There is no better time of the year than in January to create a new, detailed plan for the next 12 months of your life. While you certainly can set new goals on your birthday, at the beginning of each month, or even each new season, taking the time now – at the onset of a brand new year – to map out the goals and resolutions you want to accomplish throughout the year will help to inspire you to make mindful choices that will lead you closer to actualizing those dreams. Here are two tips on how to bring those ideas to fruition and three possible goals you might want to consider adding to your new life plan.
Tips to Accomplishing Your 2018 Goals
#1 Put it in writing.
It doesn’t matter if you can quickly rattle off three goals you want to accomplish this year without thinking twice about them (because they have been the same goals you have been trying to accomplish for years now) – write them down and put that list some place where you will see it every day. Whether you print the list and post it on your refrigerator, jot them down on a sticky note and tape them to your bathroom mirror, or use them as a screensaver on your electronic device, make sure your goals for this new year are in plain view. There is a lot to be said for that old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind!” Visually seeing a list of your goals every day will remind you that every choice you make throughout each day, week, and month this year will either bring you closer to accomplishing those goals, or take you steps farther off the path and away from your desired, ultimate destination.
In addition to listing your 2018 goals and making them visible, keep a journal. You don’t have to write something profound every day, but keeping a daily log of how you chose to spend your time and what you chose to do on each date will help you to see things that you might need to eliminate from your life or what you need to continue doing. You can keep the journal on your laptop and simply label it “2018” or you can buy a hardbound art book filled with blank pages at your local craft store and write, doodle, and paste pics in it each night before you go to bed. A year from now, you will be grateful that you took the time to be mindful of each of the days of your life in 2018.
#2 Remember: baby steps matter.
Before you can run a marathon, you have to take baby steps. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s one step at a time that makes you stronger and brings you closer to the finish line. So, each day, purposefully do something that will lead you closer to accomplishing one or all of your goals. For example, if you want to build physical strength and develop your biceps and triceps this year, have a 1 or 2 pound dumbbell within sight and within reach of your desk or favorite chair, and periodically throughout the day, lift the weight and do reps of 12. Perhaps during the commercials of your favorite TV show you’ll do the reps instead of your traditional workout of reaching into the bag of chips and lifting the chips to your mouth that you did last year while relaxing in front of the TV. J
#3 Be kind to yourself.
Having a slice of pie, a soda, or fries with your salad is not going to remove you completely off your goal-centered path. So, don’t beat yourself up if you make a choice that you know you probably shouldn’t. More importantly, don’t think that because you had some cake at the company party that you “blew it” for the whole day, week, or month and should now just throw in the towel and eat whatever fattening or unhealthy thing you can get ahold of. Be kind to yourself so that you can be kind to others, and so that you can expect others to be kind to you, too.
Possible goals to include in your new year’s new plan.
#1 Financial goals.
Everyone wants to be debt free. Some accomplish that with dedication and discipline and others still struggle to make their minimum credit card payments each month. If being debt free is truly one of your goals for 2018, it can be done – there are just a few things you have to do. For starters, think – and think again — before you make any purchase. Ask yourself if what you are about to buy is something you really need (detergent for laundry, milk for breakfast, or lightbulbs for your lamps) or is it something you want to purchase because…it’s on sale, it’s pretty, or you feel you owe it to yourself (perhaps another sweater, a new handbag, or your third coffee for the day). Every single unnecessary purchase you make will bring you further away from your financial goals. If there is a fabulous dress on sale for $20 at your favorite store, but you really don’t need it and have no place to wear it, leave the store without it. That $20 you just saved can be an additional payment on a credit card this month. In your daily journal, jot down everything you purchased each day – gas, lunch, movie tickets, groceries. At the end of each week, take a look at your list and see where you could have made better choices.
#2 Academic goals.
Don’t let another year go by without starting and pursuing your academic goals. The longer you put it off, the longer you will have to wait for that promotion, for that boost in your self-confidence, for that pay raise, and for that opportunity to be an inspiration to others. Check to see if your employer will pay for all of or most of your college degree. That’s just one simple phone call for you to make to your company’s HR Department. If they do pay for employee schooling, ask about the specifics:
- what grade do you need to earn in each course,
- how many classes can you take at one time,
- do they pay for it upfront or after you’ve completed the course, and
- do you have to major in a certain field of study.
If you need to figure out a way to pay for your college degree on your own – no big deal. Financial help is out there. Call Averett University, explain your academic goals and your current financial situation, and one of our counselors will guide you seamlessly through the whole process of being enrolled and getting started. Even if you just take one course at a time, you’re on your way to achieving a goal you have had since your high school days. Of all the purchases you make in your lifetime, the investment in your academic career is the one that will continue to pay off, pay for itself, and add value to your personal and professional life for the rest of your life!
Don’t let another year go by without starting and pursuing your academic goals. The longer you put it off, the longer you will have to wait for that promotion, for that boost in your self-confidence, for that pay raise, and for that opportunity to be an inspiration to others.
#3 Physical goals.
Everyone either wants to lose weight or get in shape. The few who are “already there” want to maintain their physique – which also requires establishing and keeping goals. While joining the local fitness club for $10 bucks a month may seem like a deal, it won’t be if you never actually go there. Instead, start out working with your dumbbells at home. Turn the music up loud and dance for 20 minutes. There are plenty of free workout sessions online that you can watch to do exercises at home – in the privacy of your own home. You don’t need the commitment and stress of a gym membership to add to your monthly bills and guilt for not going. In addition, while you don’t have to give up all those foods you love (and that got you where you are physically today), you do need to eat in moderation, purposefully, and thoughtfully. A few chips with a spinach-wrapped sandwich are better than a whole bag of snacks with a jar of dip that has an expiration date of five years (!). Drink lots and lots of water. Make fruit smoothies and throw in some kale and spinach. Everything you fuel your body with will either add to your body’s strength and health, or take away from it.
Whatever your personal, professional, academic, physical, financial, or spiritual goals this new year, write them down, review them, and make choices that lead you closer to them. Time is going to pass anyway – in less than a year from now, it will be another new year. Set yourself up so that you can look back at this year with pride and satisfaction knowing that you established goals and accomplished them.