I feel like I always wonder about how time passes by so quickly and while I tried my best to be conscious of how I spend my time in 2019, I can’t help but be amazed at how we’re already on the last day of the year. 2019 was an amazing year and I’m so grateful for it. It made me attempt things that I’ve never thought I would and helped me grow out of my comfort zone. Now, I’m even more determined to make 2020 as or even more amazing. Thus, I am setting goals for myself and I would also like to share with you what I’ve learnt and how to set smart and achievable goals.
However, before diving straight into setting goals for the new year, I think it is very important to reflect on the past year. This helps us to:
- make sense of the time that flew by ever so quickly
- be thankful for our lives and the people in them
- learn and become better for the next year
Reflection of 2019 is so important and I have a few questions here for you to think about. I have also made a workbook to help you out! You can download the 2020 Goals Guide and Worksheets which you can simply print and fill in. If not, simply use any notebook that you have to jot down your thoughts!
1. 10 Things I Am Grateful For In 2019
Gratitude never gets old. It makes life so much better as you will realise that life isn’t as dull/bad/boring as you thought it was. As they say, like attracts like and when you think about all the amazing things you have to be grateful for in your life, the more things to be grateful for will come your way.
It is like the snowball effect. Ever had a bad day when one bad thing just kept leading to another? You stubbed your toe when you woke up…you spilt coffee over your work… you missed the bus… etc. Even if you don’t believe in the law of attraction, don’t it just make sense to think of the positive instead of the negative all the time?
No matter how big or small it is, any little thing that you find gratitude for will definitely boost your joy in life. I’m saying all these based on personal experience!
Some of the 10 things I’m grateful for in 2019 are:
- Being able to take leave and fly to Bali for a month
- My physically able body that allows me to walk to work, do yoga, travel and more
- My sweet kids whom I am able to teach at work
- Friends whom I can go to various fitness classes with
- The amazing and peaceful view from my room
2. What Were Some Of My Wins For 2019?
Wins can be anything from beating procrastination and doing something to pursuing your dreams. What are some things that you are proud of? You did it, even though you doubted yourself?
This questions helped me to realise that even though I am not yet close to my goals in the future, but I have come a long way this year. I’ve pushed myself to do things that I was afraid of, and learnt that I am actually more capable than I thought I was. This isn’t to toot your own horn, but more of helping you get that lil boost of confidence you need to go forth and smash the goals that you’ve set for yourself in 2020.
“You might not be where you want to be, but you’re not where you used to be.”
Some of my wins for 2019 were:
- signed up for a strength training programme
- using the weights and machines in the gym with confidence (I used to be afraid of this area as it was a male dominated space)
- climbed up 3 active volcanoes
- reduced my intake of meat and animal products
- went to Bali on my own to do a 200HR Yoga Teacher Training course with a bunch of strangers (this scared the hell out of me, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life)
3. How Do You Want To Change For 2020?
What are some things that you feel that you can do better in? Perhaps you had some guilt about not following through in 2019 and vowed to change for 2020. Maybe it’s a bad habit that you’ve been trying to break for a long time. The start of 2020 is a perfect beginning to change!
There were some behaviours that I wasn’t proud of in 2019 and I am determined to stop doing them in the new year. For example:
- Snoozing in the mornings
- Scrolling mindlessly through Pinterest and Instagram
- Buying a tad too many active wear pieces
- Late night snacking
Start, Stop & Continue
As actions really are the bricks to creating our life, it’s important to focus on what we should be doing and what we need to stop. This is why the next exercise is perfect for thinking about that.
“Remember the importance of small actions. They’re the building blocks in the architecture of your life, the quiet victories you win for yourself each day.” – Diane Dreher
So what actions would you want to start, stop and continue? I love to do this in a mind map form as I feel like it helps the brain juices to flow more freely! Once you have your list, think about what you will do to ensure that you follow through.
