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Be Great in 2019

Five ways to set (and achieve!) your New Year's goals.

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aarp, sisters, goal planning
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In December we’re constantly reminded that a brand-new year is quickly approaching. Across social media, we’re inundated with messages like, “ you still have X number of days to make this year count!” or “ don’t wait until midnight on December 31 to make a change!” And while those statements are true, it’s important to mindfully set ourselves up for success in the new year.

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2018, here are five ways to set practical goals with intention for 2019.

1. Make time to reflect.

Before you even think about making a long list of (unrealistic) goals or planning that vision board party with your girlfriends, take some time out of your busy schedule to pause and think back over the last 12 months. The best way to do this? Grab a pen and paper, put on your favorite playlist and jot down a good ol’ fashioned gratitude list. Revel in the things you did achieve and give yourself credit. Give thanks for the blessings as well as the shortcomings. Take stock of where you grew both professionally and personally and how you would like to “level up” in the next three, six and nine months. To help guide this exercise, be inspired by words from Alex Elle, GG Renee and Alina Marie, who all have shared helpful writing prompts to encourage mindfulness.

2. Write it down.

This should go without explanation, but there is power in putting an ink pen to a fresh piece of paper and writing out your thoughts, dreams and aspirations. From my experience, it’s an exercise of manifestation. But it also has been scientifically proven that if you are able to see what you aim to accomplish, you have a higher chance of successfully achieving it.

3. Keep it simple.

When I made my list of 2018 goals, I wanted nothing more than for them to be tangible, deadline-driven and easy to remember. Instead, breaking my goals down into very specific metrics, I developed a mantra for the year and then made a list of five things I wanted to focus on doing more of this year. Under each of my five categories (write more, travel more, create more, learn more and speak more), I listed one to three very specific actions I wanted to achieve (e.g., create my own newsletter and send it every week). What I found was that this method in particular allowed me to be stubborn about my goals but flexible with how I brought them to fruition.

4. Put dates on your goals and follow up!

I’ll be honest — it has always been a challenge for me to be disciplined with my time. If you experience this struggle as well, I would highly suggest setting calendar reminders as benchmarks while you work toward your goals. For example, if my goal is to save $10,000 by Dec. 31, 2019, I would set a day each month to spend time with my finances and check in on my progress. Remember: Achieving most goals takes the endurance of a marathon, not a sprint. In an age where we are constantly distracted, it is imperative to use time to our advantage.

5. Finally, find two or three trusted friends to hold you accountable.

Once you’ve identified your goals, written them down and set specific deadlines, then it is time to find those good friends who will help hold you accountable in what you’ve set out to achieve. Disclaimer: Not all of your friends need to help you keep track of all of your goals. Depending on what I am looking to accomplish, I often choose a friend who I know is working on achieving a similar goal and going to be persistent and consistent. As you review your goals, think about who within your sister circle would be willing to take this journey with you and who you could support, as well. Like the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work.

With these five tips, you now have a solid game plan for how you will goal-set with intention and achieve greatness in 2019.