What New Year’s resolutions did you set last year? Did you reach them? Statistics say that 40% of us are estimated to set New Year’s resolutions and only 8% of of us achieve our goals.
I like to take time over Christmas break to reflect on the past year and set goals. For the first time in a long time, I’m one of the 8%. I made one simple tweak to my goal setting and lost 50 pounds, did a lot more writing for a paycheck, and I paid off more than 20K in debt!
Here two simple steps and a free tool that you can use to help you achieve your New Year’s Resolutions this year.
Step 1: Set the right goals.
How many times have you set a goal, reached it, and felt unfulfilled, or set a goal and fizzled out because along the way you realized it wasn’t really what you wanted in the first place? I did that this year when I set a goal to blog my way through the Simple Abundance book. I quit after a few weeks.
Bargain Babe has some great tips for reaching your financial goals, and Marie Forleo shared a video of an interview with Danielle LaPorte last week that changed how I’ll be setting my goals from now on. It also helped me to see why I failed at my Simple Abundance goal, but was able to accomplish so much towards my weight loss, debt pay down, and writing goals this year.
Step 2: Track daily actions.
The one simple trick to reaching my goals this year, that I mentioned in the opening to this post was, to follow Jerry Seinfeld’s secret to motivation–before I even knew what it was. Late this summer I read this article on Lifehackerabout Jerry Seinfeld giving advice to someone who wanted to get better at comedy. He said that the way to become better was to write better jokes, and the way to write better jokes was to write every day.
His secret to staying motivated was to get a 12 month wall calendar and cross off each day he wrote with a big red X. One day turns into two, then into three as the red Xs build a chain. His goal was to not break the chain.
I had already started doing that early in the year, plotting my progress in my (totally free-absolutely awesome) Google calendar. In January, I began tracking our spending and set appointments monthly with my husband to reach our new year financial goals, budget and pay down debt. In May I started scheduling weekly weigh-ins. Eventually I started tracking my exercise and what I ate. I set Google reminders to hold me accountable and checked my goals off on my calendar and various apps.
I rocked my motivation by seeing how many days, weeks, and months I could do each activity in a row.
I’m aware of how my perfectionism murdered too many of my dreams in the past, so I didn’t punish myself when I missed a day. I simply started again to see how many more days I could add. I have not reached my end goals, but I’ve made more progress this year than any year in the past, thanks to my daily tracking and encouragement from others. (Bargain Babe, thank you for helping me reach my goal of writing more!)
If you’ve struggled to reach your New Year’s Resolutions in the past, try these two tricks. Also if you’re interested, check out my top free goal tracking tools and the super cool new calendar I’m using for my 2014 goals.