We all have dreams and goals we want to achieve and the beginning of a New Year is usually the time when people get inspired and talk more about making a fresh start, about new commitments, dreams and goals. I bet many of you have made some New Year’s resolutions – the things you want to become, to do, or to get in the coming year.

It’s not easy to reach goals, but there is hope

The desire to make these resolutions come true is strong as the year unveils and we are inspired to make changes in our lives. But as the days go by and we encounter the first difficulties along the way to reaching our goals – it’s easy to lose that desire so that many, if not all of our goals for the year, are never reached. Have you been in this situation before? If you’re reading this article, you have probably experienced that. I don’t know about you, but when I see myself failing to reach my goals, I feel disappointed and I don’t like that feeling. I believe you feel the same way.

There is a good news for you – it does not have to stay the way it was in previous years. This year you can stick to your New Year’s resolutions and achieve most of your goals, if not all of them! Here are some practical steps you can implement today to make sure you take action and achieve your goals this year.

1. Identify ONE goal for the next 90 days

Yes, you are reading me right. ONE. Not two, not three. One goal you want to achieve and will be working on for the next ninety days. I suggest you choose the area of your life which you feel needs your attention most of all for the next 90 days. It can be any area of your life (family, mental, spiritual, physical, personal, finances, business/career). If asked, each of us knows exactly what the most urgent and the most important thing is that we should focus on right now. True?

Maybe you want to improve your health or lose weight? Maybe you want to reconnect with your kids and spend more meaningful time with them? Maybe you want to change careers or increase your income? It can be anything that you know deep in your heart needs to be fixed, improved or reached right now. It may be a small thing, like “always being on time at work and meetings” or a big thing like “spending several hours per week with my kids to enjoy them and build them up” or “building a dream house for our family”.

Why just one goal? There are three reasons.

  • First of all, it gets you started so it’s easier to take action. One reason people don’t reach their goals is because they never take action. It’s easier to start on one goal than on several at once. You will boost your confidence, too, as you will start to see yourself as a person who takes action.
  • Secondly – it is more effective to focus your efforts and attention on one goal, than on several at once. Chances of actually achieving one goal at a time are much higher than for two or three goals at once, since you can be more focused. Don’t worry about other goals at the moment. Their time will come. You are laying the foundation for the future and you need to do it right this time.
  • Thirdly – once you learn how to set one goal and experience reaching it, you will know how to reach any goal and have the confidence and courage to set and achieve any other goal.

2. Be specific

When setting a goal, be specific. The more specific you are, the higher the chances of reaching this particular goal. Compare these examples:

  • “Lose weight” vs. “Lose 25 pounds / 11 kg in 6 months” or “Do these 2 exercises every day for 15 minutes”
  • “Better relationships with my kids” vs. “Spend 2 hours of quality time with each of my children every week on Fri, Sat or Sun” or “Every day compliment each child with 2 positive affirmations”

Which one is more specific, measurable and thus achievable?

3. Start small

Whatever the goal is, small or big, we all feel overwhelmed from time to time by its size and the amount of effort it takes to reach it. This scares many of us to the extent that we decide not take action and get started at all, or we procrastinate and don’t do what needs to be done today.

The key to taking action and completing the goal is to identify a few actions that will lead to the greatest outcome (focusing only on a few things that produce the greatest results) and break these actions down into small steps that you can manage. It is easier to start with small things, but even small things done on a regular basis lead to great results.

Let me give you some examples:

Goal: Lose 25 pounds / 11 kg in 6 months

Start small: Today do some pushups, tomorrow add one more pushup, the next day, add one more pushup, etc. or Starting today drink 2 glasses of water before breakfast and before lunch, next week add one more glass of water, etc 

Goal: Write a book this year

Start small: Today write a small paragraph, tomorrow add one more paragraph, etc

Goal: Build a dream house for our family in 2 years

Start small: Today schedule an hour this week when you will discuss together what your dream house will look like, next week set aside an hour to talk to a friend who owns a house, etc

Goal: Spend 2 hours of quality time with each of my children every week

Start small: Today read  a book to your kids for 15 minutes before they go to bed, tomorrow read a book to your kids for 15 minutes before they go to bed, etc

4. Set up a daily routine

High achievers and successful people focus on a process or a system that will lead to the best, fastest outcome. They set up a daily routine of taking small actions to reach a particular goal. Goals give you a sense of direction. A daily routine makes sure you move in the right direction every day, getting closer to the goal by completing small actions. Commitment to the daily routine makes sure you reach the goal.

Once you’ve identified the important small steps, set up a schedule or a daily routine to make sure you complete them. By making sure we do the important steps everyday, on a constant basis, sooner or later we will reach the goal. And even more – we develop a habit of self-discipline and commitment, which will enable us to reach even more and bigger goals.

Let me give you some examples:

Goal: Lose 25 pounds / 11 kg in 6 months

Process: Exercise / training schedule OR Drinking sufficient amount of water everyday

Goal: Write a book this year

Process: Writing schedule that you follow each week

Goal: Better relationships with my kids

Process: Weekly schedule for spending quality time with each of your children

5. Start the day with the most important

Once you identify your goal and the small daily steps, schedule them as the first thing in the morning. Start your day with the most important things and only after you complete them, take care of other important things. If for some reason you did not do the planned step at the scheduled time, it’s ok – the main thing is to make some progress everyday, if at all possible, even if you have to do it before you go to bed.

Final thoughts

Review your progress and “check boxes” for your small actions everyday – either at the end of the day or before you start a new day. This makes sure you stay on track. After a few months you will have formed a habit, so you can actually can start thinking about the next goal you will want to add to your daily routines for the next 90 days.

Remember, reaching your dreams and goals require that you do the things you’ve never consistently done before. And this means changing your existing thinking, approach and behavior. Change takes time, but you will be happy that you have taken your first steps this year!

Don’t wait, nail it down this year 🙂

Let me know your thoughts and success stories in comments.

 

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