In my last blog post, I talked about the danger of making new year’s resolutions and the difference between goals and resolutions. I explained that it’s better to have goals, because they’re directed towards results, rather than being abstract thoughts or intentions. So, once you’ve considered what some of your goals (rather than resolutions) may be for 2017, here are my 4 simple tips on how you can actually stick to them:
- Make sure they’re realistic.
Everyone is different, so set short-term and long-term goals that are within reach for you. If your goals are too idealistic, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Start with trying to tackle the ‘low-hanging fruit’ because there is nothing more satisfying and encouraging than achieving something (even if it’s small), which will then motivate you to do more!
- Keep your goals to yourself (but be accountable to yourself)!
What to do about those goals, once you’ve decided on them? There are 2 schools of thought on this. The first school believes that announcing your goals is a good thing and keeps you accountable to those you’ve announced them to. They will plaster their goals all over Facebook and tell all their friends. Then there is the other school of thought (which I fall into) that believes you should keep your goals to yourself!
I really hate people who are all talk and no action. The last thing I want to be is that person who made such a big deal about doing x, and then a few months later decided to abandon the idea. The problem with announcing your goals is that you risk making yourself look unreliable and you will lose your credibility with your family and friends if you don’t follow through.
Throughout my life, I have intentionally not shared some of my biggest goals with even those who are closest to me. When I wrote the LSAT and applied to law school, I didn’t even tell my parents! I waited until I was admitted to the law school of my choice before I sat them down and told them. They really didn’t know what to expect when I said “I have some big news” that they actually thought I was pregnant (thanks, mom & dad)!
There is a saying by a Canadian female artist named John James that has stuck with me since I read it: “Slay it, don’t say it!”. The only person you should be accountable to is yourself. So, set your goals, stay quiet about them, and then try to crush the hell out of them!
- Set deadlines and targets.
How do you keep yourself accountable and on-track? You have to envision and plan the steps you need to take to achieve your goals. Write them down, make to-do lists, and set daily, weekly, and monthly targets and reminders. It’s difficult for me to finish a task if I don’t set a deadline for completing it. So, once you set a target date for doing something, make it firm. Otherwise, you won’t get it done!
- Stay focused!
Last, but not least, stay focused! This is where self-discipline and the ability to harness your energy towards a particular task is super important. Don’t try to do too much because you won’t be effective. Keep your to-do list manageable (this is something I can definitely improve on!), and don’t overwhelm yourself. Keeping track of your progress, and even rewarding yourself, can help you to stay focused and motivated.
My Goals for 2017
And, in case you’re wondering, here are my 10 goals are for 2017:
- Finish planning the wedding of my dreams in the first 3 months of this year
- Drink as little alcohol as possible
- Have abs by March
- Start doing groceries regularly again and prepare a home-cooked meal at least once a week with my fiancé
- Have Michelle Obama arms (well, maybe not Michelle Obama arms, but you get the point) and amazing back muscles to show off on my wedding day
- Focus on my other passion: travel
- Take one or more photography classes and learn how to edit using Photoshop
- Make the time to go see my nieces at least once or twice a month
- Learn how to better manage my stress and my schedule
- Have more fun and make more time for rest and relaxation!
Check back with me at the end of the year to see how I did!