“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
– Ernest Hemmingway
We’re three weeks away from the new year. That means everyone is setting goals.
In less than a month the gym will be packed with new members. The health section of the grocery store will be stripped bare. Every copy of every book about entrepreneurship will be absent from the library. Ten trillion new bloggers will try and leave comment on this site.
Then the second week of January will roll around. The gym will become desolate. People will denounce vegetables and go back to eating Velveeta cheese. The library books will go back to collecting dust. All the new blogs will have vanished. It will be like nothing ever changed.
According to a Forbes article I read, only 8% of people ever achieve their New Year’s resolution. I’m surprised its even that high.
While several of my goals ended up changing over the course of 2013, I did manage to meet almost all of them. Here are three simple steps for goal setting that helped me immensely:
1. Start early.
Next week is when I’ll be starting on my New Year’s resolutions. Making the first of the year your start date is a cliche. Additionally, starting early will put you in an environment with winners. If you go to the gym on December 23rd you’ll be surrounded by people who work out. If you go on January 1st you’ll be surrounded by chubby dorks who’ll complain about how much they hate exercise.
2. Start small.
While I might be biased, I’d recommend having a specific monthly goal. Start off with something minor and make each month build upon it. My two major goals this year were to make money online and to get into better shape. Every month I did something that somehow played into both of these goals. If you gradually raise your expectations, you’ll stay with your goal longer. In January I wanted to simply make one dollar from Amazon Affiliates. The next month I set my goal at making $10 from Amazon. Small changes are the easiest.
3. Don’t go out on New Year’s Eve.
I’ve always thought it was stupid that people will prattle on about how their yearly goal is to “save more money” and then they’ll go out and blow an entire paycheck on New Year’s Eve. Last year I spent the night writing blog posts and reading Chess Story. You don’t have to do anything that lame, but I’d suggest using the time to either hang out with some good friends or work towards your new goals.
Those are my suggestions for setting goals. Additionally, I’d recommend that you read Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. I read both of these early in the year and credit them for providing me with a lot of motivation.