How To Set Goals for the New Year You'll Actually Stick To, Because Anything Is Possible in 2015

Yay! You made it to the end of 2014 in one piece! Cheers to you! It's time to tie up all the loose ends and excitedly look forward to 2015. Of course, it’s also the perfect time to think about goals you want to accomplish in 2015. It may seem easy enough to make resolutions and think of aspirations for the coming year, especially if you’re a naturally ambitious person. But how do you make goals that you’ll actually stick to? How do you know what you really want? And after you know, how do you go about achieving these things?

Sometimes, a project or idea may seem so big and complex, you can experience something called analysis paralysis and over-think decisions so much that you ultimately do nothing. You might also set a goal and then space on it completely, only to reach the end of 2015 wondering where the whole year went. Whatever the case is, let’s just face the facts — we often promise ourselves that this year will be different in terms of keeping holiday resolutions and goals... and then forget about them by the time January 27th rolls around.

The steps below will help you set goals that you’ll actually stick to. Take a look, and get busy thinking about all the awesome things you WILL accomplish this year. Happy New Year!

1. Start Positively

The best goals (or anything in life for that matter) come from a positive, clear state of mind. Listen to your favorite album, sit in your favorite coffee shop, or go for a run to put yourself into a beneficial, constructive headspace.

2. Recap 2014

What were the things you succeeded at this past year? What kind of mistakes did you make? Are there any mistakes that you made over and over, expecting different results? Going over the highs and lows of 2014 will give you some perspective on things you might want to improve upon for the coming year (and remind of you of strengths you already have!).

3. Brainstorm

Though life is full of unexpected — and sometimes unwanted — surprises, we can still have a general idea of the direction we want our paths to take. Do you want to travel to every single one of Thailand’s 200-plus islands? Do you want to lobby on Capitol Hill for the addition of wine as the sixth food group in the pyramid? Define your idea of success, and have a general idea of what it takes to get there.

4. Pick a Theme

It may be easier to remember a broad goal as you go through each day of 2015, instead of each specific one. For example, it may be easier to remember “inner peace” the next time you feel like cursing at the annoying bus driver who always manages to shut the doors just as you're about to hop on. Woosah, my friend. Woosah.

5. Prioritize

Think of about 10 projects you want to accomplish this year. Then cut the list down to about three or four big goals. I personally wouldn’t suggest choosing more than five — there’s only so much you can focus on in a year. Be sure that the aspirations on your list are all things that YOU want to do. If you try to accomplish these things for someone else, like a boyfriend or your parents, your heart probably wont be in it.

6. Break It Down

Ever order burger at a restaurant and realize it's waaay bigger than you thought? Your initial thought is that you definitely can’t finish it, but then, bite by bite, it's gone! (And maybe someone helped you out with the fries, but whatever!) Setting big goals for yourself can often bring on a wave of intimidation. You look into the future and can’t figure out how you’re going to get where you want to be from where you are today. Each objective will feel much more manageable if you break it down into smaller, more attainable chunks. Start with what you can do right now. As you cross each smaller goal off of your list, move on to the next one.

7. Hold Yourself Accountable

Set deadlines — goals are nothing without them! Make sure that you set a reasonable timeframe for yourself to get each goal (big and small) done. Don’t beat yourself up if something takes longer than you expected — life happens. As long as you’re working hard to achieve your goals, nothing can hold you back.

8. Reward Yourself

Let's face it — sometimes grownup goals are absolutely no fun. Who really wants to pay bills earlier than they’re due each month? Or tackle that huge pile of laundry after you’ve been avoiding it for the past two months? Tying a goal (no matter how small) to a reward will make it infinitely more attractive. For example, if you hate having to shlep yourself to the grocery store on Mondays after a difficult, well, Monday, you may want to buy your favorite dessert from the bakery next door — at least you’ll have something to look forward to when you get home!

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