I’ve been struggling to find my motivation probably since October of last year. After my large annual event at work was over, I wanted to just ship myself to a remote island for the rest of the year. And even now, at the beginning of a new year, I’ve been dragging my feet in doing all the things I traditionally do like set monthly and yearly goals, create a theme, create a vision board, etc.
Thankfully, the recent snow storm the Washington, DC area had, allowed me to spend time doing all the things I had been putting off. I worked on my setting goals using my Smart Goals Worksheets. I also got around to thinking about the major keys to a successful year and decided to share with you the 15 Keys for a Successful Year.
1. Pick a theme or word for the year.
Having a theme that correlates to your major goals helps you stay on track all year long. Whenever you’re off-center or lost your focus, you can go back to that theme and figure out where you may have gotten off track. Yesterday, I blogged about my theme for the year. I also shared a quote and mantra that will help keep me grounded and something I can repeat to myself when I am feeling defeated or need to change my perspective.
2. Set reasonable and intentional goals.
Goal setting is important for growth, but it’s equally important to make sure those goals are realistic and attainable goals. When you set unrealistic goals with no target date, you often become defeated or discouraged when you are unable to reach them. Check out the reason why you should stop thinking about your goals as dreams.
3. Take daily/weekly steps to accomplish your long-term goals.
Every accomplishment starts with a desire to begin. And every little step you take towards a long-term goal will get you one step closer to accomplishing it. Sometimes it’s easier to take 100 little steps than 1 big jump. So work at your long-term goals day-by-day or week-by-week.
4. Keep track of your life and goals in a planner/calendar.
Having a planner or calendar helps you keep track of your schedule and goals. Also having a visual keeps your task constantly in front of you, so you know what you are working towards. I’m a planner-by-nature, so I always keep a planner. This year I’ve downsized, so I am only using two planners: one for work and one for life/blog. I like to write down my workouts for the week, meal plan, goals, work schedule, blog ideas, blog posts, and social media post ideas, etc. My planners are a great way to stay organized, stay focused on my savings goals and on top of my schedule when I have a lot going on.
5, Create a vision board.
Again, it’s a visual thing. The visual board is a central place for you to keep all of your goals and dreams. Seeing the pictures every day is a good reminder of what you are working towards and a great inspiration. I normally attend a vision board party every year where I make a physical vision board. Unfortunately, this year I wasn’t able to attend the party, so I created a digital vision board using the PicCollage app. I made the vision board my Wallpaper on my phone, so now I can see my goals every time I look at my phone.
6. Refresh your network.
The new year is a perfect reason to reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in a while, but have been meaning to reconnect with. And no I’m not talking about your exes. Take time to grab coffee with an old co-worker, mentor or friend. You never know how re-connecting with someone can help you accomplish your goals this year. Also, attend networking events for your industry or niche. This allows you the opportunity to connect and meet new people that you might be able to add to your network or tribe.
7. Get accountability partners.
And while you are adding to your network, look for an accountability partner. Accountability partners not only help you create goals, but they also make sure you accomplish them. They hold you accountable to the things that you want to accomplish or say that you will do. If you’re a procrastinator like me, then it’s good to have someone check on you to make sure you are accomplishing your tasks.
8. Make a yearly financial plan and monthly budget. And stick to it.
You can’t start the year off right without having a good financial plan and budget; especially if you went a little crazy during the holidays. Sit down and write out your bills and create a budget for savings and whatever financial goals you want to accomplish for the year. Sticking to a monthly budget will help stay on track.
This is also another way that keeping a planner will help you. You can mark bill due dates in your calendar and keep track of your expenditures every month.
9. Create an organizational system.
Organization, in some way or form, is key to staying afloat; for me anyways.
For Your Bills
Create a filing system, whether it’s digital or physical, for your bills. It makes them easier to find and pay them when necessary. Use a planner or calendar to mark when bills are due so you won’t forget.
In Your Office
Reorganize your office for the new year. Clear out the clutter and throw out unnecessary or old paperwork. Redecorate and donate items you aren’t using anymore. Less clutter helps get those creative juices flowing.
For Your Blog
Editorial calendars and blog planners are great to keep track of current, future and draft posts. I like to use Evernote to jot down ideas or save articles I find online that I might want to blog about later.
For Your Business
Go through files and folders and archive anything you don’t need. If you’re not a fan of throwing away paperwork, try scanning documents into a digital file that you can refer back to if needed. Now is also a great time to gather your financials from the previous year for tax preparation.
10. Create a healthy lifestyle.
If you really hate working out (I have a love/hate relationship with it), but still want to have a healthier lifestyle try cutting out sugar, especially sodas and limit your carbs. And if you can’t cut it out completely, limit your intake of sugar and carbs you intake. The MyFitnessPal app is a great tracker for all your food. It syncs with some fitness trackers and a lot of fitness apps too like Runkeeper, so it will give you calorie credits for any exercise you’ve completed for the day. Check out this article about ways to drink more water throughout your day.
11. Exercise. Get a workout partner.
Everyone’s favorite New Year’s resolution is to lose that extra weight they packed on last year, but it’s also probably the most frequently broken resolution. If you really want to exercise, set a reasonable goal for yourself like losing 5-10 pounds. Avoid setting a goal that you know will be hard to achieve. Setting goals that are too lofty often cause us to be upset and we lose motivation when we’re unable to reach that goal.
Making plans with a friend to work out together (aka an accountability/workout partner) is another way to stay motivated to crush your fitness goals. And if going to the gym isn’t your thing, there are some great apps for exercising outside or at home. I’ve used Daily Workouts, Workout Trainer, Blogilates and Nike Training Club. I believe most of these apps are available in the Play Store as well.
12. Don’t overextend yourself.
Have you heard the phrase “Jack of all trades, Master of None”? You can become the “Master of Nothing” when you overextend yourself. You are so busy trying to do a million different things and might end up doing some half-ass and never completing others. However, by setting realistic goals, you’re honest with yourself about what you can accomplish. This keeps you from adding too many things on your plate or overcommit because you have a clear understanding and view of your life and what you can take on. Let your yes mean yes, but also know that it’s okay to say no sometimes. Which leads me to
13. Schedule rest time.
I know people say “Sleep is for the weary” or “entrepreneurs never sleep”, but let’s be real. Burnout can happen. Just like that. Being a member of “Team No Sleep” isn’t healthy or smart. So take time to enjoy life, take in the fresh air and if social media is driving you crazy, take a break for a few or a few weeks, if necessary, take a social media break.
14. Have gratitude. Show gratitude.
Don’t forget to have gratitude for the little things in your life, like the roof over your head or the reliable car sitting outside Don’t spend your whole day wishing for better because there is someone in the world wishing they had exactly what you HAVE. Show gratitude for the people who care for you. The more you appreciate the little things, the less likely you will take for granted the bigger things. But it’s important to show appreciation for what we have. Even if it’s small. It makes a big deal in the long run.
15. Don’t give up.
This is the major key to having a successful year. Schedules will get busy and you will get tired or frustrated. You may even want to throw the towel in and give up. But, DON’T. Keep going. #dontstopGetitGetIt