badass at making money by Jen Sincero
- Thinking, fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman
- The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ Demarco
- The automatic millionaire by David Bach
- Think and grow rich by Napoleon Hill
- How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie
- The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley
- Ten percent happier with Dan Harris
- Happier with Gretchen Rubin
- The Lavendaire Lifestyle by Lavendaire
- Design your dream life with Natalie Bacon
- The Tony Robbins Podcast by Tony Robbins
Track your progress
Another simple but effective tip for achieving goals is tracking your progress to stay motivated. Even if you work hard day after day, you will sometimes feel like you are making no progress.
This is why writing down your milestones is so important. Doing so will help you remember where you started and cheer you up.
Tracking your progress is also necessary to ensure you meet your deadlines. It will also help you with the next point on this list.
Review your plan and reassess it
Tracking your progress will help you review your plan and reassess it if necessary. It is an important step to ensure you achieve your goals.
We all usually consider the best-case scenario when making our plans. Understanding and accepting that things can go wrong are also one of the biggest differences between people who achieve their goals or give up on them.
Reflecting on your journey will help you understand what you can improve or change to achieve your goals despite the setbacks.
Celebrate your accomplishments
The secret to transforming your life is being consistent and staying motivated. Celebrating all your accomplishments is a great means to stay motivated even when you feel down.
Celebrating every success will empower you in this journey. If you decide to celebrate them with your family and friends, it will also be an excellent opportunity to feel supported.
Unfortunately, it can happen that you don’t find the support you’ll need from your relatives and friends. If that’s the case, you should look for communities online! Facebook groups are a great place to share with people with the same goals!
Creating a personal development plan is the best way to have a clear direction and know where you are headed in life.
If you want to transform your life, you need to strive for more and keep going even after reaching your goals by setting new goals.
I like to see personal development as a never-ending journey. This might seem demotivating at first, especially if this is the first time you have created such a plan.
After reaching your first milestones and achieving your goals, you will quickly realize how satisfying this process is and will become unstoppable!