It’s that time of year again where people sign up for gym memberships they are never going to use. Happy new year, and happy new decade! If you’re a little older you might not feel that way, but some of you might feel like this is the first time you’re old enough to actually realise how long a decade is, and how much can happen in 10 years. I turned 11 when 2010 started and I am now 21 – I’m still not used to saying that – and needless to say, a lot has happened in that time.
I think that starting a new year, and the added prospect that this time we’re starting a new decade as well, fuels many of us with a desire to do better, to make this our year, to make it the best one yet. It’s the feeling of that new beginning that makes it seem as though anything is possible. That feeling doesn’t always last very long for many of us. However, I am determined to set and achieve my goals this year. If you want to do the same, to become a better version of yourself, to achieve things, it’s important to keep working on that all year long. Let’s not be those people that sign up for something in January and give it up by the third week of the year. I’m going to share with you a few things that I am (planning on) doing differently this time in order to keep that motivation and actually achieve the goals I set for myself.
List your goals
You’ve surely either heard of or actually made a list of your goals for the new year. I had never really done it until last year when I got Happy – The Journal by Fearne Cotton and it was the prompt for the January 1st entry. When I was recently looking back through my journal, I realised that I had actually achieved most of the goals – though sometimes the goals had slightly changed along the way. I had genuinely forgotten about most of them, but I guess writing them down set my intentions and eventually made them a reality.
It is absolutely up to you whether or not you believe in the law of attraction. If you aren’t familiar with it, the gist of it is that by putting something out in the universe with the right intentions, you will attract it. So for example, if you’re wanting to get a new job and you set that intention (by writing it down for instance), you will attract a new job. Might sound silly, but I do believe in it. If you think this could be something for you, I strongly suggest you watch Ask Kimberly’s video “5 Steps to Crushing Your Dreams in 2020” where she walks you through her process of creating her goals list. Helped me out so much.
If that’s not really your thing, no problem at all. I still believe that making a list will help hold you accountable. It will also help you keep track of what you’re wanting to achieve and if you need to work more on some of your goals or if you are ready to tick one off your list. I think that putting it up somewhere you can easily access and read it is also very helpful. I put mine in a corner of my room, next to my desk where it’s not staring me in the face 24/7 but I know it’s there and I can read it over whenever I want to. Make your list however you like it – on paper or digitally – and personalise it: write your name on it, make it pretty if you want to. It’s your list, for you alone, so be as creative as you want!
When it comes to some of your goals, it’s crucial to turn them into habits in order to stick to them. The best examples are working out and eating healthier. Many people add this to their new year’s resolutions but don’t follow through with it. If you make it a habit to exercise twice a week, whether it’s a long walk, a gym session or a dance class, it’ll just become a part of your routine and it’ll be much easier to stick to it. This is the case with everything that you want to do more regularly.
It’s not easy to form new habits, and it takes time. But think of all the habits you have formed already and that you do (almost) every day without thinking: brushing your teeth, taking a shower, moisturising, watering your plants, changing into comfy clothes after coming home from uni/work… Whatever you do, there are so many things that have become a habit for you so don’t be afraid to add something new to the mix. It’ll only make your routine more varied and help you stay on track for achieving your goals.
This is one of my biggest goals for this year. I really want to read more. Not just for leisure, but also for self-improvement. Reading has so many great benefits and everyone should do more of it! I’m sure you are a very busy person and you don’t have time to spend a few hours sitting on the couch, reading away. Same. So instead, I’ve tried to find ways to add more reading to my daily routine while staying realistic. If you get public transport to work or uni, use that time to read for a bit. Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram in bed, grab a book. Reading before bed will even help you fall asleep faster. If you’re sitting in a waiting room, bring your book to pass time quicker. Or if you’re sitting at home with a spare 20 minutes before you have to leave the house, read a chapter of your book. But don’t get so engrossed that you forget to leave!
Whether you’ve got goals for 2020 or not, reading is good for you and I can only recommend you do more of it. You can read books that will help you reach your goals, you can read for leisure or you can read to develop your hobby further. Check out my post on book recommendations if you need some reading inspo.
