4 Ways To Make 2024 Your Year Of Goal Achievement (Really)

The majority of people stall out on their New Year’s resolutions by mid-February, and we often blame ourselves. “I’m not disciplined enough,” we think. But that’s not the reason your goal achievement was not successful. 

The issue is that we fail to tie our resolutions to our day-to-day lives. We often think of resolutions and annual goals as conceptual things we’re striving for, but we never really think through what we need to do on a day-to-day basis to get there. 

For example, take the stereotypical resolution of losing weight. Often, we approach this goal achievement by setting a target weight and investing in a new workout program. Beyond that, we don’t tie the goal to our day-to-day life.

But what if you protected time in your calendar each week to figure out your meals ahead of time, ordered Instacart in light of the menu, and protected time to prep the food? What if you figured out when you’d fit in the three workouts a week you want to do and rearranged work and childcare around them? This entails more front-end work, but do you see how you’re setting yourself up for success by tying those big goals to your actual daily life?

Let’s go over practical strategies we can use to actually succeed in the goal achievement we care about—but in a realistic way this time.

Daily Mom Parent Portal Goal Achievement

Give yourself a break

This may sound counterintuitive, but it works. If you’re like me, you keep thinking of your resolution (e.g. learning a new language), how you’re not doing it, and then feel guilty for your lack of progress. 

Time to give yourself a break from that so that you can have some guilt-free breathing space and then get back into it, feeling fresh and excited.

To do this, take that resolution and calendar the daily bite-size steps—starting in two to three weeks. Between now and then, DON’T DO IT. Release yourself from the pressure to do it. Trust that it’s on your calendar for when it’s time to take action. 

By taking your resolution off of your to-do list and not pressuring yourself to do it for a couple of weeks, you’re removing a reason to beat yourself up, giving yourself breathing space, and even building up anticipation to start refreshed.  

Tie that goal to your daily life

As I already mentioned, weaving that goal into your day-to-day life will set you up to actually accomplish it (versus having a general idea of a goal achievement that you are aiming for, but never finding time or motivation to fit it into your day).

Let’s say you want to get back into speaking Spanish. What does that mean? Do you want to jump onto a language-teaching app for 20 minutes, four days a week? If so, schedule it in your calendar on a repeating basis (starting in 2-3 weeks). 

You can always move those blocks of time as you plan your weeks, but having those default building blocks in your calendar will help remind you to protect time for it. You could even put larger milestones, like going to a Mexican restaurant and speaking Spanish, in your calendar around when you’d expect to do them. For example, if you think it might take you three months to learn enough Spanish to speak it at a restaurant, put that date in your calendar now so that you have an event that you’re working toward connected to your specific goal achievement.

Whatever the steps are that you need to take to be successful with your goal achievement, break them down and put them into your calendar.

Daily Mom Parent Portal Goal Achievement

Scale goal achievement back?

Here’s an added benefit of tying those goals to time in your calendar: you start seeing how much time and energy it will take for each goal achievement. It quickly becomes apparent that one goal at a time is likely all we can handle given that we also still have our day-to-day lives to contend with.

When you see the blocks of time that you’ve laid out for the purpose of a goal achievement —among all the other things on your plate in your personal life—suddenly, taking on three resolutions in one go seems unrealistic. Because it likely is.

And while realizing you can’t tackle all of your goals right now can be frustrating, it beats the daily defeat we experience when trying to do something unrealistic. 

Instead of failing at five resolutions, let’s succeed at one—and then, build in the time and energy to accomplish the next one. In the words of Seth Godin:

“A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.”  

Are you feeling frustrated over letting the other goals go? 

That’s okay. 

Pick a date three months from now (or a time that makes sense given what you need to do for Goal Achievement #1). That will be your date to consider starting Goal Achievement #2. Put that into your calendar now (e.g. “Consider starting [Goal Achievement #2]”). That gives you the time and space to be successful with your first goal so that your lifestyle has now shifted to accommodate Goal Achievement #1. 

If that first goal is solidified, then you know you can move onto Goal #2 when it comes up on the calendar. And if you’re not ready to move on, just push it out another month or two to a time that makes sense.

This gives you the power to have a much higher success rate with your goal achievement.

Daily Mom Parent Portal Goal Achievement

Focus on goal achievement, based on what you can control

As you revisit your goals and tie them to time, I want to challenge you to reframe your goals away from “lagging indicator” goals and instead focus on “leading indicator” goals.

Most of us set goals that focus on the result (e.g. lose 10 pounds, read 40 books this year, learn a new language). These are called lagging indicators because the goals describe the results that lag behind the actual work that goes into them (like the bite-sized steps we talked about calendaring). What’s tricky about lagging indicator goals is that we can’t always control whether or not the results happen. Measuring our “success” based on lagging indicators can lead to a lot of beating ourselves up unfairly for things we can’t control.  

Instead, set goals based on what you can control—the leading indicators. For example, instead of a goal of losing 10 pounds, set a goal to workout three times a week, drink 90 oz. of water a day, and, at meals, load up half your plate with vegetables before anything else. Instead of reading 40 books, the goal could be to spend 30 minutes a day reading. Instead of learning a new language, the goal could be to spend 30 minutes on a language app, three times a week.

In short, think about what goals you could calendar. These are the goals that are more in your control, will lead to bigger results over time, and will make you feel accomplished each day.

In addition, don’t get derailed by perfectionism. We’re human. Expect that you won’t get to those calendared blocks of time 100% of the time. Instead, pick a number that feels good to you. For example, would getting to 80% of those calendared, bite-sized steps be awesome for you? Picking this number isn’t letting yourself off the hook. It’s helping you reframe that goal achievement doesn’t require 100% performance all of the time so that, if you’re like me, you don’t give up just because you hit one hurdle.

And remember—goal achievement can be all year

January isn’t the only time you can focus on goal achievement. In fact, if you’re a parent trying to deal with unstable childcare during germ and intense weather season, it’s probably the worst time of year to try to do more. Pick another time of year! If you have great energy in May as spring is in bloom and summer is around the corner, set your resolutions then!

Time to take action with 10 Ways to Create An Effective Goal Setting Strategy That Sticks.



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How To Save The New Years Resolution That You Care About

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Kelly Nolan
Kelly Nolan
I’m Kelly Nolan, an attorney-turned-time management strategist and mom. Using realistic time management strategies, I help modern working women (especially moms) manage everything on their plate with less stress and more calm clarity.

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