Goal setting for the New Year: The Upside of Looking Back to Move Forward

Revised by Allison West; originally posted by Dylan Meister
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"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."

Winston Churchill

Each New Year presents a moment to pause and reflect on milestones and accomplishments of the past 12 months, and to review what we’d like to improve.

Fresh starts are invigorating. It feels good to set goals for the new year. If you set yearly goals, you’ve probably learned that it’s relatively easy to be motivated in January and February. You may start a new diet, stop smoking or join a gym. You're into it, going strong.

But then, something happens and you stop. It’s hard to stay motivated and strong when the weather’s bad, you have the flu, or you experience a change in job or your personal life.

How do you stay strong when the will is weak?

Make a plan and set goals

If you get a rush trying new things and achieving a few goals along the way, it helps to have some type of plan as you move forward. Setting goals or making resolutions always seems to be part of the process at this time of year.

Maybe it all just seems overwhelming. Not sure where to start? Maybe looking back at the past year will help you set a new path going forward into the new.

Review the past to improve

If you’re thinking about what goals for this year, sometimes it helps to honestly assess what you did well – and not so well—over the past year.

If you want some new tips on how to start, consider these questions:

  • Did I take care of myself physically and mentally?
  • Was I truly grateful for the things in my life?
  • Did I tell the important people in my life how I feel about them?
  • Did I work hard professionally and do what I said I would do?
  • Did I apologize to people when it was necessary?
  • Did I have a helpful, positive attitude at work?
  • Did I have fun?
  • Did I enjoy time outdoors with my pets, my kids, my family?
  • Did I practice living in and enjoying the moment?
  • Did I experience new food, cultures, people or places?
  • Do I reach out to people and make plans to spend quality time with friends?
  • How did I enrich my life? Hobbies, art, travel?
  • Did I react well under stress?
  • Did I work through the hard times with grit and grace?

"Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach."

Tony Robbins

Out with the old, in with the new

I’ve found that doing this “personal inventory” of the past year really brings clarity to what I’d like to focus on for the new one.

So much has already been written about how to set goals for the new year. Sometimes all that advice just seems so overwhelming you want to pitch it all out the window.

For most people who want to know how to achieve a goal successfully, starting with a few simple steps and building from there is a much more do-able approach.

Here are a few tips about how to do that.

Set realistic goals

Improvement and change starts with deciding exactly what it is that you want to accomplish. Want to de-clutter your home office and create a filing system you'll actually use? Toss the mountains of old clothes? Finally, organize the garage? Pick projects that have a defined endpoint and you'll be more likely to follow through. Plus small goals are a great boost to your overall confidence.

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When you have a more complicated goal that will take work overtime -- like losing 50 pounds -- start with a small daily goal and track your progress. Small, sensible steps keep us motivated and moving forward. A small goal for this example may be “incorporate more movement into my days.” Park in the back of the parking lot when you go out; take the steps at work or walk the dog. You get the idea.

Write it down

Writing your goals on paper makes them real. It gives them weight and meaning. Put all of your ideas and dreams together on a page, then take a look and see what ones you really care about. These are the ones you’ll be more likely to do.

Putting goals on paper lets you divide them into short and long-term projects and prioritize the ones that are most important.

Remember – you haven’t failed if you haven’t reached a goal. As Bruce Lee said, a goal “often serves as something to aim at.” Just so.

Plan and organize for big yearly goals

Once you've narrowed down your goals list, you'll have to put together a plan for getting them done. This is especially true for the bigger projects. By spending time planning, you can save time and extra effort in the long run.

Follow these steps for any project or goal that may take longer than a couple of hours:

  • Give your project a name and decide when you’d like to finish it.. Determining your objectives up front will let you know when you can check it off your list.
  • Write down all of the steps that you need to take to get there. Include the resources you'll need for each of these steps.
  • Set a deadline for each major step, working backwards from whenever you want to finish the project. Take into account unexpected delays and interruptions when making your timeline.

Count the small wins.

Nothing boosts motivation and gives you a sense of accomplishment like putting a checkmark next to an accomplished goal. One of the great things about mapping out each step of a goal is that it gives you more things to cross off as you complete them.

Have you ever noticed how just accomplishing three small things each day can make you feel better? Write them down and check them off. Not only will it help you stay positive, it helps keep you on track for accomplishing your bigger picture goal.

Track your progress with an organized binder

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How you set and track yearly goals is a matter of personal preference. A UniKeep three-ring binder has plenty of room to store your documents and plans, jot down daily thoughts, ideas and quotes and to store and organize anything else you find motivating and inspiring.

This binder is a fully-enclosed, case style binder with poly rings that stores and organizes your documents and projects with archival-safe protection. It’s made with clear polypropylene overlay makes customization and repurposing a breeze, so you can use it again and again.

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Insert your own cover design to customize a yearly goals binder.

Make a UniKeep binder uniquely yours

The best thing about this binder? It functions as a completely customizable planning, identification, and storage system. Pair a UniKeep binder with UniKeep sheet protectors, pocketed pages and divider tabs and you have a great organizational tool. You can customize it further by inserting your own cover design.

Choose your binder type– regular, mini or extra capacity?

Decide which binder size is right for you. You have a few choices here -- select a binder with poly or metal rings. If you want just an enclosed case for storing your items, you can select a ringless option, too.

Regular size binder - outside dimensions are 11.75” x 10.5” x 1.5”

Mini binders: available in one size: 7”w x 9.43”h x 1.25” d

  • Also designated by A5 binders, compact binders and small binders on www.unikeep.com

See how the UniKeep Mini Binder works here:

How to organize a goals binder

UniKeep accessory items can help you categorize all your new plans, photos and ideas. All UniKeep sheet protectors, divider pages and binder pockets made with a protective, acid-free, 100% recyclable polypropylene so you don’t have to worry about your contents turning yellow or fading.

Choose binder accessories to organize

Organizing a goal planning binder is a lot easier with the right case binder accessories.

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  • Color-coded sheet protectors take your organization up another notch with easy to see colored edges. Use them to further organize each section - small goals, large goals and steps for each - of your yearly planning binder.

 

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  • Tabbed dividers are great for easy categorization - you may have food, exercise social, financial and professional categories.

 

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Ready to get started?

Feeling energized about the New Year? Take a deep breath and jump right in! Devise a plan for your new year’s goals and track your progress. The easiest way to have success is to know where you're going and to recognize your small victories in getting there. It's all about progress.

Be kind to yourself, be grateful and have fun on your journey through 2020.

About UniKeep

If you have a creative project or hobby, look to UniKeep for an extra creative edge or organization solution. We have a case binder for whatever you collect, play or enjoy. Our binders and products are available in a full line of styles and sizes, for everything from photos, crafts, video games and recipes to wallets for CDs and DVDs.

www.unikeep.com         Call 800-829-8117