Every year since we were kids, we’ve heard “write down your New Year’s Resolutions because it’s important.” The flaw, an estimated 80% of these resolutions fail by February. They don’t fail because the goals are flawed, they fail because we’re never taught how to truly follow through on goals. You write down your resolution, and then what? Odds are, you just set that list aside, and never look back at it. “New year, new me,” doesn’t work because that’s not how goal setting works, it’s not how execution works, so let’s talk about good methods for those things so you can make a new you tomorrow, and the next day, and keep growing and achieving instead of setting goals and failing.

There are a bunch of methods to setting goals, but one of the key points in all of them is that the goals have to have reminders attached to them. If you set a goal, you need to write it down, and then you need it in a place where you can see it. I’ve known people that post the goals on their bathroom mirror, I have mine on a legal pad next to my bed and a calendar that I have to walk by every time I go out of my room, where your goals are written doesn’t matter as much as the fact they are highly visible and attention grabbing. The more reminders that you get, the more likely you are to see it as a priority and follow through.

Another important thing for big goals, is to set a date to them. I’ve had a year where basically everything in my life fell apart, no work because I was too sick, social life fell apart, bills have piled up, and so “get a job” is one of my goals. The problem if I just leave it at “get a job” is that it has no sense of priority, and my need to follow it up is basically nil. My actual goal is to start working by the 31st of January, because it’s soon but also gives me a real time frame to look. It’s important that your goals have that sense of realism, note that that doesn’t mean you can’t set goals that push yourself, but you have to have the time to achieve them. If my goal is the same as Gary Vaynerchuk, to buy the New York Jets, I can’t put the date as January 17th, 2019, because as much as that sounds really nice, it’s not real and I’ve set myself up for failure. If you set yourself up to constantly fail goals, you’re setting yourself up to damage your ability to continue setting them; as humans, we don’t particularly enjoy the repeated sensations of guilt, shame and defeat, and while missing a goal isn’t the worst feeling it compounds if you set 14 goals straight that you fail consistently because you didn’t appreciate the work that the goal requires. This is one reason why I love Grant Cardone, when he sets goals, he has stated “I imagine it taking ten times as much effort as I originally think, and that gets me pretty close.” You can make any goal a reality if you actually respect the work it will take and plan to match that.

Remember the three critical parts to goal setting:

  1. Write it down and keep it visible

My preferred way of approaching goals is as follows: Set the goal with a date in mind, identify the steps needed to at least start progress towards it, give myself daily tasks that indicate progress so I can feel the goal getting closer as I go. For instance, my goal of get a job by January 31st has a few requisites. Get a resume written, find jobs I want to apply for, apply for those jobs, follow up with interviews. This means that for me, I need to be accomplishing at least one of these steps every couple of days in order for me to meet my deadline. On my goals for the day, I will need to put one of these things on the list and check it off. I progress to a bigger goal, and I get the satisfaction of completing a daily task/goal/progression, whatever you would prefer to call it.

I make goals daily, it helps me keep my life moving in a positive direction. I have an overarching goal to get 1% better every day, so I set myself one or two goals every day in the categories of: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual, and Financial. Physical generally involves a workout, stretching, eating healthy/drinking water. Mental is reading and learning about things that are either necessary for me to know, or just satisfy curiosities. Emotional can be anything from catching up with an old friend, reminding myself to be patient with myself, try to find someone to date, or make time to express gratitude for the people that have done a lot in my life. Spiritual for me is related to my faith, but there are a bunch of other ways people choose to be spiritual, when I wasn’t huge on going to church and struggling with faith, hiking, camping, and just enjoying the outdoors was my spiritual haven. Yoga is also great for this. You just need something that makes you feel like part of something bigger, be it the universe, the plan of a god or a pantheon of deities, feeling like you’re part of something bigger helps recharge the soul and helps you find your purpose in life. Financial for is things like, steps to get a job, ways to get a raise, start a side hustle, get in contact with an influencer and see if I can promote things with them and start my own brand. I just keep a way that I can progress every day and build momentum.

A method for attaining goals that my mentor’s son took straight out of “Think and Grow Rich,” was to write his goal down, keep it visible, and repeat what he wanted and what he would be willing to give up for it, every single day. It had some truly incredible results, and it achieved them by becoming a priority in his mind. He thought about it constantly, and worked at it consistently. He achieved his goals and has become, at least to me, a proof that other methods work. Consistency is really the fourth great keystone of goal setting, if you don’t consistently work, you won’t get constant results. I can’t go to the gym sporadically every couple of weeks and wonder why at the end of the year I can’t bench twice my body weight. I need to be there daily, honing my skills and working towards progress.

  1. Write it down and keep it visible

A note on this last point because I didn’t really mention it, progress only really registers to most people when they can see consistent results. If it’s pictures of progress towards your ideal body from going to the gym, do that. If it’s checking boxes off a list of steps, this is mine, then do that. You just need to be able to see progress for those bigger goals or you won’t want to stick with them because regardless of how true to yourself it is, it will just keep feeling far away if you can’t see where you are in relation to where you were and where you’re going.

You’ve got this. Tomorrow is going to be another great day. It is never too late to decide to improve. It is never too late to step things up a notch. Regardless of whether or not you use my help and my methods, I believe in you and you’re going to do great things.

Writer and Life Coach working to better himself and help those around them reach their best.

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