Do it with someone
It can be quite daunting to set a goal for yourself and have to follow through with it. I find that having someone by your side can help hold you accountable and also make you feel less alone with this task. This person could be a family member, a partner, a flatmate or a friend. Make sure it’s someone you can trust to keep you on track. If you both have the same goal, for example to work out, you can become gym buddies and achieve your goal while having fun.
They don’t have to share your goals though. If you just tell them about your goal, they can offer moral support – which is often what you need the most. If there is no one in your immediate surroundings you feel comfortable sharing your goals with, why not have a browse online and join a group or read about people’s experiences trying to achieve their goal. Feeling like you’re not alone in this can help keep you on track when it’s the last thing you want to be doing. If that’s also not your thing, send me a message on Instagram! I’d be more than happy to chat with you and I will make sure you stay on top of your game!
Celebrate small achievements
When you have a goal, it can be a long climb until you actually reach it. It is often so steep that many give up. That’s why it’s so important to celebrate your small successes. You took the stairs instead of the elevator? Go you! You’ve decided to stay in and have an early night over getting smashed and waking up with the worst hangover? Well done! You went on a date even though you’ve got social anxiety? You should be proud! Whatever your goal is and however far you are in the climb, keep being proud of your small achievements. This feeling of having done something that brings you a step closer to your goal is what will keep you going when times get tough and your morale isn’t at its highest. Imagine it was your best friend that had done it. Would you be proud of them? Of course you would, so be proud of yourself!
Change is hard work
Change is fucking hard. Oh my god, it is so hard and can take a huge toll on you. But you know what, the fact that you’re trying is already worth being proud of (see paragraph above). Trying to achieve a goal takes a lot of effort. As cheesy as it sounds, it is about the journey. I hate when people say this, and I hate myself for saying it, but it is true. Just think of 2019 and all the things that happened. I’m sure you’re not the same person you were a year ago, and if you say you are, I don’t believe you. We all change. Things happen and shape us. Something tiny could have a lasting effect on us and on our approach on life.
Setting a goal for yourself is the first step towards choosing to change. You don’t need to set a goal for change to happen of course. But either way, there are many reasons to do so. It is important that this change is for you. Don’t change for anyone else. It will be impossible for you to reach and maintain your goal if you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. So when you decide that you want change, make sure that it’s the right kind and that it’s for the right reasons. Change doesn’t happen overnight so be patient. You will get there, trust me. I believe in you and you should believe in yourself too.
Mistakes are, as your teachers told you growing up, the best way to learn. You can learn and grow from making mistakes, but it’s much harder to learn from when you’ve done well. Imagine you had an assignment in school and you did really well in it. But you were one point away from the perfect score. Although you did amazing, you would probably want to know where you went wrong in order to be even better the next time, no?
Making mistakes is scary. You probably feel bad in the moment (or for a long time after) and beat yourself up for it. It’s fine to do that for a bit, but then it’s important to understand where you went wrong and learn from it so that you don’t repeat the mistake. Easier said than done, I know. But it is worth it. You may be tempted to retreat back to your comfort zone after having made a mistake because you’re embarrassed or uncomfortable. However, as I wrote in my journal a year ago (almost) to this day, nothing good comes from your comfort zone. Sure, you might feel safe there. But if you take a leap out of it, you will discover just how many more things there are for you to reach if you just go for it.
It’s scary, really scary, but I don’t know anyone who’s regretted leaving their comfort zone to aim for more – even if it didn’t end up working out. So (wo)man up, take risks, learn from your mistakes and keep going. You truly can achieve anything you want to if you put your mind to it. You’re stronger and braver than you think!
So here it is, my advice on reaching your goals. If you don’t believe in setting goals and just go with the flow, setting yourself goals as you go, that’s absolutely amazing too. I hope my post will help you in some kind of way, no matter what path you’re on. Thank you so much for reading this far, I wish you all the best for 2020 and look forward to seeing you soon.