If you’re here, you’re probably a dreamer. A go-getter. A self-starter. A betterment seeker.
You’re full of big ideas and plans for where your life—and your goals—can take you. Starting this new year, you’re feeling inspired, motivated, and ready to conquer your dreams and goals.
Some of them might be big and lofty, like writing a book, starting that business you’ve been talking about for years, or landing your dream job. No matter what your goals for 2024 hold, figuring out how to create a plan to achieve your goals is no easy feat. We’ve outlined some tactics and strategies to help you as you embark on this next leg of your personal growth journey.
1. Shift your mindset from dream to reality
This first step is about your mindset. Oftentimes, when we have goals, we tend to think of them as “what ifs” or “dreams.” We’ve all had that bucket list item tucked in the back of our brains for years, whether it’s moving abroad, starting a business, writing a book, or even landing that dream job at your dream company.
We tend to think about these goals as dreams, which has the tendency for our brains to categorize it as just that: something that isn’t achievable, something that just happens.
But if you’re serious about taking that dream and making it a reality, the first step is adjusting your mindset.
Try visualizing what achieving that dream would look like for you. Let’s say you’ve always dreamed of opening up a corner coffee shop in your hometown.
Picture what the outside would look like. What would you call the shop? What does the signage look like? Can you envision the furniture and decor? Can you smell the coffee? What type of music is playing? Sure, it sounds silly. But without self-efficacy, you’ll forever be stuck in the dreamer stage.
2. Break down your goals into small, achievable bites
Now that you can picture your dream as reality, it’s time to construct your plan—and write it down. In fact, research has shown that people who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them than those who don't.
This is a daunting task, one that can feel overwhelming. Before the anxiety sets in too deep, remind yourself that every goal starts small. Every step forward is a step in the right direction.
Let’s take the coffee shop example. Each “big” goal has a series of small goals that help build it. For example:
Big goal: Open a coffee shop.
- Small goal: Find an available space for rent.
- Small goal: Research and create a business bank account.
- Small goal: Apply for a small business loan.
- Small goal: Interview other coffee shop owners in the area and gain insights.
- Small goal: Create a business plan, including anticipated monthly costs, materials, products, and expenses.
- Small goal: Research the market.
As soon as you break down your big goal into smaller, bite-sized goals, it can feel intimidating. You can map out achieving your small goals on a day-by-day basis by using a planner or a goal planning pad. Having a dashboard desktop can also be helpful to get a more holistic view into your goals by week.
3. Assemble your support system
It’s rare for any accomplished person to say they achieved their goals completely on their own. Every big goal has one thing in common: there’s a support system behind the driver to help keep them going.
If you’re ready to embark on executing on your goal, it’s important that you have the right support systems in place to help keep you motivated, accountable, and inspired.
There will be roadblocks and unexpected obstacles to overcome. There will be hurdles you probably won’t anticipate. There will be times where you want to give up or quit.
But if you have the right circle of people behind you—friends, family, coaches, mentors, and even business partners—you can get the support you need.
Think about the people who will be in your corner. What people can you ask to help keep you accountable? What mentors might be able to help guide you and answer your questions? What friends or family will provide unwavering support, no matter how tough the process may get?
4. Track your progress (and reset, if you need to)
As you work toward knocking down those small goals, track the progress you’re making. It feels good to cross off those to-dos in your goal planner, right?
Make note of the progress your making, especially for those days where things might not be going to plan. You can create a list of goals achieved to remind yourself of the progress you’ve made in your notepad.
But you also want to monitor the goals that are spiraling into bigger projects than you anticipated. For example, finding a space to rent for your coffee shop might take two or three months longer than you originally had scoped. And that’s OK!
If you notice some goals need to be adjusted, you are not failing at meeting your goals. You’re learning. You’re growing. And you’re still on track to make your dreams come true. It’s important to keep yourself honest and build resilience in the face of adversity, which may mean adjusting your goals as you encounter any roadblocks.
5. Celebrate the wins
As you continue to reach goals—whether big or small—don’t forget to celebrate the wins. No matter how small the win, it’s still one step closer to achieving your goals.
Before you know it, you’ll have a roadmap to achieving your goals with a laundry list of accomplishments.
We can’t wait to see what goals you conquer in 2024 and beyond. With the right mindset, tools, and support systems in place, the potential is within you. Your success is yours for the taking—and we’re rooting for you every step of the way.
Written by Madeline Miles