Some actions I would start in 2020:
- Waking up and leaving the bed by 0630 (I will not snooze and implement the 54321 rule)
- Conscious eating (I will not bring my phone/book to the table)
- Conscious purchasing (I will not purchase new things unless I run out/really need it)
- Reading before bed (I will put a book by my bed to remind myself every night)
Some actions I would stop in 2020:
- Late night snacking (I will brush my teeth by 10pm)
- Snoozing my alarms (I will switch off the snooze function and put the phone far away from my bed)
- Mindless scrolling of social media (I will give myself a time limit of 10 mins per day to scroll through all my social media sites)
Some actions I would continue in 2020:
- Drinking a green smoothie daily (this is part of my morning routine)
- Practising morning yoga (so is this)
- Meal prepping (I will take 2 hours every Sunday to meal prep for the upcoming week)
Setting Goals for 2020
Now we can finally move onto planning some goals for 2020. We usually have a tendency to overestimate what we can achieve in one year, so setting realistic and well-thought out goals are key to achieving them in a matter of 12 months.
I like to brain dump all the possible goals I would like to achieve in the next year before I filter them and plan more details about them. This is because a good brain dumping session could help you to really see what your interests are and what dreams that you (may) have hidden deep down inside.
Once you have filtered your list, I like to separate out the process goals and the behavioural goals. Process goals are goals that require a process, and thus certain steps to achieve. For example, writing an Ebook or wanting to do a pull up are process goals. On the other hand, behavioural goals are typically habits that you can implement such as stop snacking by 10pm.
I’d recommend choosing one process goal per month and just focus on achieving that. For example, I would like to focus my January on writing an Ebook. I have to plan what steps I need, when to do them by and what must accomplish by Jan 31st to be able to publish that Ebook somewhere. One process goal per month is a good plan, in my opinion. We don’t want to overwhelm ourselves with too much in fear that we panic and procrastinate, leading to us not doing anything instead. Think about it, you would have achieved 12 major goals by the end of the year, and I think that is pretty impressive.
4 Tips on how to set smart and achievable goals
There are many different goal setting guidelines out there, but after much trial and error, I came to find that these 4 tips really helped in making my goals achievable for myself.
1. Make sure it is measurable
Basically, you need to know whether you have achieved your goal or not. There must be something as an “end result” that determines if you have succeeded. For example, learning to cook is not a measurable goal as how would you know if you have achieved it? Does boiling an egg count? So, something like learning how to cook carbonara pasta would be a better goal so that you know what you have achieved.
2. Write the goals down with a focus on the result
So tying in with tip number 1, writing the goal down with the focus on the achievable result really helps. It gives you a finish line to look forward to, and helps guide you in the right direction. Back to the example I shared above, if your goal is to learn how to cook carbonara pasta, you are able to imagine the end goal as well as yourself achieving it. This also helps to make the goal sound way more achievable.
3. Be very specific
We need to stop giving our brain any leeway to come up with excuses. If the goal isn’t specific, say exercise, you may not completely follow through with it as you may cut yourself some slack. 5 squats is also considered exercise right?
If you had a specific goal, say going to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for an hour at 5pm, there is a much lower chance that your brain is going to come up with excuses and following through will be a lot easier. Specificity reduces negotiation, so we basically can just do it.
4. Have a deadline
Give me a month, and I’ll do it in a month. Give me a day, and somehow, I’ll get it done before midnight.
Does this happen to you too? Humans, in general, love to procrastinate and the tendency to do so is a lot higher if the deadline is far away. We will assume that we will have enough time and we can just relax now and do it later. Then that leads to a mad rush a few days before the project is due.
I find deadlines really useful in getting things done, and they work even better if the deadline is short. Deadlines are the antidotes to procrastination! The sense of urgency is present, pushing you to get up and take action.
If you tell yourself to do something by the end of the month, chances are, you will only remember about the task when the month is coming to an end. But, if you only have a few days to do it, you’d probably get it done in a jiffy.
A good example is this post! I had the idea for a while and never really brought myself to sit down and type it all down until the very last moment. Hence, as you can see, this post is published on the last day of the year! Follow through with your deadline, and you’d be amazed by how many things you can actually accomplish in a matter of days, weeks, or months!
I hope this post was useful in helping me plan your goals! Honestly, I’m really excited for 2020. I have many creative ideas and plans for the new year and I can’t wait to get up and take action. Taking a few minutes to really just sit down and plan what you want will pay off, I assure you.
If you are interested, I’ve also published a Skillshare class on How To Set & Achieve Your Goals and you can access it here. In the class, I mentioned a lot more examples and went a little more in depth.
I hope your 2019 went amazing and that your 2020 will be even better!