Every year, millions of people all over the world make New Year’s resolutions. Some people decide that they are going to be healthier. Others decide that they want to travel more. Unfortunately, some people never actually achieve their resolutions. Many people don’t even try to start! I think that the problem people have is that they can’t see the trees for the forest. In other words, they only see the end result but ignore the steps along the way. If you think, I want to travel to another country, but never break down how you’re going to save up, where you’re going to stay, an
d all those other tiny details, you’re never going to get there! Then, when people do start thinking about the details, they get overwhelmed with how much they have to do. That’s when they give up.
Y’all, I firmly believe that with the right plan, some perseverance, and a whole lot of faith, anyone can achieve whatever they set their mind to. If it’s overwhelming, it’s probably because you don’t know where to start. Today, I want to share with y’all how I set goals, break them down into bite-size pieces, and motivate myself to keep going. This step-by-step guide is how I do everything from training my horse to starting this blog! Bonus: if you sign up for our weekly email newsletter before the end of January, we’ll send you a free worksheet to help you make your New Year’s Resolutions a reality in 2017. So without further ado, let’s get started!
1) Write down your Goals.
This is probably the easiest part of the process. We all have Goals, and all you have to do for this step is identify them. It doesn’t matter if you have one Goal or twenty! For each of the following steps, we’ll only be working on one Goal at a time. For now, grab the nearest piece of paper and write down your Goals for the New Year. Actually, this works at any time of year, so write down whatever Goals you have and let’s go!
2) Break it down into components.
Here’s where we start to get into the details. Pick any Goal from your list. Now, let’s break it down! I like to call these Mini-Goals. I think the easiest way to talk you through this step is going to be by giving examples. Let’s talk about eating healthy. If you want to be healthier, what are some things you’ll have to do? You’ll need to find healthy recipes. You’ll need to research nutrition information. You may want to join a gym or develop a workout plan. You’ll probably come up with some other things, too, like cutting out junk food or only drinking water. Whatever you think of, write it down! If you want to travel, you’ll need to save up money and research your destination of interest. If you want to write a novel, you’ll need to plan out the plot and make time to write. Once you feel pretty confident that you’ve got all the Mini-Goals you’ll need, you can move on.
3) Break it down again… and again… and again.
Take your pieces and break them down further into what we’ll call Tasks. For example, if you want to find healthy recipes, you’ll probably want to look for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and maybe snacks. If you want to develop a workout plan, you might need to go to Google or YouTube or your favorite fitness blogger for ideas. If you want to save money, you’ll need to cut spending in certain areas or figure out some side jobs you can do. Now, this might not apply to every Mini-Goal, and that’s okay! We just want to break your Goals into as many small, doable Mini-Goals and Tasks as possible. Now that we’ve gotten this far, you’re probably looking at your list and thinking, Hey, I can do that! Great! So now that we know what to do, what’s next?
4) Set a realistic timeline.
This is probably the most difficult part of chasing your dreams. We live in a world where instant gratification is the norm. If we want to order food, we whip out our phones and have a pizza at our door within a half-hour. If we have a question about anything at all, we hop on Google and let the internet do the hard research for us. It stands to reason that when we start trying to reach our Goals, we would expect to reach them right now. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work that way. Good things don’t often come easy, and it takes time and dedication to turn your Goals into a reality. When setting a timeline, think about how long each Task will probably take you. Then add that time up and add a buffer to decide how long a Mini-Goal will take. Same thing for your Goal. Always give yourself a little extra time if you’re in doubt!
If saving money is your Mini-Goal, you might have Tasks like setting a budget, determining your disposable income, and saving x amount every month. Setting a budget and determining your disposable income might only take you a few hours, if you can look back through old bank statements and purchase records. But saving money consistently takes time. Make sure that you have realistic expectations – saving $5,000 in a month probably isn’t going to happen, but you might be able to do it in a year if you are diligent!
5) Don’t get discouraged.
It’s really hard to start working towards a Goal and feel like you aren’t making progress. But don’t get discouraged! You will start to see results, but it might take a while. I recommend finding an accountability partner who will help motivate you. And, when all else fails, there are some awesome Pinterest boards chock-full of inspirational quotes! Print some out and read them every day. Send them to your accountability partner. Remember that everyone has bad days, and that one small setback doesn’t have to ruin your dreams.
Now that you know how to approach your New Year’s Resolutions, let’s get started! Sign up for our weekly email newsletter before the end of January if you want to receive a free worksheet to help you with your goal-setting. Our newsletter has some great information in it every week, including Bible verses, featured blog posts from other writers on a variety of topics, and more. I promise, you won’t regret it!