How to Set Your Goals with Tips From James Clear

A Foolproof Guide on How to Achieve Your Goals in 2021

Tom Handy
Tom Handy
Nov 26, 2020 · 5 min read
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Photo by Sagar Kumar from Pexels

ith a new year right around the corner, this is your guide to achieve your goals for 2021. Studies show people set a new year’s resolution and end up quitting within days or weeks. Achieving a goal is never easy. If achieving a goal were easy, everyone would walk around like Superman.

I got in the habit of setting goals when I was in high school and only refined my habits as I got older. In my high school yearbook, I wrote that I was going to get a BMW. I was a broke kid but had a big dream. Achieving that dream wasn’t easy and was years of hard work but staying focused on my goal.

Cambridge Dictionary had the perfect definition for a goal.

Goal — an aim or purpose.

This is the time to plan your goal and think it through to get ready for next year. Take the time to figure out your goal. If you don’t know, here are a few you may consider.

  • Do you want to be a better writer?
  • Do you want to be a top earner?
  • Do you want to write a book?
  • Do you want to lose 10 pounds?
  • Do you want to save more money?

There are many other ideas but you know what you want to achieve for your personal goal. You need to get serious and make your goal become a reality. Don’t just read this without taking action on achieving your goal. Make your goal happen in 2021.

Set your goal

“The real challenge is not determining if you want the result, but if you are willing to accept the sacrifices required to achieve your goal.”

James Clear

First, you need to set your 2021 goal. If you don’t know, think about what you want to achieve. Your goal will change your life in one way or another.

To achieve your goal, you need to first break your goal down into smaller goals. You won’t wake up on January 2 with your goal achieved. Your goal is most likely a big goal. Look at your goal and then break it down into smaller goals.

If your goal is to make $1,000 as a writer. You need to break down that $1,000 into smaller goals. First, you need to make a goal to achieve $100 as a writer. The next goal may be to achieve $250 as a writer. Then you want to achieve $500 as a writer.

Once you attain one goal, you need to look at the next higher goal. Basically, you are working your way up from each goal to the next goal. After you have checked off the goal, then you are looking to the next higher goal.

Create your ladder system to achieve your goal. Every step forward you make with your small goals on the way to your big goals is a move in the right direction. Turn that big goal into smaller goals.

Be in the right environment

“It is hard to focus on the signal when you’re constantly surrounded by noise. It is more difficult to eat healthy when your kitchen is filled with junk food.”

James Clear

When you are in the right environment, you can do anything you want. However, if you are not in the right environment, it is easy to not achieve your goals. Your environment is a big factor for you to attain your goal.

Your surroundings can make or break you. This will help you achieve your goals. To do that, little clues in your environment will help you. James pointed out three areas:

  • Simplicity.
  • Visual clues.
  • Opt-Out vs. Opt-In.

Let’s break this down a little further. How can these three areas help you achieve your goal next year?

Simplicity. You need to eliminate distractions that are in your way. If you want to be a better writer, block out time when you are going to write. If you want to get healthy, eliminate the junk food in your home. Distractions will keep you from achieving your goal.

Visual clues. What you see will help push you toward your goal. James pointed out that when a person goes to the supermarket, a lot of items the store is pushing is located at your eye level. The supermarket strategically wants you to buy those items without telling you. Your eyes will catch these items and then you are telling yourself you need to buy that item. What you surround around yourself, will help or hurt you on your mission to meet your goal.

Opt-out vs. Opt-in. When you plan out your week, you decide your results. To get involved in something, most agencies require you to opt-in. In several European countries, they automatically enrolled their citizens in organ donation. To opt-out, people had to sign out. In Europe, 24 countries use the organ donor system.

You can achieve similar results yourself. Maybe you want to go to the gym more often. You can schedule a work-out next week and the only way to get out is by opting out of your workout session.

Ruthlessly eliminate your goals

“Never miss twice. If you miss one day, try to get back on track as quickly as possible.”

James Clear

Your goals are competing with one another for your time and attention. Whatever goal you set, the goal is competing for your time. You may have multiple goals you want to accomplish in 2021.

The goals may be personal goals ranging from your health, family, to personal goals. It may be hard to focus on all three goals. This is when you need to prioritize your goals. What goal will have the most impact on you?

You could still achieve all of your goals. To do this, you need to put a pause on these other areas that will not have a big impact on your goals. These other areas are your distractions. The distractions will keep you away from achieving the big goal you want to achieve.

What goal do you want to achieve in 2021?

See these other articles for more tips:

Tom Handy is a top writer on Medium, former Quora writer, and father of two kids. He retired from the Army and sits on several non-profit boards. You can find him on Twitter @tomhandy1.


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