It’s that time of year again when the New Year shine wears off, winter plays shadow games with groundhogs, and the infamous February Slump sneaks up on us. Ironically, it’s the best time to reflect on what you really want to accomplish this year, trim any unrealistic goals, prioritize what matters and make a plan that sticks.
It’s resolution solution time!
Whatever your goals are for this year—from dusting off that gym membership to paying off a loan or two, landing a new job or buckling down and doing your taxes—here are six simple planning tips that can help you crush your goals in 2020.
1. Get your goals out of your head and onto paper.
It’s so easy to get caught up chasing task after task without a clear strategy (or end in sight). This is a sure way to increase stress and decrease true productivity. Free up some precious mind space by transferring those open tabs in your head onto paper. Then eliminate what isn’t urgent or essential. After that, you’ll have a workable list you can actually organize, which will reduce stress and help you be more productive.
2. Keep sight of your goals, literally.
Out of sight, out of mind, right? To keep your goals top of mind, make sure you have a daily visual reminder. I like to check in with my LifePlanner™ several times a day so I can remind myself of what’s on deck for the day, week and month. This keeps me focused on my goals no matter how busy I get.
3. Plan with friends.
It’s so much easier (and more fun) when you find someone with similar goals that you can plan with and hold each other accountable. If you want to start exercising every morning or start eating healthier foods or start studying for those final exams, you’re more likely to get started, keep it up and enjoy it more when you enlist a friend that can contribute to your social well-being and help you stay accountable to your goals.
4. Track your habits, good and bad.
When we’re aware of our habits and how they affect our productivity, time management, even our mood and self-confidence, we’re better able to make adjustments and change what isn’t working. You can use a habit tracker notepad, wall chart, or even pop habit tracker stickers in your planner or notebook, whatever works for you. Then, get to tracking! You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn about yourself while boosting your personal (and professional) productivity!
5. Reset your mindset with gratitude.
Gratitude is the attitude of appreciation and a powerful mindset reset button. Any time I start to feel overwhelmed by surmounting tasks, competing demands, or just one of those days when nothing seems to go as planned, I turn to my Gratitude Journal for a perspective cleanse.
Simply jotting down a couple of things you’re grateful for before you go to bed each night can reduce anxiety and stress, improve mindfulness, help you think more clearly and optimistically when you plan the next day, and even improve your sleep and feelings of happiness. Talk about a life hack!
6. Use setbacks to step forward.
When you get organized and motivated and start noticing your productivity and time-management improving, it’s easy to forget that things don’t always go as planned. When setbacks hit (and they will), you can either lose time and energy struggling against them or seek ways to use them to step up.
Tips for preparing for setbacks and avoiding discouragement:
- Stay agile and be willing to adjust your plans when necessary.
- Plan time buffers in your daily or weekly agenda for the unexpected.
- Leverage your support system whenever you feel discouraged.
- Get enough sleep and keep up your self-care routine.
- If all else fails, jot down all the reasons you set your goals in the first place. Then, envision how your life would be and how you would feel if you kept going.
For more planning tips and tricks, visit our Inspiration Center!