As 2019 is coming to an end, we are going to begin a new chapter in 2020. For me personally, the days between Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve are the time to reflect and consider how I want to evolve or reinvent myself during the new year. I love making New Year’s resolutions and plans as well as thinking about my dreams and goals for the year ahead.
But let’s be honest: While we visualize our perfect future-self, it can get really hard to stick to all these goals we put on ourselves. Our good resolutions are quickly forgotten and sooner than expected we find ourselves in the usual daily grind.
In this blog post, I will therefore share with you my thoughts on goal setting, the process to set the right goals and how to stick to them once you’ve defined them. I think goal setting is a powerful tool to give your life direction. That’s why I hope this blog post inspires you to clarify your own goals and to take action in order to achieve them in 2020.
About the importance of goal setting
Did you know that about 92% of people who set New Year’s Goals actually never achieve them? Failing to meet your goals is pretty frustrating and can set you back – believe me, I’ve been there (I think we all were!).
So why setting goals in the first place, you may ask. In my opinion, the process of goal setting has a huge motivational factor in the short term, but also gives you a long-term vision you want to pursue. While thinking about your ideal future, you motivate yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.
The key here is to not only think about your goals, but also manifest them by writing them down: Research showed that those who write down their goals on a regular basis are 42% more likely to achieve them.
Goal setting also helps me to clarify my mind, because I know where I have to concentrate my efforts. It gives clear direction and focus and helps you to organise your time and actions to achieve them.
Action steps to define and stick to your goals
Step 1: Visualize your goals in different areas of life
First of all, create different goal sections that represent different areas in life, for example work and career, health and fitness, personal development, relationships or finances. Then start to define your sub-goals by visualizing the ideal scenario in all given areas. Ask yourself how you want to feel and how you can achieve these feelings. This way, you make sure the goals have value and are meaningful to YOU, which is crucial in order to attain them.
To gain more clarity during this step, I always ask myself the question: “Why do I want this?”. Be honest with yourself and don’t set yourself goals based on the expectations of others. If you’re not passionate about it, you’re not going to reach them. It’s as simple as that.
Step 2: Set specific and challenging goals
Make sure your goals are precise by putting in dates, times and amounts. This allows you to measure the steps towards your destination and your final achievement – which comes with a satisfying feeling from actually having achieved it. Also, prioritize your goals by time and its impact. The most intimidating goals are in general the most important ones as they will especially push your personal growth. Challenging yet attainable goals are key!
Research shows that these two factors (specific and challenging goals) lead to higher performance 90% of the time. The quote “What gets measured gets done” by Peter Drucker couldn’t be more true in this context.
Let me illustrate this with an example: One of my personal goals for 2020 is to read at least 20 books until December 31st. Therefore, I’ll use my time more efficiently by listening to one audiobook a month. Furthermore, I’ll read at least 20 pages per day by reducing my Netflix consumption in the evenings. Is this goal challenging for me? – for sure. And is it achievable? – definitely! Always remember to be as precise as possible and that the path to your destination should be fun – this makes it so much easier to actually achieve your goals!
Step 3: Take action
Goals can be intimidating and overwhelming. That’s why you should define concrete action steps that help you keep the promises you made to yourself. This can be recurring actions you integrate into your everyday life or bigger one-time actions you need to execute to make the next steps. With a clear roadmap in mind, you can start with small, measurable steps towards your final destination. And never forget that your power is the now: What are simple things you can do TODAY to make your dreams a reality?
I’m also a big believer in the effects of consistent actions in our everyday lives. Commit to something daily, even if it’s just some minutes and you will see changes quite rapidly. Take this as a driving force and motivation and to keep yourself accountable.
Step 4: Track your progress
By tracking your steps and your progress daily, you’ll know how far you have already come. Take this as a motivation and inspiration for future steps to meet your goals. I love the section within the Inspired Stories planner where I’m able to write down the action steps on a yearly, monthly and weekly basis to meet the deadlines. Besides, I track my progress daily in order to establish new habits and rituals that help me achieving them. We are what we repeatedly do – and we all want to be a better version of ourselves, right?
So now grab a pen and paper (alternatively your tablet or computer if pen and paper are foreign to you ;-)) and write down your goals, following the tips outlined in this blog post. When it comes to me, I simply love to write down everything on paper, which is why I still have a physical yearly planner. I’m working with the Inspired Stories planner for the fourth year in a row, which I warmly recommend to everybody. It helps you with all steps mentioned above and is the perfect companion for your everyday planning.*
What are some of the goals you want to achieve or new habits you want to establish in the new year? Whatever it might be, have fun along the way and write your own story of 2020!
With much love,