Strategically Setting Goals and Creating a Plan in 2021

It’s not just a new year, it’s a new decade. You better have some frickin good resolutions!!

2019 was the first year that I actually went through with most of my New Year’s resolutions. Before that, I lasted until like the 2nd week of January.. max.

When it came time to make resolutions, I was so angry with myself. I didn’t like how I looked. I felt lazy, unproductive, and unaccomplished in life. But, I’m actually glad I felt that way back then. I remember sitting down, and with every resolution I wrote, I got angrier. I thought that every goal I had to make was because of the way I had failed myself before. But I’m so thankful because that was the first night that I knew I wasn’t going to fail again.

People always say, “If you really want it, you’ll work for it.”… And honestly, I wanted to accomplish my goals in 2017 just as much as I wanted to in 2019 or 2020. The difference between the years was the way I set my goals and how I chose to dedicate myself to them.

So, now that 2020 has come to a close, here’s what I’ve learned about setting goals:

Make realistic goals. Don’t rush into things. Genuinely changing a part of your lifestyle takes time and hard work. Unless you’re the all or nothing type, “going cold turkey” probably isn’t the best idea. If you don’t go to the gym now, don’t say you’ll go 7 days a week. Start with 4 or 5. If carbs are 70 percent of your diet now, don’t completely cut them out. (If you do, you’ll probably feel terrible for a while.. but not the point.) Give yourself a cheat day or 2. Or eat a small dessert every day. You’re human, you can’t expect to instantly be perfect at something.

Set a realistic amount of goals. I kinda screwed myself with this in 2019. I wanted to be more productive, go to the gym, eat better, get off netflix and social media, start going to church more, get my homework done before 9 every night, and more. Trying to do these things all at once was really hard. Thankfully, I didn’t stop trying, but I exhausted myself. I tried to do so much that I couldn’t do things to the full extent that I wanted to. For 2020, I picked 2 big goals to focus on.. instead of like 20.

Have short and long term goals. This is pretty self explanatory. Think of your goal as the end-game. What can you do every day to contribute to it? Every week? Month? You get the point. Every morning when I wake up, I write down three goals for my day – no matter how big or small.

Schedule time. So many people want to accomplish things but their #1 excuse is that they don’t have the time. Hate to break it to those people, but there’s 24 hours in a day.. If you can’t find 1 of those hours for yourself, you should re-prioritize. Miss an hour of sleep to accomplish a goal, if need be. Also, it really helps to cut out distractions. If you spend too much time on social media, admit it and delete the apps for a while. You also shouldn’t hang out with friends, watch Netflix, or take a nap when you know you have stuff to do. It’s pretty simple.

Use a journal, word doc, pictures, whatever – to keep track. You may not realize the progress you’re making. It’s awesome to randomly look back and surprise yourself. There will also be days where you feel unaccomplished and down on yourself. Being able to see where you’ve come from helps. You can also use a journal (or whatever) to reflect and re-assess periodically.

Find a way to remind yourself of your goals. Put post it notes on the wall, hang up a vision board, set reminders on your phone, write it on the fridge, take a picture and put it on your lockscreen.. The possibilities are truly endless.

Use the internet. Research facts/tips that will help you reach a goal. Follow or search for people that already succeeded (in whatever you’re trying to accomplish) so you can learn from them.

Have a restrict/reward system. This is something that I’m really careful with because it can get unhealthy, but I think it’s something that will encourage people to be aware of their progress and goals.

Here’s some examples of how I’ve incorporated it.

Restriction: I can’t go out until all of my homework is finished. I can’t have a cupcake unless I eat a healthy dinner. If I skipped the gym over the weekend, I add on extra time during the week. Reward: I lost 30 pounds so I bought new clothes. If I ate pretty good all week, I’ll go out to dinner. If I worked really hard all week, I take the weekend to chill.

Choose your environment wisely. The people you surround yourself with, what you choose to watch/read, and where you go will have a huge impact on you. If you’re trying to get better grades – Don’t hang out with your party buddies on a Wednesday. Don’t watch Netflix when you know you should be studying. Don’t go to the section of the library where people are known to talk.

Ask friends to join you. It’s super helpful when you and your bestie have the same goals because you can do the same things together, you can rant/talk about it, and you can support and encourage each other. Just don’t let them hold you back if they start slacking.

That’s it! Keep some of those tips in mind when creating and carrying out your goals this year and you’ll be golden! Good luck! xoxo

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