How to make New Year’s goals stick

With the start of a new year, setting personal and business goals is probably on most of our minds.

A new year brings a fresh start with the promise of accomplishing what we didn’t achieve in the past year or perhaps it brings new goals altogether. What can you do to set and tackle those new goals so you see them come to fruition?

First, make sure you pat yourself on the back for any goals you reached or strides that you made to reach your goals in the past year. Don’t gloss over even the smallest accomplishments, give yourself a boost by being positive and acknowledging your achievements.

Review your year to decide if you have any goals you’d like to carry over into the upcoming year. Or, do you want to start fresh with all new goals? Maybe last year’s goals no longer fit your needs or desires — you get to choose.

Next, get out the drawing board, whether it’s your computer or a pad of paper and a pen and start writing.

Writing your goals is a solid way to be clear about what you want instead of having random thoughts floating around in your head.

When you write down your goals, don’t make a big list, keep it to one or two goals, three goals max. If you try to make too many changes at one time, it’s more likely that you’ll be overwhelmed and won’t reach your goals at all. Keep it manageable.

The next part of the process will help you think out the steps that are needed to reach your goals. Do this with each goal:

• Write down a very specific goal, not a general goal.

• Set a date when you would like to reach your goal.

• Write down the steps that will be needed to reach the end goal.

If you have a very large goal, you may need to break the big goal into mini goals so you are reaching milestones along the way to achieving the big goal. Here are two examples of what not to do:

• Thinking about how nice it would be to lose 30 pounds, but not writing anything down.

• Writing down, “I’d like to lose 30 pounds,” but not writing down a goal date or the steps needed to lose thirty pounds.

Extra considerations to think about when it comes to goal setting and being successful:

• You should write down any obstacles that may prevent you from reaching your goals. If you can picture what the obstacles may be now, you can brainstorm some solutions to deal with the obstacles when then ineviteably come up.

• You should write down the positive outcomes you expect from reaching your goals. Isn’t it nice to think about how great it will be when you reach your goals?

Here’s an example of how to plan out a goal to improve your chances of success in meeting them.

• Jan. 1, 2016 Goal (specific): Lose 30 pounds.

• Date to achieve goal (reasonable): June 1, 2016.

• Small steps to reach goal:

— Pack a healthy lunch for work each day;

— Drink eight glasses of water each day;

— Purchase good walking shoes;

— Walk or run 10,000 steps each day;

— Place athletic shoes next to the door as a reminder to go walking;

— Get on the scale every Wednesday morning to track weight loss progress;

— Reduce sugar intake;

— Reduce alcohol intake;

— Stop snacking after 7 p.m.

• Obstacles and solutions:

— Use elliptical inside if it’s too cold to walk outside to reach 10,000 steps;

— Flavor water if drinking water is too plain;

—Hike with a friend if walking alone gets boring;

— Use a calorie counting app if it’s too difficult to track calories with calorie counting book.

• Benefits of reaching goal:

— More energy;

— Sleep better;

— Clothes will fit better;

— Feel better;

— Look better;

As you can see, it’s a lot more work to really think about your goals and strategize how you’ll meet them instead of letting them bounce around in your head. If you want to see results, you have to take the time to plan and then implement your plans. When you start knocking out those goals, you’ll be glad you did.

Monika Kristofferson is a professional organizer and productivity consultant who owns Efficient Organization NW in Lake Stevens. Reach her at 425-220-8905 or

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