How to Achieve Your Goals in 2018

Deep down, we all know we won’t stick out our New Year’s Resolution.

Most of us make pretty half-arse ones too, meaning we’re setting ourselves up for failure before we’ve even begun.

If you really want to change your habits for the better in 2018, here’s some tips.

Know your why

One of the first keys to creating a successful goal is to know your why.

Knowing your why makes a huge difference whether your goal is to start a business, write a book, or exercise more.

Exercising more and eating healthily because you feel like you should aren’t good enough reasons to motivate you.

Setting a target weight will help, but as soon as you reach your goal, then what?

Are you going to go back to your previous eating habits?

Studies have shown that if you go on a fad diet, then reach your goal weight, you’ll slip back into your old habits and end up weighing more than you did when you started your diet.

Instead, aim to be healthier because a) being unhealthy can kill you and b) you can do more when you’re healthy.

For me, I need to get healthy because a) it makes my asthma better, b) my joints seize up less, c) it helps me to manage my anxiety, and d) I’m less likely to end up with chronic back pain like everyone else in my family.

While I’m not a fan of exercise, it’s impossible to hate every form of exercise that’s out there.

Try lots of different things out to see what sticks, and don’t go cold turkey when it comes to your favourite foods. Ease them out of your diet, or use them as rewards in small doses.

If you’re not sure why you’ve chosen your particular goal, chances are, you’re doing it because you feel like you should, not because you want to.

Don’t call them New Year’s Resolutions

Call them a goal or an objective.

Call them anything but a New Year’s Resolution.

A goal or objective sounds much more concrete than New Year’s Resolution, which we all know nobody sticks to past January.

If you’re working on something particularly big, such as forming a writing career or starting a business, don’t call it a hobby, either.

Call it your second job, or, my favourite, your side hustle.

Our hobbies are things that we do to relax. We don’t take them as seriously and we don’t put as much work into them as we do jobs or careers.

Most of the hobby writers I know have barely finished their first manuscript, despite having been part of local writing communities for years or having graduated from university with a writing degree years ago.

They dream about seeing their book on the shelves in the local bookshop, but they’ll never achieve it because they don’t take it seriously enough.

When you see your writing or your business or whatever it is you want to do as something more than a hobby, you put more effort into it.

You also take it more seriously, and therefore so do the people around you, meaning they’re less likely to interrupt you when you’re working on it.

Tell other people what you’re doing

Having people to hold you accountable can be a great way to stay motivated.

They can ask you about your goals and progress, and give you someone to troubleshoot with when you’re struggling.

Supportive friends and family are imperative in everything in life, but sometimes the internet can help, too.

There are hashtags out there for pretty much everything, and just a simple tweet with the right hashtag can help you to find a support group in no time.

Track your progress

Every time you work on your goal, mark your progress on a calendar.

If you can, stick it on the wall where the rest of your household can see it.

This not only reinforces the accountability, but also gives you a reminder.

You’ll start to like seeing that mark on the calendar each day, and soon, you’ll have a habit on your hands.

Small changes can make big differences

When it comes to building new habits, we often dive in at the deep end, then are surprised when we fail. If you haven’t swum in a decade, you’re not going to be able to do 1000m on your first day.

Starting off with small, attainable goals and building yourself up over time helps to not only cement your new habits in your mind, but increase your mental and physical strength, too.

A five-minute daily writing habit at the start of January could become a five-hour daily writing habit if you stick to it long enough (and you have that much time to spare).

Reward yourself

We’re all too harsh on ourselves when we fail.

Punishing ourselves for failing only ends up making us feel worse.

Instead of punishing yourself, be kind to yourself.

Take a bath.

Drink your favourite coffee.

Do something that will make you feel good.

Then, when you’re ready, assess what went wrong so that you can start afresh with your newfound lessons.

Go forth and succeed!

Go on, I know you can do it ;)

Want to make 2018 your most productive year yet?

Productivity for Writers is just what you need! It’s full of tips and tricks to help you better manage your time and defeat your inner critic.

It’s available now from all good ebook retailers.

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 277,994+ people.

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