The new year is coming, whether we want it to or not. Not only that, it’s the start of a new decade. I’ve talked about why you should set your resolutions now, but there’s always the question of which goals we should pick.
There are the typical lists of habits you can adopt throughout the new year, but what about your yearly goals? Here are some ways to help you reflect on the past year and set your goals for the upcoming year that align with your values.
Reflect on your accomplishments
Think back to all of the things you accomplished during the year, anything you appreciate, and some place where you made great strides. Can you improve on any of these items? Are there goals you can set to keep these accomplishments at the forefront?
Reflect on your setbacks
It’s important to remember that we can learn more from our mistakes than our successes, but that doesn’t make us a failure. Where are places that you maybe didn’t accomplish what you wanted? What changes can you make in those areas to better your chances for success?
Reflect on your habits
Think about the habits you adopted that you are thankful for. Maybe you stopped drinking or smoking. Maybe you picked up an exercise habit. Think about how you can keep these going into the new year, or even challenge yourself to go the next step.
Even think about the habits you developed that you aren’t quite proud of. Maybe you started staying up later and suffered in the morning. Maybe you picked up one too many streaming services and can’t seem to get away from the TV. See if there are adjustments you can make to your habits as the new year begins.
Set a focus
Now that you’ve reflected, set your focus on the things that you believe will make the biggest change in your life. Have a clear definition of what this change will be and be laser-focused. Make it the center of your attention.
For example, I am going to spend 2020 focused on the overarching goal of writing. That means any tasks that interfere with my one goal will inevitably be put in the back of my queue. My priority is making writing happen, and aligning my life to support that goal.
Set an intention
Now that you have something to focus on, do a deep dive into it. Plan out how you are going to make that change happen. Schedule it into your day. Declare your why, or the big reason you want that change to happen.
Think back to my writing goal, which I now set my intentions. That plan, broken apart, includes changing some behaviors (like hitting snooze or not carrying a notebook around) as well as setting intentions and schedules during my day specifically around writing. It also includes projects such as book writing and editing as well as blogging and marketing more. I’ve even created an editorial calendar (part of my starting 2020 resolutions now) to give me a head start once January 1 arrives.
Set a structure
I touched briefly on this above, but create a structure for which your goal can flourish. That might mean scheduling it into your day, creating a routine around it, setting reminders, changing your environment, or joining a community of support. All of these things can create accountability, either to yourself or to others. While you can have rewards around your goal, hopefully your time and dedication will reap benefits for you as well.
Sometimes we can’t always rely on motivation to keep us going. There are going to be days where we want to do anything but our goal. Obviously, healthy breaks can help us come back refreshed and ready to attack our goals, but creating a routine or ritual around your goal can be huge toward progress.
Reflect on your intentions
Just one review at the end of the year is not enough. Build monthly or weekly reviews into your schedule. Determine what is working and what isn’t working and make the necessary adjustments. Regular check-ins can help you stick to your new goals and habits and help you succeed in the long run.
Take the time to review your goals for the new year. Ask yourself why you’re doing them. Figure out your bigger purpose and let your values drive your success into the new year. My one goal is writing and I have monthly projects to help further that goal. Within those months, I’m also adopting small habits to assist in those projects and therefore my overall goal.
What changes are you wanting to make in your life? How are you going to set yourself up for success this year?