Write it Down and Fulfill Your 2018 Goals

Let’s face it: fulfilling your new year’s resolutions is tough. Every year, you make resolutions and every year, you break those resolutions (sometimes only a week or two after making them!). But you want 2018 to be different. You want to make resolutions, see them through and accomplish them. So how do you end the dirty cycle of making-and-breaking your new year’s resolutions?

Stop breaking your new year’s resolutions

The best way to ensure you fulfill your 2018 resolutions is to, quite simply, make a list of your goals. By making a list of your 2018 goals, you turn abstract thoughts into a concrete reality. Write your list in a journal you use frequently, or hang it in a highly visible area of your home. This way, each time you look at your list, all of your goals are staring back at you, reminding you of what you’d like to accomplish all year long. By turning what was once a thought into a daily reminder, you are literally turning your thoughts into your reality. With the constant reminder, you’ll increase your chances of achieving those resolutions. Those who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve their resolutions than those who do not utilize a list of goals.

Got it, make a list. How do you start?

If you’re not sure where or how to begin making a list of your new year’s resolutions, first reflect on what you achieved in the year prior. What did you do in 2017? Did you run a marathon, get a new job, or perhaps you read more books? Whatever your accomplishments may have been, make a list of them. Once you have a list of accomplishments from the year prior, you can start making new year’s resolutions that are realistic and based upon your past success. By building on past accomplishments, you’re more likely to set new year’s resolutions that are feasible for you and your current situation.

When making your list, write down as many new year’s resolutions as come to mind – don’t limit yourself to only writing down a few. You can always go back later and edit/update your list as you make progress through your list or as obstacles arise. For now, write down any resolution that comes to mind.

The next step is prioritizing your list of goals for 2018. Which ones inspire you to achieve them? Which ones are absolutely necessary to achieve in the next year? By prioritizing your list, you’re breaking your resolutions down into categories, which makes your list easier for your mind to digest. Starting from a long list with absolutely no direction will make you overwhelmed and you’ll achieve fewer goals than if you organize your list, prioritize your goals and then break down each goal into a series of smaller goals.

Once you have your resolutions written down and prioritized, include any big projects you have coming in the year ahead. Add these projects to your list and make a timeline of when these projects will come up in the year and the deadline they’ll need to be accomplished by. This will help you to plan the appropriate amount of time and mental space you’ll have in the coming year to achieve your resolutions. If you know you have a large work project over the summer, you’ll know you may not have as much time in those months to dedicate to achieving your resolutions.

Now it’s time to plan how you’ll achieve each resolution on your list. This will take time to do, so be sure to schedule a block of time you can really dedicate to planning out how to achieve each resolution you’ve made for yourself. Start with your top priority resolutions first, then make your way down the list. When planning on how you’ll accomplish your goals, it may be helpful to set “SMART” goals (we’ll explain what this means in a minute!). However you make a plan for your resolutions, keep in mind the time you already have scheduled for projects in the coming year. Then, set a daily, weekly and/or monthly plan for accomplishing your resolutions. It’s great to look at the big picture, but you must break each resolution down into smaller, more digestable steps. Otherwise, you’ll never achieve your resolutions – you’ll be too overwhelmed by what seems like an immense amount of work to do. In reality, it may be as simple as taking a few minutes each day to accomplish your resolutions. Break them down and show your mind the path to success!

What are “SMART” goals exactly?

As mentioned above, one technique that may be helpful when making your list of resolutions and how you’ll achieve each one throughout the year is to follow “SMART” guidelines. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

  • Specific refers to being as focused as possible when setting your resolutions and in how you’ll accomplish each one. You should answer the five Ws (who, what, where, when, why and how) when planning out resolutions. For example, if your resolution is to lose weight, ask yourself these questions: who are you losing the weight for? What areas of your body are you most interested in toning/losing fat? Where will you exercise? When will you workout? Why are you focusing on losing weight this year? How will you hold yourself accountable for your success and when you have a setback?
  • Measurable refers to setting quantities in your resolutions. For example, do not make your resolution just to “lose weight.” Set specific quantities for yourself – how much weight would you like to lose overall? In order to achieve that goal, how much weight will you have to lose each month? Each week? How often will you work out and for how long? Once you put quantities to your resolutions (mind you, they need to be realistic quantities), you’re more likely to achieve them.
  • Achievable refers to your plan for accomplishing your resolutions. Is your resolution attainable this year? Is it a realistic resolution? How are you going to achieve this goal throughout the year? Putting your resolutions into perspective will help you prioritize your resolutions and come up with a better plan for achieving them.
  • Relevant refers to whether your goal is realistic, reasonable and results-based. Do you have the resources to accomplish this goal this year? Is this a reasonable resolution for you and your life currently? How will this resolution benefit you? In what ways would it benefit you and your life?
  • Lastly, time-bound refers to the amount of time it will take to achieve your resolution. Is there a deadline for your resolution? How much time do you have to allocate to achieving your goal? What will accomplishing this resolution cost you in time and effort? Framing each resolution based upon time available and setting deadlines increases the likelihood you’ll achieve your resolutions throughout the year. However, it’s important to keep some resolutions flexible and not all your goals on your list will have time constraints. That’s okay – set time-based schedules for the resolutions it makes sense to do so for and remain open and flexible on ones that don’t have the same time constraints.

You’ll want to remain flexible when making new year’s resolutions. Life changes every second and you really have no idea what the future holds. Be aware of this when making your list and be sure to leave some flexibility in there. Review your list every few months to make changes and update it as the year progresses.

Also, tell your friends about your goals!

Another goal hack for achieving your 2018 resolutions is to tell a friend about your goals. By telling someone else, you have another person in your corner to support you and hold you accountable. When you tell someone else about a goal you have, you’re more likely to follow through and achieve that goal simply because now you’ve told someone else about it. What happens if you don’t achieve that goal of losing 20 pounds you set for yourself and told all your friends about? What will they say or how will you answer their questions about why it didn’t happen when they ask at the end of the year? Telling a friend about your goals increases your chances for success to 78%.

If you’re serious about achieving your new year’s resolutions in 2018, make a list, prioritize your goals, assign yourself timelines and quantities, tell your friends about your resolutions and see them through. Reflect on what you accomplished in 2017 and what you have already planned for 2018. Evaluate your list throughout the year and update it based on your progress or life changes. Get ready to make 2018 your year – success is just a few short steps and one list away!

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