How are your goals for the New Year progressing?
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably passed a few exciting checkpoints while also tripping over a few pebbles. Some goals might be easier to spot on the horizon now that you’ve been putting your plan into action. Other might seem like they’re fading out of sight.
It’s important to remember that improving this year isn’t just about that end goal. These three tips will help you appreciate the ups and the downs of your process so that you’ll feel better and live more thoroughly all along the way.
- Be better today than you were yesterday.
It can be difficult to sustain the positive momentum you feel at the beginning of the year. Once you’ve settled on a goal and worked on your daily to-do list, that goal can start to feel less inspiring and more like a chore.
To keep fatigue from setting in, look for small ways to keep challenging yourself. Are you meeting your monthly savings goals with ease? Aim 10% higher next month. Have you already hit your weekly exercise goal? Schedule an extra morning run tomorrow. Ahead of schedule on an important work project? Start dreaming up your next transformative initiative.
Remember, the reason you set goals at the beginning of the year was because you wanted to keep improving. What could you accomplish in the next twelve months if you kept moving back your goalposts just 1% every day – and kept hitting those more ambitious targets as well?
- Accept occasional defeats and learn from your mistakes.
This sounds like a cliché, but it’s really a way of challenging yourself to build resilience and course correct when necessary.
Folks who are easily discouraged are among the most likely to abandon their annual goals before spring. One missed day of exercise snowballs into a lethargic week. An undisciplined splurge purchase or an unanticipated household repair throws off a monthly budgeting goal. A couple emergency Zoom calls from work and suddenly your online Spanish classwork is piling up.
When life gets in the way of your goals, try to separate things you have control over from things you don’t. There’s not much you can do if your boiler starts leaking other than write a check and get your budget back on track next month. But if you’ve stumbled because of something that you can control, assessing what went wrong could be a key to meeting your long-term goals. If all the positivity in the world can’t turn you into a morning person, don’t quit your morning run – move it to after work. If WFH has made it hard for you to unplug, take another look at your daily schedule. Setting clear boundaries can make your work time more efficient and your personal time more worthwhile.
- Reflect and celebrate along the way.
As you progress towards your 2021 goals, you aren’t just going to save more, get healthier, or learn something new. You’re going to discover things about yourself. Checking off daily tasks might reveal a skill you want to develop or an interest you want to explore more deeply. Working towards a goal with your spouse might add a new dimension to your relationship. Perhaps you’ll realize you’re working towards a goal that isn’t really going to fulfill you and change course for the rest of the year.
The things you learn and accomplish along this journey are all worth celebrating. Treat your spouse to a date night when you’ve reached a new savings milestone. Upgrade your running gear when you’ve passed a hundred miles for the year.
Or just give yourself a night off to relax, reflect, and watch an extra episode of your current binge.
Don’t forget that our Life-Centered Planning process is designed to help you anticipate and work towards major life goals. Let’s talk about the new items you want to plot on your $Lifeline for a successful 2021.