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Use This New Year’s Goal Setting Strategy For Success

The new year is the perfect time for a fresh start. By using this goal-setting strategy, you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible this year:

1. Treat the World as Your Personal Shopping Cart

Take time to genuinely think about what you want out of life this year, or further into the future. Don’t limit yourself to what you think is realistic; simply envision what you want your life to look like and write down your heart’s desires. For example, maybe you want to graduate college without the stress of student debt. Or, you want to be president of your business fraternity. Or, maybe you want to wake up every morning feeling motivated to start your day. Don’t be afraid to write something down because you’re worried you’ll never be able to attain it; you can do so much more than you’ve ever thought possible.

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2. Separate Your List Into Goal Categories

Split related items in your shopping cart into categories that represent the areas you want to grow or succeed in this year. Graduating without student debt is a financial goal. Becoming president of your business fraternity is an academic or leadership goal. Waking up motivated is a mental health goal. My 2021 goals list is split into the following areas: academic, leadership, career, financial, physical health, mental health, spiritual and relationship goals. These categories have developed over time; before the pandemic, I didn’t have a separate category for mental health. However, as events arise in your life, you can adapt your goal categories to meet your individual needs.

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3. Create Action Items That Will Help You to Successfully Meet Your Goals

Under each item on your list, write specific tasks that will lead you to your goal. Breaking up your large goals into smaller tasks will make them seem more manageable and help you arrive at your goal. If your goal is waking up every morning feeling motivated to start your day, research personal inspiration and evaluate your current morning routine. Based on your research, determine how you can alter your personal behavior so that you're motivated to get out of bed in the morning. If you currently start your days on social media, it may be difficult to get off your phone and feel persuaded to work. However, if you change your morning routine so that you're waking up to 10 minutes of meditation, you may notice a change in your mindset that will lead to greater motivation in starting your work for the day.

4. Implement and Monitor Your Goals

Determine a new routine that is both realistic and prioritizes your written goals by providing time for your action items. If you're finding it difficult to change more than one item in your routine at the same time, choose one goal to focus on. After consistently implementing that goal, update your routine to include another goal. Monitor your progress by reviewing your goals list periodically. Use that time to reevaluate your shopping cart; if your personal situation has changed, some goals might not apply any longer and can be updated or removed to help you meet your new goals. Lastly, when you meet one of your goals, celebrate!

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Andrea Wilcox

Illinois '22

I'm a junior at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Actuarial Science and Communication. In my free time, I like to drink tea, draw and write.
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