We’re officially one week into 2023! Now’s the perfect time to get a kickstart on the new year. You still have all of the optimism a new year brings, but it’s tempered by the realism of what your life currently looks like. I always set (and love) goals and resolutions in the new year that are a bit overambitious. And that’s good, great even! You should always dream boldly — because what if it works out? You can make it happen. I know you can make it work. You just need to be setting yourself up for success to achieve your goals.
However, now that we’re a week into the new year, perhaps we’ve skipped a day or two on something we said we would do daily. Maybe we set a goal but now have no idea how we want to go about doing it. That’s where this check in comes in.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
If you want to achieve your goals, you need to be setting yourself up for success by evaluating what you want, why you want it, and how you’re going to get there.
Let’s walk through my check in process using one of my goals for this year and you’ll see what I mean. For example: one of my goals this year is to create an unhurried, but productive morning routine that I love.
What goal am I trying to set?
Obviously, if you don’t know what you want then you won’t know how to take action.
Here, my goal is to create a morning routine that I love and will stick to. It should be unhurried but productive.
What does achieving this goal look like? How do I “measure” success?
This question is important. After all, if you don’t have a way to measure it, how will you know you’ve achieved it?
My goal here is a little harder to measure because it’s not quantitative. So, instead here’s how I intend to measure it. I will also track “morning routine” as one of my habits in my habit tracker. If I complete a consistent morning routine at least five times per week (assuming my routine may vary on weekends or holidays) for two months, then I will consider the goal completed. I found a way to make it quantitative, but I know I may need to make some modifications later.
Why did I set this goal?
If you’re setting yourself up for success, you need to be able to articulate why and have it be compelling. This is the reason you’re taking action. This is what you’re going to need to remind yourself of to motivate you on the days you don’t want to take action.
Try to make it as personal as possible. For example, if your goal is to workout five times a week to be healthier, that’s great! But will that motivate you later? “Being healthier” is always a noble goal, but (at least for me), it’s not personal enough. So, I change it into something like “I want to work out five times a week because I want to support my body and not let my fitness abilities impact my ability to participate in other activities. I also like the way I feel after I’ve worked out (accomplished) and I love the confidence boost it brings. I know the health benefits are there too.” Do you see how this is more compelling?
For our morning routine example, here’s what I said: When thinking back on the year, I realized I felt rushed a lot. I was so busy (granted with a lot of fun and exciting things) and it was always “go, go, go.” I didn’t stop and check in with myself. Some of the moments I remembered loving most were quiet mornings where I got up, made some tea, and then just sat down on the couch for 20 minutes feeling the sun on my face. I don’t usually have the time to do that. If I do, I add in reading a self help book, doing a devotional, or I’m chugging my tea because I need to head out to do a quick workout before the workday starts. However, I also love the mornings and am most productive at that time of day.
How will I accomplish this goal?
This is where the work comes in. What specific steps will you take to get this done?
Here’s the steps for my goal. While some steps may seem unnecessary, I like having a detailed plan and it helps me ensure I’m setting myself up for success to achieve my goal!
- Journal/brainstorm what my idea morning looks like.
- List out the specific activities I want included in my routine and expected time I think it’ll take for each one (ex: make bed/get dressed – 5 minutes, journal and relax – 20 minutes, eat breakfast – 10 minutes, workout – 45 minutes, shower – 10 minutes, get ready for day – 20 minutes, etc.).
- Using the total time needed for my routine and the time I need to be out of the house for work, I can back into when I need to wake up/be out of bed. If my ideal morning routine takes about two and a half hours and I need to be ready for work by 9am, then I should be waking up by 6:30am.
- Since I know that I want it to be unhurried, I know I will likely be waking up earlier to give myself ample time in the morning, so I’m shooting for 6:00am. To make this adjustment, I’ll start by waking up 10 minutes earlier each week until I’m up by 6:00am. I’ll also need to balance this out by going to bed a bit earlier at night.
- Start implementing ideal morning routine, adjusting as necessary and tracking in my habit tracker.
What is my deadline?
Setting a deadline gives you a sense of urgency and inspires action. For most New Year’s resolutions, your deadline is December 31st. You can also create mini deadlines for important milestones. For example, if your goal is to try 50 new recipes during the year, you can set mini deadlines like 25 completed before June 30th, to keep yourself on track.
For my new morning routine, I will keep the December 31st deadline.
What is my reward for accomplishing my goal?
You totally don’t need a reward. However, being a healthier, happier person isn’t always enough motivation for me to do it, so I like to give myself prizes. It’s a nifty trick I learned from Atomic Habits where you make your goal satisfying. The book has a lot of other helpful tips for creating habits and accomplishing goals — I wrote a summary and review that you can check out.
I like to do a smaller reward for midway accomplishments. These rewards help keep me consistent and help to reinforce the habit. And really, they’re small rewards, but it’s enough of something for my brain to look forward to that I accomplish my mission. Some of my favorite mini rewards include: a trip to Starbucks or my favorite boba shop, a pastry from a local bakery, a pair of socks, new pens/stationary, or even a certain dollar amount towards something fun.
Then of course, I reward myself with something big at the end to celebrate my accomplishment. It totally varies based on the goal (ex; graduating gets a big reward like a trip while exercising consistently may be a new pair of lululemon leggings). Some of my favorite rewards are: workout gear, trips, dinners out at restaurants I want to go to, fun excursions, or even useful appliances for my apartment. The main point is it needs to be something you look forward to, that will actually motivate you.
For my goal, I’m rewarding myself like this:
- For every 5 days that I complete my morning routine, I will treat myself to coffee or milk tea.
- When I’ve accomplished my goal (see above section for what success looks like), I will get a massage.
Well, there you have it! That’s the check in system to use to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success and paving the way to accomplish your goals!
Did you find this useful? Got any other tips for achieving your goals? Let me know in the comments below!