Eight New Year Goal Setting Tips
Anyone who has achieved anything worth admiring, envying or copying has had to commit. At some point, they had to grit their teeth and turn inspiration into action.
You may not need to do anything hugely life-changing to achieve your 2020 goals, but it’s likely that you will need to overcome common blockers (time, laziness, fear) to create some kind of change.
Use this blog as a guide to fulfiling what you have your heart set onto achieve next year and before you get started, make sure you join our 2020 Hustle Olympics to help you take control with accountability and advice!
Step #1 – Review 2019
First off, did you set any goals in 2019? If you did, how did it go? Be honest! Ask yourself:
- What went well?
- What didn’t go well?
- Reflect on both the goals you set and any results. Perhaps you can identify patterns of behaviour or blockers you faced that will help you with your 2020 goal-setting?
Step #2 – What do you want to achieve in 2020?
This step is your invitation to start planning what you would really like to bring to fruition. As with anything in life, make your decisions your own. Yours could be less-of or do-more goals, such as:
- “Write more content”
- “Eat better food”
- “Make more money”
If you’re struggling for ideas, perhaps you want to map out your goals across a few different life categories?
- Health & wellbeing
- Financial (earning, giving, sharing)
- Time and experiences
- Creativity / art
Step #3 – Write clearly defined goals
Remember the best goals for you to set for 2020 are S.M.A.R.T Goals!
- S = Specific: Clearly define what you are going to do: “Clean up my desk and office files” Vs “Get organised”
- M = Measurable: Defined tangibly so you know when it’s accomplished: “Read 12 new books” Vs “Read more”
- A = Achievable: Stretch goal so it’s challenging, but still possible: “Take 1 photo every day” Vs “Take a million photos”
- R = Results: Focused, realistic and relevant: “Sell 1,000 books” Vs “Sell a bunch of books”
- T = Time-bound: Definite starting and ending points with a fixed duration: “Zero alcohol in January” Vs “Stop drinking for a while”
Here is a good example of clearly defined goals:
- Take 1 photo every day for 365 days
- Pitch writing to 10 new publications by March 15, 2020
- Sign up 2 new paying clients by December 31, 2020
- Attend Kickboxing class 2x / week every week through January 31, 2020
- Consume zero alcoholic drinks in January
- Visit 3 new countries by August 1, 2020.
- Launch “Tales of Ecuador” to a #1 category bestseller w/ +25 4-5 star reviews on Amazon.com by March 31, 2020
Step #4 – Why do you want it?
For each goal you write, also write down a clear WHY behind it.
Perhaps your goal is career-related, i.e. you have a goal to work in a different industry or start your own business? Dan Pink writes some extremely interesting analysis on the psychology of work in his book Drive – the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
We consider it recommended reading for anyone interested in understanding the drivers behind their career-change goals. In the book, he highlights three crucial ingredients for fulfilling work:
- Autonomy: the desire to direct your own life
- Mastery: the urge to get better and better at something that matters to you
- Purpose: the yearning to do what you do in the service of something larger than yourself
Step #5 – Create a plan of attack
What steps need to happen in order for your goal to come true? Start small, but aim high!
If someone had told the Escape The City co-founders that they’d be running a business that helps people escape their jobs, with over 350,000 members, they’d have laughed at them. However, had they not committed to starting the Escape blog back in 2009, they never would have set themselves on this path and you wouldn’t be reading this goal-setting article today.
Step #6 – Measure your progress
Many people who lead lives that the rest of us consider too scary, risky or unrealistic use their own mortality as motivation to overcome the fear and pursue the life they want to lead.
Al Humphreys uses a technique to drive himself to build a life on his own terms away from the suffocating boredom of a conventional life is his fear of regret. In his own words “If I have the chance to do something now and do not take it, I may always regret it”.
It is far too easy to adopt a mentality of deferral and not make any progress. This isn’t to say that we should all pursue a strategy of immediate gratification and just do whatever we want whenever we want. This point is that if you’re not doing something you enjoy and all you have is a vague plan of what you will do when you’re “ready” in the future (when you have money / more time / more experienced / more contacts ) than you are wasting your time.
Measuring your progress will keep you motivated. You can simply do this by daily journaling or letting your peers know how you are getting on.
Step #7 – Find an accountability buddy (or buddies)
The surest way to force yourself to do something is to publicly commit. We know that comfort kills ambition and it’s so easy to cruise through your years and avoid doing the things that will really help you get to your ideal scenario.
Once you’ve told all your friends that you’re cycling to Rome for charity, it’s going to be really hard to tell them that you’re not going to do it!
Step #8 – Celebrate!
Hit a target that you’ve been striving to achieve? Congratulations! Make sure you give yourself the kudos you deserve. Rather than it continuously feeling like a hard slog, make sure you take the time to celebrate your achievement as it will improve your probability of meeting future goals.
If you want to feel that buzz of fulfilling your life-goals, you’re going to have to take that first step. If you want different outcomes, you need to adopt different behaviours.
We know it can be daunting, but we’re here to help. Join the 2020 Hustle Olympics for peer-support, inspiration and encouragement!
Resources and further reading:
- Past year review + spreadsheet templates for goals:Chris Guillebeau’s Annual Review Process
- Questions to help you answer “What Do I Want?!?”: Al Humphrey’s 20 Questions Worth Asking
- A quick guide to “Getting Things Done”: How to Hack Your To-Do List
- Creating new habits: Review of The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg