What do you want to accomplish this year?
Whether it’s a big goal or something you’ve just been putting off for a while, the process of working toward a goal can be a challenge. On one hand, you’re eager to get started and don’t want to lose momentum, but on the other just starting can feel daunting.
The good news is that there’s a simple solution to that latter feeling.
If you don’t know where to start, these activities will help you get in gear and provide you with a little motivation, so when you get to goal planning, you’ll already have a little bit of work put in and some success under your belt.
1. Start a gratitude journal
Research has indicated that a gratitude practice can have a profound effect on all aspects of life. It can make you happier, reduce stress, and even enhance satisfaction at work – all signs point to it being the perfect habit to introduce into your daily routine.
Start now so that when you get into the work needed to accomplish your goal, you’ll already have something positive to look forward to each day. Gratitude can make the tough parts a bit easier to handle and magnify the good parts. This is important in every step of your goal process, no matter what it is you’re working toward.
2. Clean up your calendar
Since you’re already looking at the year at a glance, take some time to really focus on your calendar. Markdown vacations, weddings, birthdays, and any other events you know are happening. When life gets busy, especially as you’re making other plans and working toward other goals, you’ll be glad you did some front end work on your schedule.
3. Take a daily walk
Do it for the exercise, the mental benefits, or as a brainstorm session. The benefits of a daily walk are plenty. Building up this habit is enjoyable and easy to do. Plus, once you experience how helpful it can be, you will want to prioritize them.
4. Limit screen time
It’s difficult to avoid scrolling in between tasks or when there’s a lull in the day, but all that time really adds up. As you get into your goals this year, you’ll find that sometimes you need all the extra time you can get, even if it’s just a few minutes. Don’t wait to break that bad screen time habit that can be so hard to shake.
5. Audit your budget
Financial goals require a lot of planning and dedication, especially because life happens and so do expenses. Before you put in the major work, start by completing a thorough audit of your budget.
This step can be beneficial for so many reasons. It’ll help you refocus and make the changes that are really necessary, help you to stop overspending, and even show you where you can shift finances so that they work harder for you. Even if your financial goal is something simple like shopping less, a budget audit can show you a starting point so you can accurately monitor your progress.
6. Practice using “no”
Setting boundaries is the foundation of a lot of goals. If you want to accomplish anything, there will be compromises, and some are easier than others. Before you even begin your goal journey, practice saying no to opportunities that don’t serve you. It’s important to remember that saying yes to every engagement or opportunity can sometimes be an overall hindrance, and the more comfortable you get with staying true to your goals, the better off you’ll be.
7. Make a reading list
Prepping your goal is one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself. To just begin is to set yourself up for failure. Take a resolution to read more for example. While it seems pretty straight forward, it can be easy to lose momentum halfway through the year. Instead, make a list of books you want to read throughout the year.
You don’t have to have every single book picked out in advance, but when you feel stuck it can be helpful to have something to turn to. The same goes for nearly every goal. If you can create some sort of safety net, you’ll be more likely to stay on track.
8. Sign up for a networking event
Career goals can be some of the toughest to manage because there’s so much to juggle, and it sometimes feels like each path is unique. If you’re wondering where the best place to begin is, start by attending a networking event. While they can sometimes feel awkward, widening your professional circle is nearly always a good thing!
You can meet mentors, find new opportunities, and even make friends who share similar experiences. Building your network can help you hone in on the goals you set for yourself now and maybe even future goals that aren’t on your radar yet.
9. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness comes in a lot of forms, and finding what’s right for you is important! Finding intention, passion, and gratitude in everyday moments can have a big impact on your life and help you make big decisions.
Getting into a mindset where you’re thinking before acting and becoming aligned with your body and mind will serve you in almost every aspect of life. Sometimes this looks like slowing down a little, making time for meditation, or even just spending a little more energy on self-care.
10. Enroll in a class
Finding some momentum after setting a goal can be difficult if you don’t have some motivation or structure. Enrolling in a class related to your goal can give you a jump start into whatever it is that you want to accomplish. If it’s working on mastering your money, take a financial literacy class. Want to learn a new work skill? Seek out an online course.
Even a health and wellness or art class can put you in the right mindset, depending on what you want to accomplish. A learning mindset can encourage you to start strong and keep going.Written by Kara Mason