The New Year is a time for a fresh start. A new beginning. It brings an opportunity to reflect on the year that was and look to the one ahead. We often think about what changes we’d like to make and what we want to achieve. So come January 1st you might find yourself making New Year goals or resolutions.
Many of us start the New Year with great intentions. We set goals, make resolutions and proclaim them loudly to all who’ll listen . But the reality is most New Year goals never actually come to fruition. We might start off enthusiastic and dedicated, but New Year goals can all too soon be forgotten.
So how can you make goals for the New Year that you’ll actually stick to and work at to achieve?
Most common New Year goals
Self improvement and getting a better work-life balance feature heavily as the most common New Year goals Australians set for themselves. In 2021, off the back of lockdowns and economic uncertainty, it’s no surprise to see health, travel and finances feature heavily in the top 5 New Year goals.
Top goals in 2021 were:
- Improve fitness or lose weight
- Save more money and spend less
- Eat better
- Travel or travel more
- Get out of debt
But all too often New Year goals are discarded before they have a chance to take shape. So before you go proclaiming to all and sundry what your New Year goals are for 2022, it’s time for a fresh approach.
Read on. We’ve got some tips to help make your New Year goals actually stick.
How to set New Year goals
Let’s be honest. Most New Year goal setting is done off the back of a pretty hectic silly season. Parties, late nights, last-minute work stresses, and a big dose of holiday indulgences.
So it’s no wonder many of us set goals that are completely unrealistic to achieve. It’s easy to get all gung ho about getting back to a routine, and undoing some of the festive frivolities. But now’s the time you need to stop and think.
The main contributors to broken New Year’s resolutions include:
- Making too many goals
- Not thinking about how you’ll achieve your goal
- Not keeping track of your progress
- Setting goals that are unrealistic
You want to set yourself up for success. Not failure. So setting realistic goals is the number one step to successfully achieving your New Year goals. So let’s take a fresh look at how you go about setting your goals.
Top tips to smash your goals
People who set goals are likely to be more successful. In addition, being able to achieve personal goals will build up your confidence, give you a clearer focus, and a strong sense of satisfaction. Plus once you succeed, you’ll be more likely to set more goals so you can smash them too.
Our top tips to set goals you’ll have a chance of achieving are:
- One thing at a time
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Although it's great to want to change a range of things at once, working on too many things will likely see you burn out or feel completely overwhelmed. Instead, focus on one or two things you'd like to change.
- Be realistic.
Some goals simply can’t be achieved in a year. So if your goal is long-term, break it down into smaller goals. If you want to buy a house but you haven’t started saving yet, it’s unlikely you’ll pull a deposit together within a year. Instead, create milestones you can meet each month and you’ll be more likely to stay on track and stay motivated.
- Be consistent.
If you want to change something for any length of time you need to make it a habit. So if getting fit is your goal for the New Year, work out when and where you can train. Then add it to your schedule. Better still, team up with a friend or a group and you’ll be more likely to commit. Before you know it, it will be part of your routine.
- Be kind to yourself.
None of us are perfect. We all slip up occasionally. The important thing is to not give up and don’t be discouraged. Instead, aim to get back on track as soon as possible. Focus on what you have achieved, not what you haven’t. And keep going.
- Stay positive
Instead of making a goal based on a negative thought:
“I’m in my 30s, why haven’t I saved more money?”,
base your goal on a positive thought:
“I’m in my 30s and I’m ready to work toward investing some money”.
There’s much less chance you’ll resent the goal and what you need to do to achieve it.
- Reward yourself
If you break down your goal, and keep track of milestones you meet, you’ll feel good about the progress you’re making. And that deserves a reward for yourself along the way.
- Be flexible
Sometimes the goals we set ourselves might need to change along the way. Things happen, you might change your mind, your situation might not be the same. It’s OK to change your goals if they no longer suit you.
Bonus tip for financial goals
When it comes to financial goals like saving money, spending less and getting out of debt, the biggest tip for success is to get support. As they say, sometimes it takes a village! By using the services of a professional financial planner, you’ll not only get support, you’ll also ensure the goals you set are 100 percent achievable.