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Are you ready to crush your goals for 2020?
The only thing I love more than setting goals is achieving them.
I wasn’t always a goal-setter, though. I only really got into the goal-setting habit a few years ago when I started building my freelance writing business as a single parent.
Having goals gave me direction and helped me get serious about growing my business and improving my finances.
And with a new year getting underway, it’s a great time to think about what you want to achieve. Once you’ve nailed down your goals for the year, you can dig in and get to work!
Sounds easy enough, right? There’s just one problem — setting goals and reaching them are two different things.
But I don’t want you to let another year go by without taking the next step forward to becoming a happier, healthier, more productive, richer mom — or whatever it is you want to achieve. Ain’t nobody got time for that, right?
So I’m sharing what I’ve learned about goal-setting to help you make 2020 your best year ever!
5 Genius Tips to Crush Your Goals in the New Year
Before I dive into my favorite tricks you can use to crush your goals, let me offer a little disclaimer.
From my own experience, I can tell you that these tips can work for big goals and small ones of all kinds.
I’ve used them to:
- Seriously scale up my freelance writing business, including doubling my income three years running.
- Pay off all of my debt (except my mortgage).
- Save over half of my income for the past several years.
- Buy a house!
- Lose weight (and commit to healthier habits).
These tips can work for you, no matter what you’re pushing for. Sound good? Then here we go!
1. Let your instincts lead you
Do you listen to your gut some of the time, all of the time, never?
Trusting your instincts can save you in a life-threatening situation (I know this from personal experience in college). But it can also save you when you’re feeling stuck in a rut.
Before you can crush your goals, you need to know what you really want.
Anne Sexton once said, “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” And that’s great advice for figuring out what your goals are going to be for the New Year.
So if you don’t know the answer, do some brainstorming. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and start making a big list of things that you’ve been putting off, things you want to do, books you want to read, places you want to go.
Get the big picture, then go back and look for the things that speak to you most. And if you still need a little help, take the “What Should Your Goals Be?” quiz from Nadalie at It’s All You Boo.
2. Limit yourself to three big goals
I really love setting goals and dreaming big. But what I found out is that if you want to crush your goals, you can’t have too many of them.
Three is kind of the perfect number for setting big goals. It’s not too few so you won’t feel like you’re accomplishing nothing. And it’s not too many, so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
So go back to your big brainstorm list of goals from earlier and find three big things you can focus on for the next 12 months.
I like to pick goals by category. So for example, one of my goals is always business-related, like making a certain amount of money or gaining a certain number of new clients.
Another goal is usually financial, like paying off the last of my student loans (done in 2019!) or saving a certain amount.
And the third goal is usually a personal development goal, like reading X number of books or making self-care more of a priority.
You can break your goals up any way you like. The key is to pick goals that are meaningful to you and will help you finish the year ahead of where you started!
And make them S.M.A.R.T goals:
- Make sure the goals you’re setting are specific and measurable.
- Outline the actionable steps you need to take to reach them.
- Review your goals to make sure they’re realistic.
- Set a time frame for reaching your goals.
This is a big part of the secret sauce formula to crush your goals in the New Year. It’s a lot easier to hit your goals when you have a clear plan to follow.
Setting vague goals with no plan has never worked for me. It’s why I failed at blogging the first time. Needless to say, I’ve gotten a lot better at setting blog-related goals since then.
And most importantly, embrace your goals completely.
3. Break your goals down by quarter
Here’s the thing about setting goals for the year. It’s easy to lose track of where you are.
So what works better is breaking your big three goals down by quarter. You set smaller milestones to help you reach your bigger goal.
So let’s say you want to save $12,000 in an emergency fund for the year. That works out to $3,000 you need to save each quarter.
Now your goal isn’t so big and scary, right? The next step is figuring out what you need to do each quarter to hit that number.
So for example, say you get a $1,000 tax refund in the first quarter. You can bank that toward your goal, leaving you $2,000 you need to save.
From there, you can figure out ways to save that money.
Going over your budget is the first step but you could also try ways to make money. For example, you could:
- Open an Etsy shop and sell handmade crafts
- Take surveys in your spare time
- Earn cash back when you shop with Rakuten or Ibotta
- Learn how to be a freelance writer and get paid to write
- Declutter your home and sell your extra stuff on Decluttr
- Start a mom blog of your own!
These are all small things you can do that could add up to big savings. And this strategy can work just as well for any other goal, whether it’s finally starting that home business you’ve been dreaming of or just losing some of the weight you gained by indulging in holiday recipes.
4. Develop a mantra to crush your goals
So right now you’re probably having one of three reactions.
You’re either thinking yes, I love mantras!
Or, mantras are for yogis and spiritualists, which is totally NOT me.
Then there’s the third option: What’s a mantra and how does that help me with setting goals?
Let me just tell you what a mantra is first if you don’t know. It’s an easy-to-remember phrase or a slogan that you repeat to yourself.
Mantras are usually associated with meditation, prayer or yoga. But you don’t have to do any of those things to make a mantra work for you.
Your mantra is your self-talk. It helps you get your mind focused on a single thought.
But how can a mantra help you crush your goals?
Simple. Having a mantra helps you stay focused on your goal.
And when you’re able to stay focused, it suddenly becomes so much easier to do the things you need to do to make your goal happen.
It also helps you keep your “why” in sight.
Your “why” is your reason for pursuing your goal in the first place.
How mantras helped me build a six-figure freelancing business
When I first became a single mom, my biggest fear was not being able to take care of my kids financially.
I knew that I was just not cut out for working a regular 9 to 5 job again after being a SAHM. And I wasn’t cut out for being broke, either.
But I didn’t want growing my business to be the only thing I ever did.
I still needed to be there for my kids. And in those early days, it was exhausting.
So I thought about it — what was really my goal?
And the same phrase kept coming back to me: Earn more, work less.
It was such a simple thought but once I got it into my head, I couldn’t let it go.
From that point on, I knew that my ultimate goal was to grow my income while shrinking the amount of time I spent working in and on my business.
Earn more, work less became my mantra and it dictated the actions I took.
- More of my time started going to pitching clients in a higher pay range.
- I gradually started increasing my rates and became more confident about turning down lower-paying work.
- I worked on connecting with editors and content marketing managers at the brands I wanted to work for.
- And finally, I committed to becoming the kind of writer that editors want to work with to create long-term (and lucrative) relationships.
And all the time, I kept repeating my mantra on a loop in my head.
I said it to myself every night before I went to bed and every morning when I woke up.
When a client was making me crazy or I didn’t land the gig I wanted, I repeated it.
I said it even more often when things were going well. I wanted to make sure that the universe was hearing what I was putting out there.
And…I really believe that it worked.
I’m five years into freelancing full-time and I’ve gone from working 40+ hours a week to around 25. I’ve increased my income 10 times over since my first full year of becoming my own boss.
If you’re doubting whether a mantra can help you crush your goals, my best advice is this: Just try it.
Use it as a way to challenge yourself and see what you’re capable of.
How to choose a mantra to crush your goals
Creating a personal mantra around your goals is a pretty easy process. It involves three steps:
- Get clear on your ultimate goal.
- Pick a simple phrase that reflects your goal.
- Put it on repeat.
The key is to pick a mantra that sums up exactly what your goal is.
For example, I’d been thinking about starting a blog for over a year before I actually did it.
(P.S. If you’re going to blog and turn it into a business, you need a strategy. That’s one of the most important lessons I learned as a new blogger.)
Anyway, I struggled for the first couple of months to figure out what I was doing with my blog.
But eventually, I realized what blogging meant to me and why I want to do it.
I love freelancing but the kind of writing I do (stories about finance and business) feels like work a lot of the time. The writing I do on my blog is more creative.
I enjoy writing the stuff I publish here, even if no one’s reading it. Because unlike freelancing, it doesn’t feel like a job.
So, my mantra for blogging reflects my goal: Do work that doesn’t feel like work.
Of course, I’d love to turn this blog into a profitable business, instead of an unpaid side hustle.
But if that happens, I still want to approach blogging every day with the same enthusiasm that I do now when I’m not making a dime.
As you think about your mantra, spend some time thinking about your “why”.
Then shape your mantra to reflect your purpose and the ultimate destination you want to reach.
5. Change your passwords
The final tip I’ve got for you to help you crush your goals might seem a little weird but believe me, it works!
Are you ready?
Here it is:
Change the passwords to your online accounts to reflect your goal.
Here’s what I mean by that.
Say your goal is to lose 20 pounds in the New Year. You could change your password to your email account or bank account to a phrase that sums up your goal, like lose20in2020.
That way, every time you log in and you have to punch in your password, you’re getting a reminder of your goal.
Sounds a little crazy right? But this totally works.
When I came up with my mantra of earning more and working less, I chose a specific monthly income goal I wanted to hit. I changed all my passwords to include the dollar amount I was aiming for.
Within six months, I hit that goal. So I doubled it and changed up all my passwords again.
Then I hit my monthly income goal again. So I increased my goal, this time to making $100,000 a year, and updated my passwords.
After I hit the $100k mark, I increased my goal and changed my passwords yet again. I’ve since passed that goal and now I have a brand-new income goal I’m working towards.
And guess what? I’m using my password to keep it firmly in sight.
How this small change can help you completely crush your goals
Changing your passwords to reflect your goals works because it’s a mental reminder of what you’re chasing after.
Think of it as a form of visualization.
The more times you tell yourself you’re going to lose those 20 pounds or buy a house or make $100,000, the more you begin to believe it.
Once you believe it, it’s just a short step to making it happen.
I didn’t invent this technique; I first read about it in a Medium article forever ago. But it changed the way I approach goal-setting.
And it can change the way you approach your goals too if you’re willing to give it a shot.
What Are You Doing to Crush Your Goals in 2020?
I’ve shared my best tips for being a goal-slaying mama, now over to you!
Do you have your own secret hack or tip for achieving your goals?
Head to the comments and tell me about it, then please pin and share this post if it helped you!
And of course, grab your FREE goal-setting worksheets to help you kick off the New Year!