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5 Clever Hacks to Crush Your Goals in 2020

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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).

Bottom line?

These tips can work for you, no matter what you’re pushing for. Sound good? Then here we go!

crush your goals

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:

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.

woman walking

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.

So I decided to turn what was a freelancing side hustle into a full-time online business.

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.

For example:

  • 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.

I knew that I wanted to help other moms learn how to make money online, save money and be more productive. But I didn’t have a strategy beyond that.

(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.

crush your goals

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!

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  1. I love any type of visualisations and I do the password thing as well 🙂 I think I need to reset mine to a monthly goal rather than a yearly goal though, as a yearly goal can seem a bit out of reach if you’re starting from scratch. One step at a time. Thanks for sharing!

    • I switched to yearly goals after hitting my monthly goals but it took a while to build up to that. I still use yearly goals and it works really well at this point but I think you should do whatever works for you. Having the goal and visualizing it are the most important things!

    • That sounds great, Amy! I need to sit down and do the same with myself and my kids so we have a roadmap for what we want to achieve as a family in 2020.

  2. I love this! Your idea about having a manta is spot on. Every time I’ve had an obstacle in my life, I’ve made a mantra that has kept me focused. The password tip is genius! When I went through a terrible divorce almost a decade ago, I changed my email password to my mantra. Didn’t realize how much it helped me during that time until reading your post just now 🙂

    • Thanks, Starr! The mantra trick and the password trick have been so helpful in setting and reaching my goals. And it seems like such a small thing but it can be insanely powerful for helping you get motivated and stay on track.

  3. I love setting myself goals! I think that goal setting is so so important as it motivates you and helps you to keep going and don’t give up as you know exactly what you’re working for.
    I love this post so much and all the tips you shared. Especially that tip about picking 3 big goals. I sometimes get carried away and set myself lots of different goals and let’s be real I don’t have the time or energy to work on them all. So sticking to 3 sounds like a great plan xx

    • I love setting goals, too! I wasn’t always that way but I’ve learned that it’s so important to have something defined you want to work toward. The rule of 3 is a good one to follow for setting and crushing your goals in the New Year or any time!

  4. These are INCREDIBLE tips! Seriously! Loved reading this so much. I struggle with goals because I have OCD and am a perfectionist which paralyzes me. I’m afraid if I set goals and don’t achieve them that I’ll be even ore disappointed in myself. I love the “set three big ones”. I feel like I can do that! Aaaand your password idea is GENIUS! I do this with my iphone password to unlock my phone. My husband’s name is four letters so the code is his name so that I think about him every time I unlock my phone.
    Adriane Thompson recently posted…The Shocking Reason You Should Stop Buying Tech Toys For Your Kids According to ExpertsMy Profile

    • Thanks, Adriane! I have perfectionist tendencies as well but I learned from running a business that sometimes done is better than perfect. Don’t feel disappointed — just keep trying and eventually you’ll start to make the progress that you’re aiming for!

  5. I’m so excited for 2020 and I have like 20 goals in mind. But I really like your point on focusing on 3 big goals and crushing them! I will have to narrow it down and focus on what will move the needle. Love the post!!

    • That’s great that you’ve got so many goals for 2020! If you’re worried about narrowing down, take another look and see if your goals are connected. Sometimes I find that my smaller goals are really just stepping stones I need to take to reach my big goals!

  6. Hi Rebecca, this is such a great post about truly simple and practical ways to set and achieve goals. Sometimes, you come across such overcomplicated ways to slay goals when simplifying the process is so much better. And bite-sized goals are a lot easier to achieve than big grand ones.

    Again, great post!


    • Thanks, Corinne! I agree, it’s better to keep it simple instead of overcomplicating things. The less you have to do to reach your goal, the more effective it ends up being!

  7. I love the idea of having a mantra! Something that you can put on repeat in your brain to help when your motivation may be lagging!

    • It’s so powerful, you wouldn’t believe it! I use mantras for everything, not just goal-setting, and it’s like when you speak to the universe, the universe really does listen.

  8. So happy I came across this post. I’ve been trying to figure out what my goals for 2020 will be and you’ve given some great advice that I”m excited to follow! I try to help people create SMART goals in my job as a diabetes nurse educator — it’s frustrating how many people tell me they’re going to “eat better’ without realizing that they need to have a specific plan in order to actually make that work. I LOVE the password idea (especially because I have the hardest time trying to come up with new passwords, haha). I’m also now trying to come up with a mantra to use 🙂

    • Thanks, Cassandra! The password trick is so helpful and it really does work — so does having a goals mantra. Good luck in chasing your big goals in 2020!

    • Try it, it works! I’ve used that tactic to grow my income every year for the past five years. Sounds simple but it’s a great way to motivate yourself to crush your goals!

  9. Hello Rebecca,

    This post really resonate with me. it has some of the things that I have done and some that are new to me.

    I remember that I used my last years’s goal as the password to my work email address. This trick actually works and I believed that is a big part of my success last year.

    I use the password many times each day because it is the password to my work PC, email and everything related to the company. That just pushed the goal to memory and subconscious all the time and that made me remember to work and achieve that goal.

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