3 Tips to Set New Year's Goals that Stick

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It's that time again. You know, the one where you set a bunch of resolutions because of the fresh start right in front of you, only to lose sight of those resolutions by February 1st. 

Why do we do this? Year after year, the same story...is it even close to possible to stick with New Year's Resolutions?

In all honesty, I am not a resolution girl. However, I am a goals girl. I spend a good amount of time praying about, writing down, and checking off my goals each month. And yes, January 1st does present a new opportunity to do just that. 

So how do we go from resolution flunky to goal getters? Here are a few thoughts. 

Spend time thinking through your long term goals.

Where do you want to be 10 years from now? How about 20, 30, 50, 70? What types of things do you want to be remembered for when you die? What do you want your grandkids to say about you long after you are gone? Then, connect those long term goals back to the here and now. What do you have to do this year, this month, this week and today to get a little closer to that long term goal. You will likely find some short term goals on the way. It's okay to tie some short term celebrations to those short term goals, as long as you keep the big picture in mind. Choose goals that truly have meaning and that will leave a legacy. 

For me, I know that I want to be someone who was remembered for her faith and obedience to God. I also want to be someone who poured into the people around her, loving them with grace and truth. I want to be a wife who supported and encouraged her husband and a mother who was present and available for her kids. I want to be excellent at what I do, whether that's in a 9th grade classroom, working with clients in a gym or through online fitness programs and writing. I want to be someone who is remembered for pursuing God's glory in all areas of my life. For me...this is a good starting point. It helps me to consider the long-term, so that I can start thinking about the short term. Try it for yourself friend!

Write measurable goals that are a challenge but achievable. 

What do we really mean when we say, I want to get healthy this year? How about, "I want to be better with money" or "spend more time with my kids". Those are okay places to start, but we need to get a whole lot more specific if our goals are going to happen. What will it take for you to get healthy. Do you need to lose weight, gain weight, change your diet, get stronger, lower your blood sugar? What needs to happen for you to be "better with your money"? Do you need to pay off debt? Start setting aside money for retirement? Give more? When are you going to spend more time with your kids? After school? In the mornings? Before bed? On the weekends? Will you be unplugged during that time? These are all smaller more attainable things, especially when  you start to attach some quantifiers to them...how many pounds do you want to lose, how much debt do you want to pay off, how much longer do you want to spend with your kids each day? Specific goals get accomplished, even if not exactly. Do you really lose anything for setting a goal to pay off $3000 of your $5000 debt and only paying off $2500? ummm....no! You paid of $2500, that's a fantastic step in the right direction!

Get Accountability

I love Lara Casey's Powersheets, because they let me write goals that are meaningful, and then help me track them. I also share my goals with my husband and have shared specific goals with coaches, friends, mentors, and even on my blog! Starting something new requires a lot of effort, which means you are going to need some friends to cheer you on and give you a kick in the butt when you need one! Each goal can have a different form of accountability, but they all need something!

Goals help us to focus and spend our time and resources intentionally. I truly believe that God leads us to live our lives in a way that honors him in every area. Resolutions rarely pan out, but goals that have been prayed about, thought through and well planned often lead to significant change. 

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