By Sunnie Stobbe

At the beginning of every year, most people make New Year’s Resolutions. Many of us set grandiose and often unattainable goals that are difficult to achieve. Here are some strategies to deepen your goal setting for 2019.

Start with the end in mind. Visualize where you want to be in three months, six months, and a year. There are several resources and tools that can help you imagine the future. For example, you could create a vision board. Select a mélange of images to display that represent the items, events, or accomplishments you desire. Seeing these images every day keeps them fresh in your mind and is a cue to focus on what matters most to you. Another tool that can help you visualize is journaling. You can use a simple blank notebook to jot down your thoughts, or a journal that offers prompts and categories to explore your goals in more detail. Whatever tool you choose, try to keep an open mind and allow to tool to work for you.

Set goals with purpose. When setting goals, consider the S.M.A.R.T. method to set goals that are specific, measureable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, you may want to set aside some personal time each morning before the hustle of the day begins. This time could be used for meditation, journaling, gratitude reflection personal development and more. Or you may want to set goals for exercise or healthy eating. Whatever your focus, the key is to be consistent and follow the S.M.A.R.T. criteria.

Start small. Setting short-term goals will help you achieve larger goals in the future. Start with goals you want to accomplish consistently every day. Once you have accomplished the short-term goals, you can look further out to six months or even 12. How can you break down what you have visualized into more manageable steps? Set benchmarks and assign timeframes to achieve each one. It has been said that when eating an elephant, just take one bite at a time. Start with smaller steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Cultivate a positive mindset. Success starts with believing you can achieve what you have set out to accomplish. There is a saying, “What you focus on grows.” If we focus on negativity, it will take over our conscious and subconscious. If we can focus on the positive, it will spill over into all aspects of our lives including work and home, interactions with others, as well as our feelings and opinions about our worth and our ability to do hard things. It is much more constructive to focus on accomplishing something rather than focusing on what you don’t have and can’t do. One way to focus on positivity is by using positive affirmations. If you need to, write down a list of affirmations you can say every morning to start off each day in a constructive way. There are studies showing that positive affirmations can actually “reprogram” our brains. This can have lasting and pervasive effects on how we view ourselves and on our perception of the world.

Try using one or even all four of these tactics when setting your resolutions, and see what a difference it makes.