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Happy New Year everyone!
It’s the beginning of a brand new decade.
How was your New Year celebrations like?
We had a grand old time here in old Sydney town as MrsFrugalSamurai and I spent it with our family, watching the fireworks as they herald in 2020.
Importantly, the start of each new year brings with it new year’s resolutions.
If you’re like me, resolutions typically involve a more active approach to health and fitness, improved career/finances and learning new things for personal and professional development.
But then studies show that 4 out of 5 of us will fail our New Year Resolutions by February.
So what can we do about it?
I’ll share 4 quick and easy tips which I use to keep my new year resolutions in check.
Keep It SMART
A big part of goal-setting and making resolutions is to follow the SMART principles.
If you’re unfamiliar with what they are:
Specific – articulate the goal as specifically as possible, e.g. giving up smoking is a better goal than being healthy. As being healthy could mean many other things like more exercise, eating better etc. Don’t leave room for ambiguity.
Measurable – where possible, quantify your resolution. E.g. I will save $5,000 by June 30 or, I will lose 10 pounds by March 15th. Quantifing brings clarity as you can measure your progress in real-time.
Attainable – I love stretch goals, and I love setting big goals. However, as much as I want TheFrugalSamurai to grow into the biggest and bestest blog in human history, it probably won’t happen by Dec 31st. Which is why you’d want to choose a goal within the realm of possibility, yet challenging enough that a fair amount of effort is required.
Relevant – It’s important to keep the goals relevant to your priorities and motivations. Because if you don’t prioritize or are motivated about a goal, you just won’t do it.
Timely – Also, make sure to set deadlines for when the goal is to be achieved. Deadlines at work create a bit of urgency for when a task is to be performed… and it should be no different with your goals.
Break It Down
The second point I find is to break it down into smaller bite sized chunks.
Saving $5,000 by mid-year may seem like a huge effort to you if you have always been a spender, but if you break it down to say $1,000 a month or $250 per week – suddenly the goal does not seem as insurmountable.
It’s absolutely crucial to break it down, as you may feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of what’s at hand, and consequently lose motivation to achieve your goal.
Don’t fret! Let consistent effort and time shower you in glory and riches!
Write It Down.
It’s actually pretty remarkable how many people say they have goals but cannot recite what they are when you ask them.
One way to always remember your goals is to write them down.
There was a Harvard Business Study which showed that 3% of graduates from their MBA who had their goals written down, ended up earning ten times as much as the other 97% put together, just ten years after graduation.
The reason for this is that writing things down means two things are happening.
One, you’re storing the information contained in your goal in a location (e.g. a piece of paper) that is very easy to access and review at any time. You will remember something much better if you’re staring at a visual cue (aka reminder) every single day.
Two, a scientific process called encoding. This is the biological process of creating a memory. Writing improves the encoding process. Quite simply, when you write it down it has a much greater chance of being remembered.
Personally, I have a small whiteboard on my desk which I write all my goals down, big and small.
I break it up into weekly and monthly goals, as well as a couple of major goals for the year.
Whenever I am at my desk (most of the time), I can’t NOT see the board. And it serves as a timely reminder to stop procrastinating and start doing.
Another quick tip is to share with others about your goals.
If you go public with your goal, you may feel a sense of obligation and accountability to put in the hard yards.
Because if you don’t follow through, you may feel that you have let everyone down.
I have gone around telling people (whether they care or not), that I am going to be starting a Youtube channel this year.
So damnit man, at the risk of egg on my face, that is what I will be doing.
There ya have it, 4 quick and easy tips to ensure that your New Year’s Resolution has the best chance of success for 2020.
It’s also important to note that if you fail, don’t just give up and wait for next year!
Reset the clock, as the 1st of January is just an arbitary date when you think about it, it makes no difference when you start, whether its the 1st of Jan or the 5th of August, or the 22nd of May.
Time is irrelevant, the results speaks for itself!
And if you have put in the hard yards and are successful, keep going!
Keep on reviewing and updating your goals, because that’s how you become a better version of yourself by Dec 31!
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