Another year is coming to an end. The time has arrived to start reflecting and thinking about what New Year’s resolutions you’ll make. Everyone wants to start their year off right. All around the world resolutions are made in the hope of a better, healthier future and leaving the previous year behind.
But, sticking to your 2020 goals can be tough. Research shows that about 60% of people make New Year’s resolutions but only 8% actually achieve them. Yeah that’s not the best stats when it comes to making the long lasting change we all hope to achieve. To give yourself the best chance of success, you need to eliminate procrastination and start working towards your big 2020 goals.
Here are 10 steps to take to achieve your goals:
- Think about what you really want to achieve
- Dream big but realistic
- Set your goal and be specific
- Cut your timeframe in half
- Break it down again and again
- Write it down
- Tell everyone
- Keep track of your goal
- Visualize the end result
The Benefits of Cutting Your Goal Timeframe in Half
Have you ever found yourself saying the diet starts Monday or tomorrow will be the day you start training for your first 5K run? Well, you’re not alone. Procrastination is something you have all probably had a little experience with. No matter how organized or committed you are, chances are you’ve found yourself scrolling through Facebook or watching TV when you should have been working on something else.
Setting a big goal for the year is fantastic. But, with a big goal comes a higher risk of procrastination. At times, a big goal can feel very overwhelming to the point you don’t even know where to start. Then you just end up procrastinating and putting it off for to another day.
According to research published in the book HARD Goals, goal success is associated with a strong sense of urgency. People who feel a strong sense of urgency are more likely to achieve their goals.
So, how do you eliminate procrastination, start reaching your goals, and increase that sense of urgency? By cutting your goal timeframe in half. But, don’t just half it once, keep halving it until you realize what your daily targets are.
If you had a year to train for a marathon, decide what you need to accomplish by six months then three months, 30 days, one week and then a day. Break down your goal timeframe to the point where you have daily, weekly, monthly and yearly targets.
10 Steps to Set and Achieve Your Goals in 2020
1. Think About What You Really Want to Achieve
In order to set the best goal for yourself, you need to reflect on who you are and focus on what you really want to achieve. Do you want to run twice a week, start yoga or maybe stop using single-use plastics? Whatever you choose to do, make sure you understand the WHY behind it.
You need to stay committed to this goal for the whole year so make sure you’re doing it because you want to. Don’t let other people’s opinions influence your decision. Recognize your why behind the habit you’re hoping to develop and then keep the why top of mind not the habit itself.
This technique sounds counterintuitive. But we don’t actually want to achieve new habits. It’s not something you actually desire when you think about it. Wanting to run multiple times a week could be a habit you want to develop because you want to have more endurance. Spend time identifying your why.
2. Dream Big! But Realistic
Goal setting is a bit of an art. If your goal isn’t big enough, you’ll lose the motivation to keep going. On the other hand, if your goal isn’t realistic, you’ll feel disappointed and discouraged if you’re not making any progress. There is a fine balance when it comes to setting the right goal. Don’t limit yourself but don’t set a completely unachievable goal.
For example, if you want to live more sustainably, it’s unrealistic that you will quit driving and flying, grow your own food and become completely self-sufficient using renewable energy. What you can do is make it realistic to your life. Think about how you can live more sustainably and make it realistic for your own situation.
Honestly, the best technique is to start small and then build. If you want to start waking up at 5am, but you currently wake up regularly at 9am, making 5am a habit right off the bat will be difficult. Try to go to bed 30 minutes earlier. Then wake up 30 minutes earlier. Master the small and continual progress towards the large won’t seem so massive.
3. Set Your Goal and be Specific
The time has come to set your goal. You’ve reflected on your year and thought about exactly where you want to be. Your goals are tough but realistic and with the right schedule and effort, you can hit your goals in 2020. When setting your goal, try and be specific. If you’re too broad, you might lose focus as the year goes on. Don’t make your goals lofty. Figure out the specifics.
4. Cut Your Timeframe in Half
This is one of the most important steps to help eliminate procrastination and achieve your goals. Look at your one-year goal and think about what you need to do in six months’ time to accomplish your goal. If your goal is to run three or four times a week, by six months you should aim to run once or twice a week.
5. Break Down Your Timeframe Again and Again
Next, break down your goal timeframe, again and again. Keep going until you reach your daily goal. Think about what you need to do in the next three months then the next three weeks, in order to achieve your goal. By breaking your goal down into actionable points, you know what you need to do each day to get a step closer to your goals. This aspect is key. You need to know the big picture and microscopic details.
6. Write it Down
Remember to write down your goals. This is a crucial part of goal setting. You want to set yourself up for success, so give yourself the best opportunity. Just talking about your goals isn’t enough, write it all down and hold yourself accountable.
In one study researchers compared memory in students taking notes by hand and on a laptop. Students who wrote down the information understood and remembered it more than those who used a laptop. Make your goal top of mind.
7. Tell Everyone
Tell your friends and family exactly what your goals are and how you intend to achieve them. Tell anyone who will listen what you plan on doing. The added pressure from your friends and family will help you stay committed and accountable. After all, once you’ve told them your goals, you don’t want them to see you fail.
8. Keep Track of Your Goal
The only way you’re going to hit your goal is by staying on track and knowing where you are. If your plan is to break bad habits and form new ones, it’s helpful to track them in a journal or in a notebook. A great way to feel motivated is to experience progress. The only way you will know you are progressing is through tracking your goal. So tick things off. Celebrate your wins.
9. Visualize the End Result
Although writing down your goals is important, it’s crucial to visualize them too. Visualize the change that you want to see. Think about this image and make it clear in your mind. Feel the emotions you’ll feel when you finally accomplish your goal. How does that new person act? How do they carry themselves?
This step allows you to go full circle. When setting your 2020 goals, it’s great to reflect on your past year. But, it’s a good idea to reflect on your progress throughout the year. Check off your progress and stay committed. Look at your big year goal and your monthly goals.
You can reflect on how you achieved your past goal and figure out how to apply the same perseverance and determination to your current situation.
With the new year fast approaching, a lot of people tend to take time to reflect and look positively toward a fresh start. Set big goals and eliminate procrastination by setting actionable points for every day, week, and month of the year. Keep track of your progress and don’t forget to reward yourself for reaching your goals, no matter how small they are.