2018 is a new year. I don’t know about you, but I love the feeling of thinking back on all that’s happened over the past year while also looking ahead to all I’m hoping to accomplish in the year to come.
Success doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to move forward and grow in the new year, you need a plan. Today I want to help you get a solid plan together for success in the new year. So let’s talk through a few steps you can take to shift some things in your life and hit your goals in 2018!
Make It Monthly
Start by listing some goals you’d like to accomplish throughout next year. Then get a calendar so you can record your progress all year long. You can do this a couple of ways:
- You can divide your goals up and assign a different goal to each month. So if you listed 12 goals, you would assign one goal to each month of the year.
- Or you can just work from the list you made. Start by listing all your goals in the month of January. As you knock them out, cross them off your list. Any goals still on the list will roll over to the next month.
Whatever method you choose, you’ll be able to track your progress and see how much you’re accomplishing throughout the year. And guess what else? You can even add more goals to your calendar as the year goes on. That’s progress!
One of the best ways I’ve found to accomplish as many New Year’s goals as possible is to stop thinking of them as year-long goals. Here’s what I mean by that.
Let’s say you set yourself a goal of saving $5,000 in 2018. That’s some decent cash, right? Right. But here’s the thing—if you’re only thinking annually, you might find yourself putting off the tasks you need to do to hit that number by December 31. And you know we all have a tendency to tell ourselves, “I can just start on that project tomorrow or next week. No need to rush it today.”
What’s the problem here? As the days of the new year click by, your time to complete your goals begins slipping away. So instead of making it a big annual goal, break it down into smaller, monthly steps. I ran the numbers for this example: To hit $5,000 by year’s end, you’d need to save about $416 a month. Breaking it down further, you’re talking about saving about $100 a week.
Those numbers are beginning to seem a lot more attainable, aren’t they? When you break a big goal down into smaller steps and timeframes, you can decide for yourself how to move forward. Maybe you’ll decide that $100 a week isn’t realistic with your schedule. In that case, aim for $50 a week, and a grand total of $2,500 for the year.
Remember Goals Can Be Large or Small
Don’t let the example above make you think that you have to wait until December to complete all (or any) of your goals. Big goals related to money, fitness or academics may take you a whole year to hit, but others can take a few weeks or a couple months to accomplish. Think of them as mini-goals.
For example, let’s say you have a goal of reading some great new books this year. And in case you think reading is too boring to add to your life, listen up! You may not like it, but leaders are readers. For that reason, you need to read books that help you to grow, challenge you to think, and change how you see the world.
So how does the mini-goal approach work for reading? Maybe your busy life doesn’t allow you to read one book a month in 2018. Let’s say you want to read six books next year instead of 12. Your book list can be one of your smaller annual goals. Just do the math. Start with the 12 months of the year and divide it by however many books you want to read. To read six, you’ll need to finish your first one by February. To read four, you’ll have until March to knock the first one out.
But if you wait until summer to start reading, you’ll end up trying to cram all of your books in at the year’s end. That’s a bad plan! Instead, list your books (or savings, or projects) in the months you plan to complete them—and stick to the plan. This is like budgeting your time.
The cool thing about the smaller goals is that you do not have to obey the speed limit here! Just because you aren’t “scheduled” to start the second book until March doesn’t mean you have to wait until then. If you figure out you’re enjoying reading, or saving money, or working out more than you expected to, by all means go faster and complete your goals earlier in the year. The point of the goals is not to slow you down, but to help you move at a healthy pace while developing good habits.
I rely on a few fun methods to inspire myself as I pursue my goals every year, and you can use them this year, too.
In line with the monthly breakdown method above, choose a monthly theme to keep you motivated. I recommend choosing the following on the first day of each month:
- An anthem. This is your fight song for the month—the track you listen to when you’ve had a rough day, when your energy is sagging, or when you just need to remind yourself why you’re doing all the hard work.
- A quotation. There’s something about printing out the perfect words and taping them up on your wall or mirror that gives you a boost of confidence. Here’s one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: “A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty.” (Proverbs 28:19 NLT)
- An act of kindness. This part of your monthly inspiration can be either a goal, a memory, or both. Each month, I want you to write down a simple act of kindness you’ve either seen someone else do, you’ve done yourself, or you would like to do for another person during the month. This is one of the most powerful ways to experience personal development. As you get into the habit of doing acts of kindness, you will start to see needs and opportunities to help everywhere you go. Plus, your relationships with others will grow as you serve your friends and family. Who will you serve each month? Where will you volunteer?
And here’s something you can do to add to the monthly inspiration. As you think about acts of kindness, look for ways to bless people without letting them know you were the one who helped! I love hearing about people who hid money for someone, or left a giant tip for a waitress, and then hid out of sight to see how they reacted to the gift!
There’s no better time to think about your future than the start of a new year. Here’s hoping you’ll take the time to write out your own monthly plan to achieve your goals in 2018!
About the Author: Anthony ONEAL is one of Your Monthly Mentors. Since 2003, Anthony has helped thousands of students make good decisions with their money, relationships and education to live a well-balanced life. Now Anthony has joined Ramsey Solutions to spread this encouraging message to students nationwide as a Ramsey Personality. His youth conferences, concerts and events have drawn enormous crowds, and he’s spoken for some of the biggest names in the industry, including Bishop T.D. Jakes’ MegaFest Youth Ministry, television personality, Judge Glenda Hatchett and Rory Jones. Anthony has also appeared on Fox and Friends, CNN and TBN. Read more and check out Anthony’s other articles…
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