You’ve probably heard about the failure rate of New Year's resolutions.
Only about 9% of people who make goals at the beginning of the year actually achieve them. There are a variety of factors why people seem to fall off the wagon a few weeks or months into their journey, but they’re pretty simple to avoid. It just takes a bit of planning ahead of time to make sure you’re sticking with the process.
This is why having a goal planning mechanism built into your planner can be such a game-changer. Designed with space to plan out goals, make timelines, and reflect, the Ink+Volt Goal Planner takes the guesswork out of where to start (which can oftentimes be the most stressful part).
Having the right tools to accomplish your dreams can give you a leg up, and these seven tips will ensure that nothing falls through the cracks, not even your motivation.
1. Remain realistic
It’s easy to dream big at the beginning of the year. Everybody seems to be doing it, and 12 months seems like a lot of time to accomplish just about anything. The truth is that a lot happens in a year (sometimes even a week!), so staying true to yourself is important.
This doesn’t mean you can’t set big goals, you definitely should challenge yourself! Just be mindful not to bite off more than you can chew. You could likely run a marathon within a year, but probably not within a month – that’s the difference between aiming high and being realistic. One way to make sure setting goals within your means is by asking yourself a few questions:
- What resources do I need to achieve this?
- Are there aspects of my life I’m willing and able to change significantly?
- What’s the ideal time table for this achievement? (not all goals are achieved within a year!)
Some goals require big life changes, and it’s important to account for them before you start.
2. Build in accountability
Check-ins are just one way to help you keep yourself thinking about the goal, but you may need more than that (most people do!)
“Studies show that people who not only write their goals but set up a way to be accountable for them will be twice as likely to achieve them,” advises business leadership educators at Ohio State University. “Accountability means that you are responsible to someone to accomplish the goal; this can be motivating.”
Sharing your plans with a friend, colleague, or family member can help force the brain into taking some action, especially when it thinks that accountability partner will check-in on progress in the future. Other mechanisms of accountability include creating milestones and setting micro-goals within your overarching plan.
3. Schedule check-ins ahead of time
This is where you work smarter, not harder. The more you can do to pre-plan throughout your goal journey, the better off you’ll be.
Put time on your calendar for check-ins with yourself. It’s an important part of the process because it’s easy to get distracted with other aspects of life. When that happens, we don’t have a chance to really examine progress, challenge the process, or think about next steps.
Even the best of plans will change as you move through them over the course of several weeks, months, or years. Having a list of questions or points you want to consider about your goals and their development can be especially helpful. Think about your wins, challenges and what changes you should make.
4. Visualize the goal
Even if you don’t believe in the power of manifestation, a mood board can help you see your future. Visualizing your goals doesn’t have to come in the form of a collage of magazine clippings. Journaling and meditation works too.
The idea is that you’re building up a scenario around achieving your goal. How will it look? How will you feel? Spending time imagining what the achievement is like will offer a little motivation while helping you make the best possible plan to get there. Think of it as a sort of futuristic blueprint. Once you’re excited about the possibilities of reaching your goal, you can start building the foundation.
5. Expand your network
Who you surround yourself with matters. Finding a group, mentor, or just a friendly face who can relate to your journey is important. They can act as a support system when you face challenges and also a cheerleader when you make progress.
In both personal goal-setting and career goal-setting, expanding your network can set you up in the best way. Studies show that the people around you can influence your success, so reach out to people who have achieved what you want to achieve. While it can feel a little awkward at first, people love to offer advice and chances are they’ll be happy to lend a helpful tip or two.
6. Set reminders
In a lot of ways, the first few weeks of a goal journey can feel easier. A change of pace, a boost of motivation, and high hopes keep on top of it all, but as time goes on, the excitement wanes and things get harder. While you’re still in that initial phase of high energy, set reminders throughout your planner and on your phone that will keep that momentum going.
There are several ways you can incorporate reminders into your goal planning that will help you in the long run:
- Motivation – sprinkle motivational notes throughout your planner for the rest of the year. They’ll be a good surprise and reminder from your past self.
- Keep habits going – One of the most challenging parts of achieving a goal is keeping up with the little habits, but they are crucial for success! Whether it’s a reminder to drink more water throughout the day, make a meal plan, or check your bank accounts, this can be helpful in staying the course.
- Countdowns – If you’re setting micro goals within a bigger goal, give yourself some warning. Deadlines can sneak up on you and reminders will help you with organization and time management.
7. Don’t forget to celebrate
When you’re in it for the long haul, it’s easy to reserve celebrations for the finish line – but setting goals isn’t just about the achievement. It’s about how you approach the journey. That’s what will get you through to the end.
Acknowledging milestones or smaller achievements (even if it’s as simple as telling a friend about your proud moment) is an important part of the process. You’ll feel more motivated for having taken note of your wins and it’ll provide you a natural time to reflect and plan your next move. A win-win-win.
Written by Kara Mason