What’s on your to-do list? Or, better yet, do you have a list of life goals? If the thought of either has filled you with dread, you’re not alone. 60% of people say they can’t possibly finish everything on their daily to-do list.
Of course, this doesn’t bode well if you have certain milestones you want to achieve in your lifetime. Buying a house, for example, or getting a major promotion or relocating abroad all require a little bit of effort every day to help you inch closer to your goal. If you can’t accomplish your day-to-day tasks, it’s harder to reach that bigger objective.
That’s where this guide comes in. We’ve got a few tips and techniques to help you achieve more in 2020:
1. Start with the big picture
When you sit down to map out your goals for the next year, spend some time thinking about the past year first. What did you achieve? What challenges did you overcome? Did some things not go to plan? Why not? Answering all these questions will help you apply your goals to real life, putting you in a better place to achieve them this year.
2. Categorise your goals
Once you’ve got your life goals and milestones set out, try to categorise them by the different areas of your life. While our goals may intersect, you’ll probably find some are more geared towards your platonic relationships, some towards your love life, some towards your professional life and so on. By splitting out your objectives, it’ll be easier to set yourself tasks in each distinct area.
3. Use SMART goals and the GROW model
Your goals categorised, the next step is to figure out what you need to do to see them come to fruition. When setting these smaller goals and tasks, make sure to use the GROW model (Goal, Reality, Options, What next) and try to make them SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely).
4. Be flexible and adaptable
When setting your goals – and carrying them out – you’ll need to adopt a flexible, adaptable mindset. This could mean shifting either (or both) the goals and the daily tasks you’ve set out for yourself, or changing up certain elements of your plan based on changes in your circumstances. Part of this is also being aware of your own strengths and limitations as you work through your plan – and tweaking them where necessary.
5. Record your progress
As you go through your tasks, keep a record of your progress. While this could be as simple as ticking off a to-do list, writing down how you were feeling or how you achieved (or didn’t achieve) something will be more illuminating. At the end of every day, try to sum up what happened, how you were feeling, and what your thoughts are. It will be a nice summary of your day that you can look back on at the end of every week or month.
6. Schedule in time every day
We can only achieve our goals if we think about – and work towards – them every day. So, make sure you schedule in time every day to work towards your objectives. For each of the goals you’ve identified, try to come up with some small, daily tasks you could complete and make sure you do them every day. Doing things daily makes it into a habit, and eventually into something you do instinctively and automatically.
7. What to do when you feel stuck
No matter how well you’ve set out your plans, it’s inevitable that sometimes things won’t go your way. You may feel you’ve slowed in your progress, are going backwards, or have lost motivation. If you do get stuck, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Approach the situation positively by accepting what’s happened, figuring out what went wrong and taking a break for a while. Come back refreshed and with an extra rung to your game plan: how to fix what went wrong or move forward despite it.
8. Find an accountability partner
You may find it helpful to have an accountability partner – someone you let in on your plans (or at least a portion of your plans) and who can check in on your progress. Not to mention telling someone else your goals helps solidify your commitment to achieving them. Make sure you choose wisely though – they’d need to be encouraging and positive while still being realistic.
9. Celebrate every achievement
You probably won’t need any prompting to celebrate once you get that promotion, buy that house or finally book that ticket abroad. But, it’s equally important to set out some smaller rewards to give yourself a boost as you tick off your weekly tasks. These small congratulatory boosts can help encourage you to keep moving forward and hopefully see you ticking off every milestone you’ve set your heart against.