As we begin the second week of the new year, what better topic to discuss than how we are going to go about achieving our goals and sticking to our plans for 2018? My friend Phylicia Masonheimer (who you heard on the podcast a few months back) is a wealth of wisdom when it comes to all things productivity, so I’m so happy she graciously took the time to produce the following article for all of you. I’m sure you will find it both inspiring and deeply practical.
Every year when January rolls around we begin setting goals: Those things we want to achieve in the next twelve months. But by the time March appears, how many of us have given up or modified that list of to-dos? Goals, by nature, aren’t easy to achieve. We set them because we want change in our lives – and change doesn’t come easily!
Change isn’t easy, but it IS possible. We just can’t go about it the way most people do: Setting vague resolutions and trying to change multiple habits at once. Following are five tips for actually achieving what you set out to accomplish in 2018!
Five Tips for Actually Achieving Your Goals for 2018
1. Determine what matters most.
The first step to achieving goals is remarkably simple: Set goals that actually work! This happens when you have a firm grasp on your priorities. If you set goals because you think you should do something, you’re going to fizzle out. You have to know in your heart of hearts that this goal matters. It has to be based on a central priority in your life.
For instance, if health is not a priority in your life, but you want to lose weight, any goals you set for losing weight won’t last for the long term because your lifestyle won’t support the goal. You must make health a personal priority before you set any goals in that area.
Determine what matters MOST in this season of your life. Many people choose things like family, church, community, and preparing for the future. Whatever your priorities, set goals that directly relate to those items.
2. Set realistic, measurable goals.
Secondly, vague goals – “get healthier”, “eat better”, “manage time well” – don’t work because they are not measurable. What is “healthier”? What does “better” mean? These terms must be clearly defined in order to measure your progress and stay on track.
Make your goals realistic for your season of life (don’t set a goal of getting up at 5 AM to work out if you have a baby waking repeatedly in the night). Then make them measurable, e.g.: “Lose 10 lbs by March so I have more energy. Do this by changing my meal plan and exercising three times a week.”
3. Create accountability.
Find someone with similar goals who can regularly talk to you about your progress. This may be your spouse, but in my work with women striving for productivity, I’ve noticed that many spouses have a different way of achieving goals and setting habits. This makes them less desirable accountability partners! It’s not that they are doing things wrong, but that their way of forming habits may not be most helpful in keeping you on track with yours.
4. Make good habits convenient.
Fourth, make your good habits convenient – and your bad habits inconvenient. If you want to drink more water, fill up a water bottle at each meal time and carry it with you. If you want to stop eating junk food, stop buying it at the store, don’t shop hungry, and stick to your list.
One of my own goals is to track my meals daily. I’ve tried doing this on my phone, but I don’t want to be on my phone all day (another goal). If I don’t have a paper and pen handy when I eat, I forget to write down my meal. Solution? I hung a piece of paper and a pen on my refrigerator, so each time I eat I can write down the meal. By making this habit convenient, I actually make it happen.
5. Don’t wait to FEEL like taking action.
Finally, don’t wait to FEEL like achieving your goals before taking action on them. If you wait to feel like working out, you’ll probably never do it! But if you don’t ask yourself how you’re feeling, and instead simply start the workout, you’ll be done before you know it.
Many times, when we take action without considering emotion, our emotions catch up to us. It’s the “act how you want to feel” concept author Gretchen Rubin often talks about. Instead of asking yourself ‘What do I feel like doing next?’ plan your week on Sunday evenings, double check your list each morning, and work through it systematically. By breaking goals down into daily tasks which you then plan into your day, you’re not leaving space to waffle about whether or not to achieve your goals.
Phylicia Masonheimer is a blogger, author and speaker. Her mission is to teach women how to preach the gospel with their lives: proclaiming Jesus through their work, relationships, and sexuality. She lives with her husband and children in northern Michigan.
Instagram – @phyliciamasonheimer
Facebook – Phylicia Masonheimer
Podcast – Uniquely Woman