How to stick to your goals in 2016

Article by Rachael Richardson-Bullock 10.02.16
Who doesn’t love New Year’s resolutions? January offers the opportunity to begin again, to get motivated and to set goals. Many excited, well intentioned individuals buy gym memberships, or set up saving accounts or promise themselves they will find more ‘me time’. As for me, I am aiming to buy a house and am going to continue to try and get my first novel published. 
But now it’s February. Is your enthusiasm and resolve still the same? How are you getting on achieving your goals? Has one too many blisters left your running shoes under your bed? Has one too many sales purchases doomed your saving plan this month?
Perhaps you think it’s too late to set any goals now and won’t bother; this is a mistake!

The bandwagon is alive and well, and sticking to and ultimately achieving your goal is within your reach and I am going to give you the tools to get there!

Let’s face it, there are always going to be times when actually achieving your goal seems impossible and motivation and mood is low. There will always be unexpected obstacles, delays and setbacks. Plus, nothing is ever certain. As John Green so aptly writes in The Fault in Our Stars “the world is not a wish-granting factory.”

So why even trouble yourself with ambitions? Well excitement, happiness and fulfilment await if you can only keep going. It is up to you to motivate and focus yourself, no one can do this for you. And the only time available to us is now, so what are you waiting for? The below is what I am recommending to make the most of 2016.

1.) Get organised!

Now be realistic with your goal setting people! Piloting a jumbo jet or inventing a real flux capacitor may take more time, money and effort than you are ready to commit right now. Aim high, but be realistic. As well as realistic, be specific-what is it you are trying to achieve precisely? Being a better person, being fitter or relaxing more are all great goals, but they are vague. What do these things mean to you? How are you going to achieve them? Write down your exact ideas. Remember not to have too many goals-we would all love every aspect of our lives to be perfect, but being focussed on a small number of goals means you are more likely to succeed. Once you have these decided, consider the means in which you are going to achieve these goals; what resources do you need? How will you manage your time? Get these ducks in a row and you are good to go!

2.) Get motivated and stay there!

Think about why you have set your goals. Are you looking for a better work/life balance or increased happiness? Are you hoping to build your self-esteem, or achieve a long held dream? Write down why you are doing this, and what you hope it will bring you. Personal development and its worth can often be lost in the humdrum of the 9-5 job or housework or many other commitments. The most important thing to remember is that the pursuit of your goal is worthwhile, whatever it is you wish to achieve. Make sure you prioritise time for your goal, even if all that’s realistically manageable is a couple of hours a week. 
When the hard times arrive (and they will arrive, maybe you have faced them already!) have a pre-prepared plan on how to push forward. Pin an inspirational note to the fridge, allow yourself a day off from your goal, review the notes you have already made and try to remember the mind-set you were in when you wrote them. Some setbacks will be out of your control, some you will be responsible for. Either way, stay calm and focussed. Re-assess your situation, find out what is and what isn’t working for you and restructure your plan. Remember, you are in charge of your progress and if you need to change up the routine, then do so. The most important thing to do is not give up!

3.) Get social!

Establishing a support network can be a useful tool to help you achieve your goal. Seek out a club or group, in your local community or online to discuss your plans and vent your frustration when things aren’t exactly going your way. You can gain valuable insight from others and maybe make some new friends. Additionally, you are also able to provide vital support to others in the same situation as you. This may seem daunting at first, but taking the plunge in pursuit of your goal is a risk well worth taking. Alternatively, you can publish your efforts online by blogging or vlogging. This process can be very liberating and also helps chart your progress in a way that you are able to quantify. When your mood is low you can review your entries and appreciate how far you have come.

So, that should be enough to get you well on your way to setting and achieving your goal in 2016. Cast yourself into the future to this time next year and imagine what you want to see. See it? Want it? Then go get it!