Who is still sticking with their 2020 goals?

It’s that time of year again: the time when all those big dreamers and fancy goal setters are dropping off the list of “People who made New Years Resolutions and stuck with them.” Are you one of those people who already feels like a big failure? Well, don’t worry. I have a quick and easy solution for how to get back on track.

Today I have two tips for how I set and stick with goals.

First, I set quarterly goals, not annual goals.

I set my goals each quarter. I find that quarterly goals are much more manageable and less intimidating that great big goals over a period of time.

What if you have a great big goal that will take longer than a quarter? (I hear you asking this!)

In that case, I take that goal and break it down into manageable steps. For example (and I get this question ALL THE TIME), what if you work full time, but you want to write a book over the next year?

In that case, I make the smaller goal of: I want to write the first quarter of a book in this quarter. So, let’s say you want to write a long book of 100,000 words. In the first quarter, you’ll want to write 25,000 words, or 6,250 words a week. That’s less than a 1,000 words a day. You can totally do that!

Simply set aside one hour a day and shoot for 1000 words during that hour, but be happy with 800 to 900. Or write 500 words each day Monday through Friday, and pound out around 3,000 words on the weekend.

Note: The key to quarterly goals is to create a goal that is both measurable and obtainable, while still pushing yourself a little outside your comfort zone.

Let’s play around with a second example. I have a desire to develop a morning yoga routine. This is an ongoing goal of mine, kind of like people who want “to lose weight”.

It’s not something I can really measure in terms of “this year” or “this quarter.” I have to put a measurement on it for the quarter so as not to get too overwhelmed. So the goal I have set is this: I want to do yoga three times a week this quarter, preferably in the morning before I shower and get to work.

To track this, I have added “yoga” to my monthly tracker in my bullet journal and to my weekly schedule. At the end of each month and at the end of the quarter I will look and see if I was able to work in yoga to my morning routine on a regular basis. From there I’ll decide if three times a week was enough of a habit to develop, or do I want to add more yoga to my schedule. Or if I failed miserably, and maybe yoga simply isn’t for me.

If you set a goal at the beginning of the year to lose weight, my advise (after discussing with your doctor) would be to break that down into quarterly goals and adjust at the end of each quarter. Make sure your goal is measurable and obtainable so that you don’t feel overly intimidated by the goal.

Second, I like to break each of my quarterly goals into smaller tasks.

Every time I start a new novel or writing project, I make a project task list in my bullet journal. This task list takes a book from the initial blank page to beyond release day for that book. It includes items like write first draft, send to editor, send information to cover artist, upload cover to retailers for preorder, format ebook, send to typo check… You get the picture.

The tasks that I hope to complete in the quarter I’m currently planning get added to that quarter’s goals. For example, I’m in the editing phase of putting Truth is in the Darkness out into the world. During this quarter, I will finish the edits, format the ebook, format the paper back, upload the books to all retailers, plan the marketing of the book. The are measurable and obtainable tasks to reach the goal of: Publish Truth is in the Darkness on February 29.

To start my yoga routine, I went through a similar routine. First, I had to decide where I wanted to practice yoga: at home or in live classes. If I practiced at home, I needed to research and decide which app to use that would set me up for likely success.

If I planned to take classes outside the home, I had to research what classes were available to me and if they fit into my schedule. Next, I added yoga to my habit tracker, then added classes to my schedule. Since this is a new habit for me, I’m still working on making it part of my routine. But it’s only January, and so far, I’m truly enjoying it.

Note: Once you’ve set measurable and obtainable goals, you have to break those goals into tasks you can do in a single day.

There’s simply something magic about adding a task to a to-do list, and then putting an “X” beside it, marking it complete. That is the reason your goals need to be broken down that way. If you have big goals, being able to move toward those goals in some small way every single day is important. So even when I’m in a busy season of my life, I still try to reach my dream goals with small tasks. Those small tasks eventually add up to huge accomplishments.

Those are my two big tips for setting and sticking with goals. Since implementing this into practice, I’ve accomplished so much more in my life. Let me know in the comments how you’re doing with your 2020 goals (no judgement here, promise). Or let me know if you have a process for setting goals. How is it similar or different from mine?

And if you decide to try my method, be sure to let me know.