We’ve all seen the yearly flood of Facebook posts about people’s new years’ resolutions. People promise themselves all sorts of lifestyle improvements like going to the gym, eating healthier, quitting smoking, etc.
If you ask anyone a year later wether or not they stuck to their New Years Resolutions, 99% of the time they’ll say no.
“Only fools make new years resolutions, and only cowards don’t follow through with them” – I forget where I heard this quote but I think about it more often than I should.
This is because most people never make a plan for how to actually achieve the things they want. A goal that takes a whole year to complete wont happen without a plan, quantifiable goals, and continuous effort.
I needed a system.
First, I Clarify My Goals
Setting a goal like “Getting In Shape” or “Eating Healthier” or “Spending Less Time On Social Media” are much too vague. If I intend to achieve a goal, I’ll first need to define when that goal would be considered achieved.
Instead of just “Getting In Shape” I could make a goal of losing/gaining X number of pounds this year, lowering my resting heart-rate to X, or increasing my body’s muscle percentage by X amount.
This helps me define my big overarching goals that I want to achieve this year.
Breaking Down Goals Into Manageable Steps
Once you’ve decided precisely how you want to kick ass this year, write out your goals. Keep the list short, and realistic. You want to set yourself up for success, not overwhelm yourself with moonshot goals.
After I have my goals written out like so:
- Gain 10lb of muscle this year
- Pay off all of my credit card debt
I then break down my goals into quarterly goals. For 2019 the yearly quarter dates are:
- Q1 Jan 1st – March 31st
- Q2 April 1st – June 30th
- Q3 July 1st – September 30th
- Q4 October 1st – December 31st
So now I can break my goals down into less intimidating, smaller goals. I chose quarters instead of months because I found after trial and error that this is the timeline breakdown that works best for me.
Each quarter is roughly 13 weeks long. This is short enough that I don’t feel too overwhelmed but still long enough that I don’t feel rushed or crunched for time.
Now each quarter I need to gain 2.5lb of muscle and pay off 25% of my total debt.
With this breakdown, I can make sure that each week I complete steps that will help me achieve my quarterly goals.
Make Sure You Do Your Homework
If you want to gain 10lb of muscle in a year, first make sure that’s even possible. Look at the average numbers for someone with your metrics (age, sex, athletic ability) and how many pounds of muscle you could gain on average per month.
If you want to pay off a certain amount of your debt, look at your income vs how much debt you have to pay off. Is it a realistic goal or should you adjust your goal to fit what you’re actually able to achieve?
Once you’ve got your solidly defined goals, it’s time to actually DO IT.
This Is The Hard Part
After you’ve written your goals down somewhere you’ll be able to look at them every day, you’ll have to actually Just. Fucking. Do. It.
Every day. Positive life changes don’t happen by half-assing things.
Don’t wait for new years eve. Start now. The time will pass anyway, you might as well use it wisely.
Bullet Journaling Helps A Lot
I keep a bullet journal that I track all my progress in. It’s really useful for holding yourself accountable. If you want to learn more about what bullet journaling is, check it out here.
Give Yourself Permission To Fuck Up
You won’t be perfect. You’ll likely miss a task or two, or twenty. Just keep going. Slow progress is better than no progress. You’ve got this, I believe in you.