How to Make Your Annual Goals Stick

It’s that time of year when many of us set goals for everything from losing weight to saving money. We often start off strong, only to fizzle out before too long. I was stuck in this cycle until a few years ago, when I finally cracked my own code for making my goals a reality. Now I take time every year, usually during the slower period between Christmas and New Year’s Day, to take stock of the current year and make a plan for what I want to do in the next. These five simple steps might help you overcome your own case of New-Year’s-Resolution-itis.

1. Separate your goals into major categories.

I found that breaking up my goals helps me stay organized. Seeing a long list of unrelated goals can make you feel overwhelmed and lead to giving up. The categories that work for me are:

2. Write a sentence about your motivation for accomplishing the goals in each category. 

Why is this important to you? How will this make your life better? This will be a good reminder of why you set these goals to begin with and will to help keep you on track.

3. Within each category, create a few measurable, attainable goals.

Keep it simple and break it down into pieces that you can measure. I’ll keep going with Health as an example:

4. Keep your goals somewhere you can easily see them.

I use Evernote for just about everything for work and home. There are other note-taking apps that work great too, I just like this one. I have a shortcut to my goals so they are in front me every day. I find that this helps me stay on track and remember what I want to accomplish. I check my goals regularly and feel very satisfied when I can check things off. At the end of the year, I end up with more checks than blanks and it feels great!

Set realistic goals, keep re-evaluating, and be consistent.

Venus Williams

5. Modify as needed.

Things change. It’s ok to adjust your goals throughout the year. What if you set a goal for running a 10K and then broke your ankle in February? Or you wanted to save $5,000 but then had major home repair you had to pay for? You can modify your goals to accommodate your new situation. They key is to modify them and not forget them.