After the beer is gulped, the shots downed, and the champagne swigged on New Year’s Eve, you wake up the next day with a killer hangover and a long list of personal goals. This time, you tell yourself, you plan to keep those goals. Then, as the hangover subsides, each goal suddenly feels less important or obtainable, slipping from your grasp like so many resolutions have before.
The question then arises: how do you achieve your goals in 2018, even after the brutal hangover has gone away? Ultimately, the power is in your hands, but that won’t stop us from dispensing a few solid pointers. Whether it’s fitness or finance related, we’ve got it covered. Here’s how you can achieve your goals in 2018.
This story is part of our Better You series.
Goals to Aim For
Naturally, in order to achieve your goals, you must first know which goals to achieve. Truthfully, there’s never a shortage of things that one can improve upon. For the sake of economy, here’s a list of potential goals to strive for: save more money, drink less, be more present (i.e. in the moment), spend more time with friends and family, exercise more, stretch more, lose weight, sleep better, meditate, participate in a sporting event (marathon, football league, etc), travel more, reduce your carbon footprint.
How to Set Achievable Goals
Providing yourself with a list of personal goals is the easy part–actualising those goals is the hard part. That’s where some tried and true methodology comes into play. For starters, you should focus on goals that are both applicable and attainable. For instance, if you only have 1-2 drinks a week, then you shouldn’t worry about drinking less. On the other hand, if you’re tossing down a six pack on the daily, then reduced alcohol consumption should definitely be in the cards.
Furthermore, it’s important to stay motivated. Doing that can vary from person to person. One way to stay motivated is to tell some close friends about your personal goals, and even ask them to get on your case if you start to fall behind. Another surefire way to achieve your goals is to make each goal finite or quantifiable. In other words, don’t just tell yourself that you’re going to lose weight, set an exact weight to strive for and don’t stop until you’ve reached it. As you will often find, your body and mind adapts in the process, meaning it becomes easier to move on to the next finite goal once the first one is obtained.
When all else fails, use the SMART system. It breaks down as follows: Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound. As you can see, the SMART system reinforces the notion that you should set personally relevant goals and give yourself either hard deadlines or finite milestones.
How To Stay on Track With Your Goals
Okay, so you’ve now committed yourself to reaching a specific goal or number of goals. Here comes the really hard part: sticking with your goal for weeks and months at a time. To do that, you need to make an action plan. That means sitting down and formulating exactly what you’re going to do every single day in order to achieve your goal. Don’t be afraid to get specific. For example, don’t just say you’re going to hit the gym. Instead, map out every exercise you’re going to do once there.
Whether your goals are physical, fiscal or emotional, you can break your routine down by applicable numbers: minutes, hours, calories, pounds, dollar amounts. Set daily benchmarks for yourself and don’t end your day until those benchmarks are achieved. Along similar lines, you should track your progress using a calendar or notepad. By keeping a physical record, both the commitment and the goal itself become far more tangible. And remember, the further you go, the more you adapt. One day your goals will simply become your routines, and you won’t need to track them with the same level of diligence.
Use Goal Setting Apps and Tools
If using paper and pen sounds too antiquated, you’re in luck because tracking your progress has never been easier. We’re speaking, of course, about the slew of apps out there that will help you reach virtually any goal you can think of. Here’s a breakdown of the best apps to help you achieve your goals in 2018:
- Don’t Break the Chain – Based on a technique allegedly employed by Jerry Seinfeld himself, Don’t Break the Chain asks that you stick with your goal every single day, and track your progress on a provided calendar. Get it here
- Chains.CC – Another app that helps ensure you “don’t break the chain” so that you might achieve your goals the Seinfeld way. Get it here
- Strides – Think of Strides as a tracking dashboard that accommodates any type of goal you can throw its way. Get it here
- Way of Life – This app is a tracking dashboard, journal and life coach rolled into one, which helps you realise your personal habits and patterns so you can adjust accordingly. Get it here
- GoalsOnTrack – For all the overachievers out there, GoalsOnTrack takes the SMART system to comprehensive and organised extremes. Get it here
- Coach.me – When it comes to achieving goals, no one would argue with an app that tracks your habits, helps you set milestones, and congratulates you when you do. Get it here
- ATracker – As easy to set up as it is to use, ATracker keeps pace with your data by way of approachable charts and graphs, which can be shared on your social media pages if you so desire. Get it here
- Bvddy – Playing sports and exercising with others is an ideal way to achieve your fitness goals, and the Bvddy app lets you in on all the athletic action in your area. Get in here
- 22 Push Ups – Sometimes a fitness regimen can be as simple as 22 push ups a day, and this app counts those push ups down for you, all while raising awareness for post traumatic stress disorder. Get it here
- Stacked – Here’s an efficient app made just for aspiring (or seasoned) bodybuilders–it’s customisable and comprehensive alike. Get it here
- Rove – More than an app, Rove is a social network connecting runners and fitness freaks from all walks of life, while throwing some healthy competition into the mix. Get it here
- Strava – Another popular app that dutifully tracks your running and cycling accomplishments while connecting you with like-minded individuals. Get it here
- FitnessAR – Compatible with Strava, FitnessAR renders a 3D map out of your most recent run or cycle, allowing you to visualise your journey like never before.
- Zones for Training – Whether you’re running, skiing, biking or performing any other fitness regimen, Zones for Training tracks it all and breaks it down using a variety of metrics. Get it here
- SleepCycle – Not only does this app monitor and analyse your sleeping habits with impeccable precision, it can wake you up at optimal times so you feel the most refreshed for the day. Get it here
- Headspace – If your goal is to achieve a more balanced state of mind in 2018, look no further than the Headspeace app, which provides meditation sessions and SOS exercises. Get it here
- Moodnotes – True to its name, Moodnotes is a personal journal allowing you to monitor your moods throughout the day so that you might break from the ones you least desire. Get it here
- Hopper – Travelling more is one goal we can all get behind, and Hopper gives you best flight times and fares. Get it here
- Duolingo – There’s no harm whatsoever in learning to speak a new language, and for that Duolingo is your guide. Get it here
- Lark Health – A tremendous resource, the highly acclaimed Lark Health app helps people with chronic illnesses manage their symptoms, as well as find affordable healthcare. Get it here
- Spacer – An uncluttered life is a happy life, and Spacer allows you to locate and obtain the nearest storage units. Get it here
- Madpaws – Madpaws helps find a sitter for your pet, so that you can go out and enjoy yourself, untethered. Get it here
- Car Next Door – Reducing your carbon footprint is a no-brainer resolution for 2018, and Car Next Door – a ride-sharing service that lets you borrow real people’s cars for trips and tasks–is here to heed the call. Get it here
- Free Butt Out – Kick your cigarette addiction to the curb by downloading this app, which not only helps you quit, but shows you how much healthier you’re getting as a result. Get it here
- Bumble – Meet Bumble, your new social network, and may 2018 be the year you find true love and companionship. Get it here
This story is part of our Better You series.