Jan. 2021 | Productivity

7 Tips to Making (and Keeping) Yearly Goals

There's plenty of time to achieve your goals this year, as long as you have the right strategy.

Here we are, halfway through the month of January, and you’ve already strayed from your ambitions for the new year. Whether it was losing weight, learning a new skill or giving up bad habits, statistics suggest the resolutions we were so enthusiastic to begin two weeks ago, have fallen wayside by now. Fear not, there’s still an entire year left to work on your goals - as long as you have the right strategy.

Several years ago, I ended the tradition of making resolutions for the new year. The idea that when the clock struck midnight, all the things that irked me from the previous year would somehow disappear, never felt right. Not to mention, January is the worst month to embark on a new journey. The holidays are just winding down; the bills are pouring in and the cold, short days provide little in the way of motivation.

There's plenty of time to achieve your goals this year, as long as you have the right strategy. Check out these Seven Tips to Making and Keeping Yearly Goals. Share on X

Instead of resolutions, every January I lay out a set of goals I wish to achieve over the next twelve months. They can be anything from “Become a published author” to “Purchase a new car” - the bigger the better. Then, I break these larger goals into smaller, achievable tasks (more on that below). Using this method, I am free to work toward what I set out to achieve at any point in the year, alleviating the pressure of beginning at 12:01am on January 1st.

Here are Seven Tips to Making (and Keeping) Yearly Goals

Make It Attainable

This one seems obvious, but your yearly goals should be attainable within that time frame. That’s not to say you can’t (or shouldn’t) create lofty goals for yourself. A yearly goal can be something that sets you on the path for larger life goals.

For example, if your life goal is to “Get a Master’s Degree”, your yearly goal can be “Apply to Graduate School”.

Break Goals Down

Break your yearly goals into smaller/workable tasks. Think of your goals as a to-do list and write all the steps necessary to make it happen.

Continuing the example above, if you wish to apply to graduate school by year’s end, your tasks may include taking entrance exams, getting college transcripts, etc. Doing this helps the goal seem more achievable as you tick off the items needed to get you there.

Keep A Reminder

Reminders help us keep sight of what we are working toward, especially when it may seem out of reach. To combat that, create a goal board and keep it on your wall or leave it on your refrigerator - somewhere you will see it every day. This can be a simple list or a visual aid, such as a dream board.

Account for Problems

Don’t let problems thwart your goals. When a problem arises, find a solution or workaround to getting things accomplished. If you can’t complete a task, move onto another and come back to the problematic one at a later time. Keep the motivation going, even when it may seem impossible.

Keep What You Need Close

It takes time to form a new habit and the longer it takes to get started, the least likely you are to make it a habit. Make it easy on yourself by keeping what you need close at hand.

If your goal is to write a novel by the year end, carry a pen and paper at all times, and keep your writing file available on your laptop or phone. In time, you will adopt these routines into your life, putting you one step closer to achieving your goals.

Track Your Progress

Set aside time on a weekly or monthly basis to review the progress you’ve made. Jot down any obstacles you’ve overcome and add new tasks that you’ve discovered on your journey. You can also add any new goals that you want to achieve.

If All Else Fails, Start Over

That’s right. No one ever said the stroke of midnight on January 1st was the definitive start of goal making. You have 365 days to make your goals come true.


Lucas Horn

Lucas Horn is a creative designer who is attracted to men and True Crime, a trifecta which profoundly influenced his debut novel, The Midnight Blaze. When he isn't designing or writing, Lucas likes to travel and search for unique writing locations.

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