Setting and Accomplishing Goals for the New Year

Setting and Accomplishing Goals for the New Year

Most of us have at least one new goal that we’re working towards for 2015. Sometimes achieving the goal is more about resilience and persistence than it is about the actual goal. Often people are really great at working towards a goal the first week or two, but by week 3 they’ve lost focus and by week 4, they’re lamenting over what they did wrong and debate about whether or not to start over.

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That is the single most important thing in accomplishing goals that you set for yourself: keep your eye on the ball! Staying focused on the end result, whatever it is you want to achieve is the key ingredient to seeing it through. Here are some ideas on how you can keep yourself focused and stick with your 2015 goals:

  • Write it down – Why do you want to accomplish this? How are you planning to get there? About how long to you estimate it will take to reach success? These are important questions to answer before you get started. Once you take a realistic look at your goal, you may find that it will take 6 months or more, and that helps to prepare you for the long haul. Often we set off on a goal and in our minds we haven’t prepared ourselves for it to take longer than a couple weeks. So, be prepared and have a plan of action!
  • Make a List – Write down at least three reasons why you’re working towards your goal. If it’s to lose weight, maybe one goal is to fit into your favorite jeans and another is to be able to run a 9-minute mile (or something). If your goal is financial, list the reasons (e.g. get out of debt, by my dream car). Put this list on your mirror in the bathroom and read it to yourself everyday. Here’s the trick, you actually have to give it your full attention everyday, or else it will just become another spot on the mirror that you’ll overlook.
  • Announce your Goal – Accountability can be a bitch, but if tell your friends “In July I’m buying my dream car!” your friends will hold you accountable (even if it’s just so they can pick on you for not getting to your goal). The goal has more at stake now because you feel accountable to see it to the end.
  • Reward Yourself for Benchmarks – pick some reasonable benchmarks; maybe it’s every 10 pounds of weight lost, or every bill that gets paid in full, and reward yourself in some small way. Maybe give yourself t he afternoon off work and go to a movie, or get a massage. Give yourself something to look forward to in the short term, but don’t let the reward in any way hinder your progress. What I mean here is, don’t lose 10 pounds by giving up sugar and then reward yourself with a slice of chocolate cake. You’re tempting fate! Pick a reward that has nothing to do with food if you’re dieting, and nothing to do with money if you’re trying to get out of debt (and so on… you get the idea).
  • Keep a Log. Keep track of your progress. When I was working on getting out of debt and increasing my net worth, I made a very crude graph on some graph paper. Every month I would add a data point for each creditor I owed (the remaining balance) and a data point for all my savings/investment accounts. I could then visually see my progress each month. I knew when the “debt lines” crossed the “net worth lines” on the graph, I was nearly to my goal.

Perseverance and patience, along with focus and passion for what it is you want out of life is the 100% ingredient list for success. Do what you have to to keep those qualities around while you’re working towards your goals. Maybe you have better ideas on how to do that than mine. Regardless, if you want to accomplish your life goals (small or large), you must keep your eye on the ball!

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