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Your dreams can come true in the new year – but only with hard work and dedication.

According to statistics, only 8% of people stick to their resolutions throughout the whole year… Be one of those people!

Goals and objectives in life are the driving forces in helping you achieve in life. If you were going to take a journey, but you don’t know your destination point, perhaps you would have a good time, but you are unlikely to end up anywhere interesting or even want to be there when you get there.

The only way to get to where you want to go is to have a destination in mind.

Creating life goals means creating a plan and developing a path that will enable you to get there. Goals are what stop you from drifting through life, never really achieving anything or getting anywhere you want.

In this article, we’ll share how you can make a great list of achievable resolutions and goals, and then break down the little ways you can motivate yourself every day.

Planning Resolutions and Goals

You must already have at least one resolution in mind by now, right? Well, write that down at the top of a sheet of paper. Then brainstorm all the other goals you want to achieve this year.

Think about whether you want to:

…Or anything else that you’ve got your heart set on.

Remember that these goals need to be achievable. Don’t set yourself up for failure. For instance, if it’s your eventual goal to buy a house, this may not become reality in just one year. A more reasonable goal would be to set a realistic budget for saving money each month – maybe 10% of your salary.

When you’re sure about your list, you now need to think of ways to keep you going with them for the entire duration of the year. As you probably know from previous resolutions, this is no easy task.

Read on for some suggestions from the experts about keeping yourself on track to conquering those goals.

How to Set and Achieve Goals

productivity mindset

1. Understand your strengths.

We all have things we are good at and things we are not so good at. However, it is important that we play towards our strengths as well as the things that we enjoy as well.

There is no reason you can’t create a career out of the things you are not so good at, but if you have a natural aptitude for something, you are far more likely to excel and advance by using it. 

A natural mathematician, for example, will have no problem carving out a successful career in advanced sciences or computer programming. If you have no aptitude for this, then you are going to struggle, and it will be far less enjoyable. So, it is important to discover your strengths.

If you don’t know what you are good at, then it is time that you sit down and look at yourself.

Take a look at the things you got the highest grades for and the things you had a natural affinity with, and go from there. Looking for your strengths and the things that not only appeal to you but you are good at may help you find a life goal as well as a purpose in life.

A purpose will make your life far more meaningful and enjoyable too.

2. Write down your goal.

Once you have discovered a little about yourself, you need to work out exactly how you are going to direct it.

What career path resonates most with you? Remember to do some investigating and find out what these careers really entail, but once you have a goal in mind, you need to start making it real.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to start making this real is to write your goal down. By transforming thought into a real thing in the real world, you are already building up your intent.

Have your goal on display where you can see it, like on the fridge so it becomes part of your subconscious. Everything you do from that point will be done with your goal in mind. 

3. Break your goal down.

You now have a focus, but how are you going to get there. The goal at this stage may seem so far away that you may even start losing hope. So you need to break your goal down into more achievable steps.

Perhaps you want to be a heart surgeon. Well there are plenty of steps you can take on the way. You need to find out what you need to study, what schools offer the best courses, do some voluntary work in hospitals, speak to a surgeon mentor and discover how they got to where they were, read a lot of literature, etc. It may even involve taking care of your body.

Surgeons need to be pretty fit to deal with an 8-hour, or longer, surgery. So, include an exercise regime too. Being fit is actually an essential component to your overall success, so never forget this.

The more you can break the goal down, and the more mini-goals you can create in the process, the easier your main goal will be to achieve. 

Read also: Creating a Personal Development Plan: What is It and How to Write It

4. Tell friends and family about your goals.

You’re more likely to stick to them if you’ve promised someone else you will! They will want to support you and act as your personal cheerleaders. If the going gets tough, call a loved one and ask for a pep talk.

5. Set a daily routine.

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Get up early. Do some light exercise to get your blood flowing (stretching, a gym class, or walk to work instead of driving). Drink a good coffee.

All these things will wake you up properly and get you set for a great day.

6. Surround yourself with things that inspire you.

Put up inspirational quotes or posters around your workspace. Listen to uplifting music while you work. Watch TED Talks by people who have achieved what you want to do.

7. Make a reward chart.

I know, this sounds cheesy; we’re not 5 years old anymore. But rewarding yourself for sticking to your goals spurs you on, and who doesn’t love a treat?

Maybe make a note in your diary. Or tick your calendar, for every day you’ve worked towards your goal and kept up your resolution (like, every day you haven’t had a cigarette). If you do this for a week straight, you get a treat of your choice.

All work and no play may well make you feel you are endlessly pushing with no reprieve. So when you achieve one of your incremental goals, remember to reward yourself.

How you reward yourself is up to you and depends on your circumstances. However, a spa day could be a great way to unwind, as could buying Patek watches on WatchBox.

A reward every time to achieve something tells your subconscious mind that you are on the right track and that what you are doing is worthwhile and that there is better around the corner. In fact, to reinforce this idea, you can reward yourself with better and better treats.

8. Practice self-care.

Take time out of your day to pamper, read a good book, and turn off your phone.

Self-care includes banishing negative thoughts: push them aside and think of how happy you’ll be when you reach that goal.

In addition to point 4, don’t be harsh on yourself if you slip up from your resolution. If you missed exercising for one day and ate pizza instead, that’s OK – one time won’t hurt you!

9. Do things that NEED doing first.

When working towards your goals, there will be things you don’t particularly want to do, but MUST be done in order to achieve the dream.

Say, you want to get that scholarship – so you need to write some long, thankless essays. Get those big ones out the way first. Lock yourself down until it’s done. Then be sure to relax and reward yourself afterward.

Now get your list from earlier, put it on your fridge, and start changing your lifestyle for the better.