How to reach your goals in 2019
Happy New Year! It’s day 1 of 365 and I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for what 2019 has in store. I love this time of year because there is so much positive energy around setting new goals #newyearnewme. I’m not much for resolutions, and as much as I love intentions, they don’t create much change unless you have an action plan, which is why I focus on behavior goals for my clients and myself to start the new year. I’ve thought a lot about what I plan to work on in 2019, and I want to share some of that process with you in hopes that it will help you decide what and how to move forward towards what you really want in 2019. And also for my own personal accountability! When it comes to success, having a supportive community matters, because if we’re 100% honest with one another, dreaming up and setting goals is super fun, but the actual process of working towards them can sometimes, well, suck. Intentional change isn’t easy.
I love imagining the end result: how I’ll feel once I accomplish my goals, the problems it will solve, how my life will look, etc. But the process of getting there: the hours of hard work, the sacrifices to be made, and the self-discipline it will take to actually achieve them aren’t exactly how I spell fun. From years of helping clients and myself set and reach goals, I’ve learned that while knowing your big why and making your goals SMART (Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic, and Time-bound) is an important first step, it takes a little more than that to actually achieve them. So after I update my vision statement, I always pick one word of intention that encompasses everything I envision for this year. My word for 2019 is:
I’m focusing on having a mindset of abundance in all areas of my life: health, relationships, faith, work, joy, finances, etc. I often get caught up in a fear-based mentality, which is more reactive and incredibly limiting. It’s also draining in the worst way. So this year, I’m letting go of my fear, trusting that my future will be taken care of, and living with faith to experience abundance, whatever that may look like, in all areas. After reading over my vision statement, I’ve created some action-based goals to support more of who I want to become in 2019.
My personal goals for 2019 are:
Save 6 months worth of living expenses in an emergency fund.
Meal plan each week and enjoy preparing healthful foods.
Stay consistent with exercise that makes me feel my best: running 9-12 miles/week, resistance training/HIIT 2-3x/week, and yoga.
Get into a consistent daily prayer and meditation routine.
Cut my mindless screen time in half.
If you find yourself setting the same goals as last year (or the last 5 years…. no judgment here, I’ve been there) I’d encourage you to look at what didn’t work. Failure, while not fun, is not actually all that bad if you can learn from the process (like what didn’t work and why). Sometimes you won’t be able to find what works until you figure out what doesn’t. This helps us approach our goals and what we want to accomplish with a different, more effective strategy.
For example, my first goal of saving 6 months of living expenses is one I’ve actually set before. But I wasn’t successful because I didn’t make it a top priority, and budget consistently. So this year, I know I have to budget each month (and review it each week) if I want to be successful. And not only do I have to be strategic about my actions, but I also have to make sure I implement the following things that are integral to success:.
In order for us to be successful, we have to change our daily habits. That can feel like NBD when our motivation levels are high, but since we can’t rely on that finicky motivation, we have to have self-dicipline to actually reach our goals. So I will have to sit down each week to plan out our meals, look at our budget, and schedule some of my goals. Consistency is success’ BFF, so I know it will take weeks + months of doing this until it becomes a habit. Connecting our goals to our major ‘why’ and staying aware of our vision statement can help us strengthen our self-discipline muscle, even when we don’t feel like doing it.
As I said earlier, failure is part of the process. Instead of letting it completely derail you, you need to reframe it, look at the data, and figure out a different way to move forward. When I start working with a coaching client. the first failure they experience makes me excited. Not because I don’t want them to win, but because I know this is a massive opportunity to disrupt and restructure their self-sabotage cycle. It’s the moment we get to look at how they naturally respond to failure, and then we get to reframe it so they can move forward and not regress. For instance, I know myself well enough to know there will probably be a month or two when I don’t hit my savings goal. Budgeting is a new behavior for me, so expecting perfection would be setting myself up for massive failure. Approaching it with this mentality provides built-in resilience, so it won’t knock me down and drive me to give up or “put it off” like I’ve done in the past. Instead, I’ll look at why it didn’t work, what I could do differently next time, and then I’ll focus on the next month. Success requires resilience.
We are wired for community. And when it comes to making big shifts in your life, support from other people can go a long way. I know if I really want to reach a goal that’s out of my comfort zone, I have to tell someone supportive in my life about it. Because if I say, “Hey supportive person! I’m going to do this hard, but very important thing, and I’d really love some encouragement,” I’m 95% more likely to actually do it, because staying true to my word is really important to me. So find someone who will be able to support your particular goal in a positive way, and ask for a little help. This may be a close friend or family member, or it could be someone with an expertise you hire to help you navigate the process. Doing it all by yourself was cool when we were like 3, but if we really want to make waves this year, it’s going to take a strong support system.
Some goals are more fun than others in the sense that reaching that goal will likely be reward enough. However, for those goals that we know are good for us and we really do want to accomplish, but aren’t necessarily the most exciting things (i.e. my budgeting goal), I will have to dangle a very delicious looking carrot at the end. For instance, Eric and I moved into a new home this past year, and I’d really like to finish decorating it. I basically have our home 80% finished in my head, but I’m making myself wait until we hit our savings goal to go for it. Since I’m chomping at the bit to get this done, I know it will give me serious motivation to stay on track and hit this goal. I really can’t wait! So find some fun reward that you can give yourself: A fun trip, a new outfit, a spa day, whatever it is that you’ve been wanting. Rewards are helpful for the days when our motivation is lacking, and then when you reach your goal, it will not only feel satisfying, but it will reinforce the truth that all that hard work is absolutely worth it!
I will be sharing my process with my goals on my Instagram stories, so if you’d like to follow along with my day-to-day click here. I’m also sharing a monthly recap/update here. I’d love to help support you as you work towards your goals as well! So tell me, what goal are you most excited about hitting in 2019?
If you’re looking for more info on how to set yourself up for success in 2019, you may find these articles helpful also: