A new year is the most common time to set new goals for yourself and with good reason. A new year is a fresh start. It’s a clean slate where you can resolve to improve yourself in areas that you feel are lacking. Every year, though, over 80% of people fail to meet those goals and often feel even worse for it. Why is that? It’s because there’s a process for goal setting. Not having a process means that you’re relying on willpower alone, and most of us just don’t have it. The first time I ever achieved a goal that I set for myself was only after learning how to make a plan for it and it made all the difference.

Here are what are essentially the 5 golden rules you can use to give yourself the best chance at succeeding in your goal or resolution in 2019.

Set Specific Goals

Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don’t provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.

Set Measurable Goals

Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as “To reduce expenses” how will you know when you have been successful? In one month’s time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years’ time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something and that’s what will keep you going in this.

Set Attainable Goals

Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence. However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn’t have to work hard for can be anticlimactic at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to “raise the bar” and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you’ll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you’ll fritter your time – and your life – away.

Set Time-Bound Goals

Your goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.

In addition to these, here are personal tips from others who have successfully set and conquered their goals in the past.

Allison Rodrigues, Northside resident and local real estate broker says to always get back up after a setback. “There will be bumps in the road, but you can’t lose your focus of the goal. When hit with a setback, the most important thing is to get back up and reassess. Keep moving. The goal is still there. Do you need to alter your plan a little? No big deal, but do it while applying the same rules you started with.”

Orange Park resident Lindsey Houston has always worked out, but she had a specific goal to lose 20 pounds. She discovered that watching videos of other people hyped up while working out gave her that needed nudge to get into the gym on days that she didn’t feel like going.  

Murray Hill resident Jessica Fields advises that part of goal setting should include talking to people who have experience and expertise in the field of your interest. She further elaborates, “I research the hell out of everything. When I decide that I might want to do something, I try to find out as much as possible about it before I make the decision. Invariably, that means that I have to talk to someone who is familiar with the terrain. What I’ve found is that the act of talking about whatever it is with someone who is knowledgeable provides the push that I need to take action.”

Shavone Steele, Riverside resident and Jane Of All Trades says that it’s imperative to break a large goal down into smaller pieces that are more easily accomplished. She specifically remembers how important this was when she was involved in writing a book and having it published. After coming up with the concept with her team, she dissected the whole project into over 100 smaller steps, and gave each one a deadline. This helped her successfully reach her goal in about 2 years.

St. Johns resident Andrew Cady (AKA Epic Mortgage Guy) recommends measuring your progress weekly, if not daily, and adjusting often. He went on to say that this advice works out well for both business and personal goals and that too people set goals then go on autopilot.