How to Stay Motivated & Accountable to Your Goals
Making a New Year resolution is a long-standing tradition that spans the centuries, which is wild considering less than 30% (and that’s being generous) of personal resolutions actually make it to fruition.1 We tend to wish for better health, weight loss, more money/less debt, love, to quit <insert unhealthy habit here>, and more time with family and friends…sound familiar? The funny thing is, we end up making the same declaration year after year. So maybe it’s time to ditch (or transform) that old resolution and create goals that you can feel good about by year end!
“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” ~ Earl Nightingale
Admittedly, if you are a lover of lists and jotting down thoughts this is a particularly fun exercise to go through. For each goal that you have in mind to reach this year, grab a piece a paper and write it down, then go through the process of answering the four questions below for each.
Does it align with your personal values?
Oh, how I’ve fallen into this trap a million and one times. Maybe even a million and two. You know, the goals that you go after not because they resonate with yourself but because there are external factors pushing you to think that you should do it. Like the time I spent far too much money on triathlon gear and signed up for races because all my amazing friends were triathletes so obviously, I should be too. Plus triathlons are healthy right?! Sigh, except there isn’t a bone in my body that enjoys triathlon. It just wasn’t ‘me’. That said, it was a humorous fail that included dog-paddling through the swim and wearing my bike helmet backwards. It takes talent to be that good.
Another example is getting caught up in trends like I admittedly did while writing up a bucket list years ago. It had over a hundred wild and glorious adventures, everything from hiking in Patagonia to cooking classes to running with the bulls in Spain. It appeared to be the perfect list, but to be honest it was hardly authentic. Cool? Yes. But was it really ‘me’? Nope. The bucket list was a great example on how easy it was to get swept up in the trend of having one (the Bucket List movie came out that year and aaaaall the bloggers were doing it). Do I still want to hike Patagonia someday? Sure. Yes. Maybe.
“If you want to accomplish the goals of your life, you have to begin with the spirit.” ~Oprah Winfrey
Take an honest look at your goals and ask yourself why you want to achieve it. Let it be because it’s going to make your life better, make the lives of others better, and because it truly resonates with who you are.
What specific actions need to be taken?
It should be no surprise that losing weight and making more money are the most popular goals for a new year.2 Writing down
‘lose weight’ and ‘make money’ seems a little lacking though, no?
Let’s spice that up with exploring how that goal is going to be achieved. Basically, you’re going to reverse engineer each little (or lofty) goal until you have a clear path ahead.
Say you have the goal to pay off debt this year – how are you going to do it? First, take a look at the total amount that you’re aiming to clear and divide by 12, can you afford that monthly payment? If so, can you set up automatic payments? If not, what can you do to surplus income to reduce debt? The obvious answer is to spend less if you can. Shop sale items. Take a cash-only approach. Renegotiate bills. Rent out that extra room. Maybe it’s a purge through the house and selling what’s no longer wanted/needed. You would be amazed at how much you a) don’t need and b) can make by clearing your home of a few extras. Maybe the solution is to up your side hustle game and put all those funds towards debt reduction.
No matter the goal, being specific and intentional with the how is important. So, keep exploring the ‘how’ until you have a solid action plan for the year.
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” ~ Confucius
Is there a cost to achieving this goal?
This is where you evaluate the reality of your goal – like doing a pros/cons list! The benefit might be obvious, but taking the time to honestly answer what the cost is going to be will help you decide if it is a goal that is worth achieving.
What do I mean by ‘cost’? The apparent answer is if it is going to financially cost anything, but I’m also talking about other elements like your schedule, health, and quality time.
When I started nursing school, I was admittedly pretty darn naïve to the actual cost of completing the degree. Sure, there was the financial commitment, plus time and effort. What I forgot to factor in was the financial loss from not working, lack of funds to put towards retirement (and therefore delaying the age of retirement), personal health (burning out with adrenal fatigue and the recovery effort), and lack of time for friends and family. My priorities went through a huge shift (can anyone say survival mode?!). Through the years I’ve been better able to balance it all, but if I took a good look prior to starting the degree I could have set myself up with better supports conducive to complete the degree without such lofty costs.
How can you create supports?
Some goals you can complete on your own, and some might be easier to achieve with supports. If your goal is to meditate daily, perhaps the support is an app of guided meditations. Have the lofty goal of hiking all year? Well then supports like a joining a local hiking group, online communities, and a tracking app might do the trick. Keep in mind that support can come in all forms; friends, family, professional services, apps, social groups, online communities, etc. This also means taking a good hard look at sleep habits, nutrition, stress, attitude, exercise, and relationships so that you can create a solid foundation to support new goals.
There are plenty of ways to go after your goals. Some, like myself, like to create a checklist of sorts for the year. That works for us paper agenda lovers out there! Others keep spreadsheets, organize goals by month, or perhaps by topic (personal, business, health). You can pick one or two big goals for the year or multiple little ones for each season.
My goals for 2019
Personally, some of my goals for 2019 include leading more hikes within the community, completely clearing debt (oh that student life), and graduating from the BScN program.
They are lofty yet attainable since they speak to my heart, are ‘affordable’, there are plenty of supports in place, and the ‘how’ is already figured out.
There is boatloads of advice out there telling you ‘the’ way to success. The truth is that there is no one way or right way, only the way that best suits you. My advice is to tailor your approach and match it to your own personality and strengths. Basically, know-thyself and be specific when listing those aspirations and how you’re going to achieve them! That way we can all accomplish our goals and avoid having them on repeat for next New Year’s Eve. Now, get to it, because I know with a little hustle and adaptability, we can all accomplish our goals.
Editor’s note: Does your New Year’s goal include eating more nourishing foods? Our nutritional booster powders give your body the nutrients it needs to feel great and perform at its best! Learn more about how our best selling all food multi – the PureFood A to Z – can help you reach your nutrition goals by reading ‘Do I need a multivitamin?‘.
Victoria Walsh is the voice behind Girl Gone Good, a little blog that grew out of the desire to embrace better health and explore the world in earnest. As a military veteran, she loved the adventurous life full of challenges, travel, and skydiving. Trading her combats boots for hikers, a love for mountains, wellness, and a small smoothie obsession emerged. She is currently earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Ottawa.
1 – https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/publication/2015-12/7096-pr.pdf
2 – https://www.statista.com/statistics/655493/new-years-resolutions-canada/