5 Actionable Steps to Reach your New Year Goals

Pinnacle Personnel Services, LLC  |  Debbie Hatch

I’m a little late posting here.  I shared the information on Facebook back on December 31st.  It’s still – come one, we’re only 4 days into the new year – incredibly relevant.  I want to preserve it for the long term.  So…here goes.

I saw the most appropriate quote this morning.  “Getting into shape isn’t something you, ‘do’, it’s how you live.  Resolution people fail because they believe working out cancels out all the bad in their lives that led to getting out of shape.”

This can be carried into just about everything.  As medicine frequently only masks symptoms; forcing yourself to do something (exercise, eat better, get more sleep, save for retirement, cut back on spending) can serve to mask other issues.

STEP ONE:  Address root causes.  

Why are you not taking care of yourself (health-wise or from a financial perspective) already?  What are the triggers that cause you to impulse buy or spend your paycheck on Amazon vs saving for your retirement?

Think about that.  Honestly.  Write down your thoughts.

STEP TWO:  Add 20 minutes each day to your schedule.  

This is non-negotiable personal time.  It’s only 20 minutes!  Set a timer first thing in the morning.  Take 10 minutes to think about what you want your day to look like.  Not just a to-do list, but how you’d like to feel too.  Write this down.  In an old-fashioned paper notebook (that makes it feel a bit more “real” than merely typing something up on the computer).  Keep it with you.

STEP THREE:  Follow through.  

As we go through the day we make a series of decisions.  Should I bring my lunch, or eat out (again)?  Should I have this treat that my co-worker brought in/  Should I buy a $6 latte or spend $10 to purchase that small coffee pot for my cube?  Do I really need this new shiny thing that’s showed up in my FB feed?  Really?  Can I fit in a walk?  Stop for 30 seconds prior to each decision and ask, “does this fit with my goals for the day?”  If not, “what alternate choice would?”

STEP FOUR:  Review your progress daily.  

Before you go to bed, set your timer for 10 minutes.  Write down your thoughts about the day.  What are you pleased about?  Where did you not reach your goal and – this is important – how will you change that situation the next time it comes up?  It will come up again!  Plan for that.

STEP FIVE:  Commit to doing this every single day for 30 days.  

At that point, set aside a full 20-30 minutes to review what you’ve accomplished in the month.  NOT where you failed but where you succeeded.  Celebrate your wins.

I’d love it if you’d be willing to share your goals for the new year. Putting them in writing is an affirmation – it can help you achieve your goals.  Notice, too, I am using the word “goals” and not “resolutions”.  Goals are more concrete.

For examples, instead of “lose weight” which we can’t control, write “eat vegetables with at least one meal per day” “make a weekly menu and grocery shop every Sunday”, “have protein with every meal” or “drink at least 6 glasses of water per day” are much more actionable.

“Open a retirement account”, “save $50 per paycheck”, “impose a 30 day spending freeze”, “pay the credit card bill, in full, every month”, “increase TSP contributions by 1%”, or “don’t make any impulse purchases for the next two weeks” are all better than, “make better financial decisions.”

“Schedule one dinner with family, every month” or “go to a movie with friends every other month” are more concrete ways to “spend more time with family and friends.”

See the difference?

Do you have any NewYear’s resolution?

If so, are they specific?

Are they things you can actually control?

Are they reasonable?

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