Happy New Year, lovelies!
I wish you from the bottom of my heart all the best in the new decade. Let’s work towards making it the most memorable one.
I am starting my 2020 with a very exciting project (that has been in the works for the past 2 months). As already announced yesterday, January 2020 will be dedicated to simple actions that we can all do every day – something that will bring you a bit of happiness each day jumping into the new decade.
The first post of this series will focus on how to set goals and actually achieve them. I have always been a huge fan of the super organized and well-planned everyday routine. I developed this habit while I was growing up as I was always involved in so many school and out-of-school activities. During my high school years in Cyprus, I was fascinated by one of my teachers who always kept a planner and decorated it in the most beautiful way.
Throughout the years, I improved my approach to goal-setting and now I think of myself as a goal-guru.
You can catch me doing detailed plans and strategies of how to accomplish my goals almost every day because I believe that practice indeed makes perfect.
It is so easy to make big plans at the beginning of the year when you are full of hope and excitement for the new 12 months. It is equally so easy, however, to fall victim to the everyday errands and forget all about your excitement and dreams of accomplishing big things.
Speaking out of personal experience, the key to achieving your New Year’s goals is taking small steps every single day. I have learnt to prioritize (thanks to my work experience as a Project Manager for the past 2 years) and focus on only what is most important at any given time. I spent the last month thinking carefully about what 2020 will mean to me and setting my goals for the year in the right way. I am confident that I am on the right track and would like to share what I have learnt so far and how I managed to set not only my goals but also clear progress indicators that will keep me on track throughout the year. I am happy to share with you my five top principles that I use to keep me on track and make a steady progress every month. If you have already set your 2020 goals, think about these principles and decide whether your goals follow them. You still have plenty of time to revise them.
I learnt this principle in the hard way. Your new year’s goals must be as specific as possible so that there is no room for personal interpretations and excuses not to do something. For example, in 2018 I put as a goal to improve my photography. But what exactly does this mean? How can I decide at the end of the year whether I have accomplished this goal or not? What are the progress indicators that will show me how far I have managed to get? What are the things that I need to do in order to achieve this goal? A lot of questions that I could not answer at that time.
Thus, if you would like to travel more in 2020, decide on how many cities exactly you would like to visit. We all know that traveling can cost quite a lot so be realistic. For example, one of my goals is to visit at least 3 new cities abroad that I have not yet visited. If I am lucky enough, I can travel more and surpass my goal but realistically speaking, I think 3 foreign cities is a fairly manageable goal.
GOALS NEED TO BE MEASURABLE
This principle is very much connected with the idea that your goals must be specific. In order to be able to track the progress you have made, you need to set clear progress indicators which can be applied only to goals you can clearly measure. Assessing your progress on each of your goals on a regular basis will help you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal. Questions which can help you make your goals measurable can be how many, how much, and generally how will I know when I have accomplished my goal.
So for example if you want to save X amount of money this year, you can set a particular amount that you aim to save each month. By making constant small steps that can be measured, you will reach your goal easily and without feeling overwhelmed.
DON’T FORGET TO BE REALISTIC
Your goal also needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, be realistic and consider not only all the factors that can help you in the process but also all the constraints that can hinder your progress and how you can overcome them quickly.
Evaluate all the steps you will need to make in order to get to the end-goal and decide whether realistically speaking you can achieve this goal.
Getting back to my previous example of traveling – think carefully and decide whether you will have the necessary time and financial means in order to complete that Europe road trip you have put on your New Year’s resolutions list. Of course, there is nothing wrong in aiming high but you can concentrate on the neighbouring countries first before going big time across Europe.
GOALS NEED TO BE RELEVANT TO YOU
This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you. You may not even realize it but in the world where social media dictate what is trendy and important in one’s life, everybody can get caught up in somebody else’s dreams and goals. Think whether the goal you are setting seems worthwhile for you, whether it will improve your life in any way, whether you are the right person for it.
For example, you see your favourite fashion blogger pulling off a gorgeous outfit that consists of super expensive designer items and you set the goal of buying the exact same items. In case you already have the money, wait 1 or 2 months and check whether you still like the outfit so much. Rather than making impulsive purchases, check your options (maybe there will be much cheaper high-street dupes that won’t break the bank), evaluate your style (will this outfit fit in your wardrobe and will you be able to combine it with the items you already have) and consider what will be the effect of the purchase on your monthly budget (you don’t want to get evicted because you cannot pay your rent at the end of the month).
PUT CLEAR TIME INDICATORS FOR EACH GOAL
Every goal needs a target date, so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. All of my goals are due by the end of the year but I have put clear progress indicators each 3 months so that I can track my progress. This prevents everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals.
For example, one of my goals is to plan our wedding (possibly to take place in the early summer) and I have set specific time-bound steps like booking our venue, finalizing the guest list, deciding on and booking photographer and DJ, etc. These are all important elements of the wedding and I don’t like to leave everything for the last moment. The key to organizing such a big event is to stick to the plan and do something in the right direction every single day.
All of these principles have provided me with the clarity, focus and motivation I need to achieve my goals. With clear progress tracker, completion deadline and measurable steps, I am confident that I can stay focused and not let everyday tasks take over my long-term goals.
Do you have any principles that you apply when you set your goals? Let me know in the comments.