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How to Achieve Your Goals in the New Year

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Alyssa is a wife, mom, and coffee enthusiast who loves sharing her favorite lifestyle tips with the world.


The new year is almost upon us. It's been a wild, chaotic ride and many people are looking forward to a fresh start. Now is the time to make resolutions and vow to become better versions of ourselves. There is a lot of positive, optimistic energy in the air that gets everyone excited and hopeful. In just a few short months, however, that energy will disappear as the realities of life and old habits kick in, leaving those well-intentioned resolutions unfulfilled.

In December, people vow to lose weight, eat healthier, improve their finances, or their lives in general. By February or March, many abandon their resolutions as life gets busy and old habits start creeping back in. It's a vicious cycle.

Make this year different. Below I've outlined five key steps to help you succeed in achieving your goals in the new year.

Let Go

Before moving ahead into the new year, it's important to take a little time for self-reflection. Make peace with your past so that you can go into the new year with a clean slate. This is easier said than done and takes work. You can't expect to sit quietly for five minutes repeating a mantra or meditate for twenty, get up, and everything magically gets better. But you can consciously reflect on all areas of your life, realize what's happened has happened, and know that you can't go back and change it. Acknowledge and start working on accepting these truths.

If you've always failed at sticking with a health and fitness goal, think about why you failed, without passing judgement on yourself. What circumstances led up to you reverting back to old habits? Why did you give up? Once you have the answer, accept that it happened, and keep that in the back of your mind as you start creating new goals for yourself in the new year. The same is true for any other area in your life in which you would like to improve. Understanding what trips you up will help you navigate moving forward.

If you're holding onto a grudge, let it go. Learn to accept the apology you thought you should've gotten, but most likely never will. Forgiveness isn't about the other person. It's about not letting anyone or any circumstance take up space in your mind and heart. It's also important to understand that the only person you are most likely hurting by holding onto this grudge is yourself. Forgiveness isn't easy and it isn't something that happens overnight. However, if you can consciously work on letting whatever it is you're upset about go, you take back your control over the situation and begin freeing yourself from its hold on you.

Finally go through your social media accounts and unfollow or unfriend any account that makes you feel bad. If looking at someone's posts makes you feel jealous, angry, or sad, that's a sign that you need to let them go. This also holds true in real life with toxic friendships or family members. Time is a precious commodity. Stop giving so much of it to people who don't inspire you, encourage you, or lift you up. This can be harder with family members. If you can't completely cut someone out of your life, at least limit the time you are around them. You will be a much happier person if you do.

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.

— C.S. Lewis

Be Specific

When you create your goals, it's important to be as specific as possible. Goals that are too vague can leave you scratching your head in confusion later down the road and it will be hard to measure any progress or success along the way.

  • Instead of: 'I'm going to be healthier this year.'


I'm going to stop drinking soda this year.

I'm going to drink six glasses of water a day.

  • Instead of: 'I'm going to lose weight.'


I'm going to walk for 15 minutes every day after dinner.

I'm not going to eat dessert every day, instead I'll have dessert twice a week.

  • Instead of: 'I'm going to save more money this year.'


I'm going to put $10 from every paycheck in my savings account.

I'm going to put half of my tax refund into my savings account.

Once you've identified your goals, write them down and put them some place where you'll see them every day. Maybe put them on your refrigerator or pin a note on the home screen of your phone or computer. It's not going to do you any good to have these goals in a notebook on a shelf. Having them right in front of you, where you can easily read them each day reminds you what you're working toward. In addition to being specific about your goals, be sure to write down your why. Why are you working on this goal? What is your desired outcome? Motivation isn't going to last. Having your reasons readily accessible will help on those difficult days.

Finally be sure to come up with actionable steps you can take to reach your goals, especially if you have long-term ones. How are you going to achieve these goals? What steps can you take every day to move you closer to what you want to achieve?

Today's HABITS Determine Tomorrow's RESULTS

Review Your Goals Monthly

For the past two years I've been doing something that helps me make sure I'm on the right track to achieving my goals: taking time to review my progress every month. I set aside time on the last Sunday of each month to review my progress. If I've stayed consistent and I'm doing well, I keep going for the next month. If I've slacked off or something has happened that made my goal unattainable, I revisit the original goal and make changes.

As the year moves on, you might find that your original goal no longer fits or the steps you've taken haven't been working out. That's perfectly normal. It's at this point where you can take control of the situation and take responsibility for your own happiness by revising the original goal or changing it completely. Doing this ensures that you stay on track and are actively moving toward what you want to achieve. It also increases the chances of you actually succeeding.

Get Moving

The best way to achieve your goals is simply to start. Get up, get moving, and get it done. No matter what goals you're working on, you need to take action in order to achieve them. Stop talking about what you wish you could do and start doing something to get you closer to what you want to achieve.

Important tip: you don't have to wait until January 1 to get started. Every day is a fresh start. You can easily write down your goals, note your reasons for wanting to achieve them, and get started right away. If it's something you really want, why put it off for a symbolic date? Start today. The sooner you start, the closer you are to achieving it.

The best way to get something done is to begin.

Live For Each Day

As you start working on your goals, it's easy to get tunnel vision and focus solely on the end result. While it's great to know exactly what you're working toward and there's nothing wrong about getting excited about achieving it, but it's equally important to slow down enough to enjoy the process of getting there. Something that really helps is incorporating a daily gratitude practice. Taking time each day to appreciate being alive, spending time with your loved ones, recognizing your own hard work. Take pleasure in the little moments throughout your day, whether it's savoring your cup of morning coffee with your spouse, the energized feeling after your workout, taking in the beautiful sunset during your evening walk, or the feeling of accomplishment as you put a little extra money into your savings account each week. These seemingly ordinary moments in life can be extraordinary if you allow it. Practicing gratitude every day puts you in a better mindset, gives you perspective, and makes life more meaningful and enjoyable.

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© 2019 Alyssa