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How you finish your year is a powerful way to create momentum for the new year. How much you achieved (or didn’t quite manage) this year can inspire how much you aim to achieve next year. In the same way that an athlete pushes harder in every game, or an artist stretches their skills with each new work, so too can we set our sights higher for the year ahead.

And, planning for it now presents us with an opportunity of walking into the new year knowing what we want to achieve, right from the starting blocks!

Here are some tips to help you set next year’s goals.

Reflect on the current year’s achievements

What you want is most effectively framed by looking at what you already have. Reflecting on the goals achieved this year gives you an idea of what you could strive for in the new year.

Take some time to reflect on your current plans and check how much progress you’ve made. Reflect on what you drew motivation from, for example; consider the books you’ve read that gave you new insights, or flip through your playlists for music that made you feel productive, creative and positive.

Reflect on your hurdles as well; this can help you know what you need to work on in order to achieve more next year and complete the goals that you haven’t ticked off your list yet.

Think about your short and long term achievements

Seeing all these goals as part of your overall life plan will give the confidence to continue pursuing them. So, as much as it is important to attach a timeframe to your goals, keep in mind that 12 months can be a short time to achieve everything. Be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to lengthen your timelines.

Set S.M.A.R.T goals

Many people love this approach to setting achievable goals.

  • Specific – Set simple and specific goals. Try brainstorming your goals and discuss what you want to accomplish, why it matters, who is involved, where it’s located and which resources are required.
  • Measurable – Measure your goals and keep tabs on your progress. You can measure your goals by asking yourself questions like, How will I know when it’s accomplished?, How much effort do I need to put in?
  • Achievable – Set realistic and attainable goals that are within your abilities to achieve. An achievable goal is something that you can easily figure out how to accomplish within your constraints.
  • Relevant – Set goals that matter to you and align with your life goals. Just because you see your friends swimming in the deep end, doesn’t mean you should start there when you learn how to swim.
  • Time-bound – Instead of simply saying “Next year I want to learn how to swim”, set a specific timeframe for you to accomplish that goal. Attaching a time to it, is designed to prevent you from being complacent and remember your deadlines.

Create a strategy for success

Have a plan of action for your goals. Write out the next steps you need to accomplish them. Develop a map and routine for your goals.

For example, if you want to lose weight. Your plan would look something like this:

  • Your why: To feel light, healthy and athletic
  • Action 1: Drinking at least eight glasses of water per day and substituting the Friday afternoon beer with a vegetable shake, for the next 6 weeks.
  • Action 2: Go running twice a week and do more chores – learn to be busier and active.
  • Routine: Weigh yourself at least once a week to keep track of your progress.

Have someone who will hold you accountable

This is powerful! Choosing someone who you trust and will listen to will keep you motivated and remind you of what you wanted to achieve. It’s as valuable as a snooze button in the morning… sometimes you need a second alarm to wake up properly.

Even if one of the ideas above helps you, remember, these are YOUR goals. They’re not a chore or an obligation; they’re your commitment to a better you.

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