New year, new you, right? This is finally the year you’re going to…

  • Increase your revenue
  • Finally get into shape
  • Learn a new language

The new year is a new slate and you have big dreams. Things you’ve been wanting to do for years. Goals. Ideas. Big plans.

But how do you ensure you actually achieve your goals? After all, around 90% of people never make their dreams a reality. How do you ensure you’re in the 10% that do?

In this post, I’m going to give you 9 simple tips for crushing your goals this year.

1. Make a Commitment

Suit up to achieve goals

Be honest here: are you really going to do something if you don’t make a firm commitment to it? No way. You can’t “kind of” want to achieve your goal. You need to be passionately, firmly, unwaveringly committed to crushing your goal. There’s no room for wavering here. No half-hearted attempts at “being a better person”.

You don’t do this just by getting yourself fired up. The solution isn’t to scream yourself into a frenzy or listen to loud rock music while punching a slab of meat (See Rocky). Rather, you take the following concrete steps to structure your life to win!

2. Be Specific

The first, most important step is to create a specific goal. Most people use generalities when setting goals. They want to lose some weight, run more, get healthier, be happier, or read more books. All these are noble, vague goals that have a low probability of being completed.

When setting goals, be concrete and specific. Specify:

  • Exactly what you want to accomplish (lose 19 pounds)
  • When you want to accomplish (by July 1)
  • What steps you will take to accomplish it (low carb diet, etc.)

Creating specific steps dramatically increases the likelihood of reaching your goals.

3. Write It Down

Write down your goals

Those who write their goals down have a higher chance of achieving their goals. Why is this? Because writing down a goal puts all your focus on that goal and reminds you of it on a constant basis.

Of course, it’s not enough to just write a goal on a sheet of paper and then throw that paper in the trash. You need to review that goal consistently. Some ways to do this:

  • Write the same goals anew every morning, yes every morning
  • Write the goals on an index card and carry them in your wallet
  • Make a Post-It note and stick it to your computer or mirror
  • Write the goals digitally and make them the background on your phone.

Master motivator Brian Tracy says:

I discovered that if it is powerful for you to write down your goals once a year, it is even more powerful for you to write down your goals more often.

The main point is simply to put the goals onto paper and then keep them at the front of your brain at all times.

4. Track and Measure Your Goal

Constantly tracking and measuring your progress allows you to stay motivated. It also allows you celebrate your victories, and get back on track if you stray. If possible, keep a visual representation of your progress in a high visibility to keep your goal in mind and keep you focused on moving forward.

Some simple ways to visualize your progress:

  • Enter your data into a spreadsheet and then create a graph out of that data.
  • Write your numbers on a whiteboard.
  • Use an app like Exist.
  • If your goal has a visual aspect, such as losing weight or putting on muscle, you can easily record photos or videos of yourself. This guy wanted to learn guitar in one year and made a video diary of his progress.

The point is to engage actively in collecting and reflecting on the evidence of progress.

5. Set A Deadline

Set target dates for your goals

Hard and fast deadlines can supercharge your progress and add a sense of urgency to any goal. A deadline can also help you understand how much incremental progress you need to make each day or week as you move forward. For example, if you want to lose 30 pounds in 6 months, you need to lose 5 pounds per month, which is a little less than a pound per week. Once you know this information, you can track your progress each week against your deadline.  Don’t overuse this tip though as your mind will resist false deadlines (see The Surprising Reasons Why Due Dates Suck).

How do you keep yourself on pace to hit a deadline?

  • Countdown apps make it easy to set a date in the future and start the countdown.
  • Crossing off days on a paper calendar gives you a tactile reminder of your approaching deadline.

6. Get The Support Of Others

There will be many times when you feel like throwing in the towel. Giving up on your goal. Calling it quits or just cheating on the process. This is common. We all get worn out and discouraged when we have to fight upstream against our ingrained habits.

During our weak moments, we need the support of others. We need friends who can encourage us and remind us not to quit. When you initially set your goals, tell at least one or two close friends. These CANNOT be friends who are going to sympathetically let you off the hook when you’re struggling. They need to be the kind of people who will push you to be the best version of yourself.  They might even be a bit competitive with you.

If you also want to add an online community for support, Coach.me offers some great options.  The point here is encouragement and accountability.  If you’re afraid to tell some friends, it’s a sign you aren’t ready to commit.

7. Turn Your Goals Into Habits

Whenever possible, turn your big goals into small, easily repeatable habits. For example, let’s say you want to read 20 books in the coming year. There are some simple habits you can establish to make it easy to accomplish this goal:

  • Begin your morning by reading 3 pages of a book.
  • Listen to audiobooks on your way to work (yes, today this counts as reading).
  • Join a book club.
  • Unwind at night with a few pages of relaxing fiction.

Once a goal becomes a habit, you begin to regret the times you can’t indulge your habit. This is the power of habits. They turn difficult goals into an unmissable part of your daily routine.  Definitely check out Duhigg’s, “The Power of Habit” to learn how creating a few new habits could revolutionize your life.

8. Visualize Success

visualize your goals everyday

Elite performers constantly visualize their success. They paint a mental picture of what achieving a goal will look like and then they obsess over that picture. Their first thought when they wake up and last thought when they sleep is about the reward of their goal.  I first learned this as an athlete and later found it works in other areas of life.

If you want to achieve your goals, create a detailed visual in your mind of that success. What will you feel like it? How will you celebrate? What will other people think when they see your success? How will your success improve your life.

Don’t hesitate to write all this down and put it somewhere prominent.  The more real the vision, the more achievable to your mind.

9. Stretch Yourself

Set ambitious goals that are going to greatly stretch you over the next year. Success comes from pushing yourself hard, and stretch goals push you to be your best. Many people make the mistake of setting too many goals rather than a couple big goals.

What is the next big step you need to make in your life?  Pick one or two until you get good at it.

The Reality Of Making This Your Best Year Ever

Thomas Jefferson said:

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.

If you follow the 9 powerful strategies above, nothing will stop you!  You will be drawn like a magnet to the goals you visualize and rehearse regularly.  You’ll build habits that reinforce success and create the platform for even greater success.  This can be your best year ever. You’ll look back and marvel at the importance of your accomplishments.  That’s what I plan to do.

What are you going to do with the time you’re given and the knowledge you’ve obtained?