The end of the year is a perfect time to reflect and many of us have evaluated the last few months and are looking for what we can do better. The new year, the new decade, brings hope and excitement for the future. In our enthusiasm we can set unrealistic goals that could leave us burnt out or frustrated. Here are some tips that will give you a clearer vision on how to set yourself up for success in 2020.
1. Ask yourself what is really important to you.
Make a list of all the things you would like to accomplish next year and think about why you have included each item. Why are they important? What do they mean to you? Are these goals part of a larger long-term plan? Are you just trying to impress your friends? You need to answer these now to have a solid mental foundation. When things get tough, you can draw on your motivations to keep going instead of giving up. For example, you might want to run your first 5K race to lose weight and be healthy for your children.
2. Establish your priorities.
You have several goals and only one year to accomplish them. You need to set clear priorities in order to make meaningful progress. After all, you have a limited amount of free time each day. Your resources are also limited and, you still have work and other responsibilities to attend to. Focus your energies on those that matter most. What would make the biggest positive impact on your future? It really depends on where your priorities lie. Of course, priorities can change so be prepared if that happens.
3. Be flexible.
It is common to overestimate what we can actually finish. We also fail to anticipate possible challenges along the way. When we fall behind, we get frustrated and lose motivation. It is better to set realistic goals and provide a level of flexibility around each goal. For example, you might want to read a book per week or 52 books in one year. When you set this goal consider your available time to read, and whether this is all done on personal time. If the reading is for professional enrichment may be some can be done during the work day.
4. Create a system that will help you achieve your goals.
It is easy to do something good from time to time. However, doing this consistently is difficult. Most people start out guns blazing in January but falter from February onwards. It’s not that they were lazy or incapable. They simply did not have a system that could ensure continued achievement day in and day out. Runners make it a point to wake up early every morning to finish their workouts before responsibilities take over. If they only ran when they found free time, then they are unlikely to train consistently to get faster.
5. Optimize your environment.
Discipline is surely a vital part of maintaining a system. However, you cannot rely on willpower alone. It will quickly get exhausting if you are in a constant struggle to do what is right. Consider optimizing your environment instead. Make it easy to accomplish your tasks. For example, set a daily alarm to wake yourself up early. Open the curtains facing east to welcome the sun. Prepare healthy meals in advance so you can just heat them up when you’re hungry. Get your shoes, socks, and running clothes ready before going to sleep.
6. Eliminate distractions.
Even if we know what we should do, we often drag our feet and give in to distractions. We waste countless hours on our phones checking social media, chatting with friends, or playing games. These aren’t bad as long as we limit them. Install an app that can track your phone usage. If you are distracted at home, then work or study in a library.
7. Stay focused on your goals.
Sometimes we can’t get a rhythm going because we keep thinking about other things we want to do. These may be good ideas you don’t want to forget so write them down in a notebook. Park them for later and resume working on your main task. Get back to these at the end of the day if time allows and tackle them one by one.
The New Year is a great time to learn from past mistakes and establish better habits. Ensure that you reach your goals this time by keeping them realistic and setting yourself up for success.