How to Take the First Steps to Achieving Your New Year’s Goals

The first step to achieving your New Year’s goals and resolutions is always the hardest.

New Year’s resolutions and goals are all about making substantial changes to your life to make them better. That could mean improving your health and wellness by changing the way you eat or how often you exercise. With all the talk of climate change, you might want to limit your impact on the environment by starting a compost pile, making your own household cleaners or installing LED light bulbs in all of the rooms of your home. This could even be the year that you commit to taking better care of your home, scheduling routine gutter cleaning and power washing services.

Whatever you decide to focus on, it always seems to be the first steps that trip people up. They set lofty goals for themselves, but don’t actually take the time to think about how to achieve those goals. Changing your lifestyle doesn’t just happen overnight, and if you want to make those changes stick, then you really have to think about how you’ll change your behaviors and how those changes will stick when the going gets tough. In the case of exercising more, for example, how will you handle yourself on those days when you couldn’t bear to pull yourself out of bed?

The best way to start achieving those New Year’s goals and resolutions is to lay out a plan at the beginning to give yourself all the support you could possibly need. It’s a brand-new year, so make it a good one. Here’s how to get started on the first steps of your New Year’s resolution.

Choosing and defining a New Year’s resolution

Despite what you may think, “committing to better home maintenance and repair” isn’t really much of a resolution or goal. For one thing, it’s too general and doesn’t actually say what you intend to do or set parameters for yourself. Committing to better home maintenance could be anything from vacuuming once a week to cleaning out the attic, but you would never know those were part of your goals if your only thought is to just “commit” to better home maintenance and repair.

To be clear, you can still set that goal, but you need to define it. You need to tell yourself exactly what constitutes as committing to better home maintenance and repair” and what achieving that goal will actually look like. Do you want to hire a gutter cleaning service to take care of your gutters? Do you want to replace a few windows in your home with energy-efficient ones? Do you want to spruce up your home’s curb appeal by planting flowers in the front yard or beautify the backyard?

Don’t just think about these goals. Write them down.Here are a few tips for writing out New Year’s goals.

  • Start big then narrow down. Choose your general goal first — committing to better home maintenance, exercising more, eating well — then break it down into specific, narrow goals such as scheduling regular gutter cleanings.
  • Choose three or four narrow goals. You should have at least three definite goals within your larger goal. These can be accomplished at any point during the year.
  • Be direct with your narrow goals. Later when you determine if you achieved them, you should be able to answer with a definite yes or no, so don’t complicate them.
  • Consider your limits. Sure, you may want to hit the gym five days a week and cut out all processed foods, but is that doable with your life right now? The best way to achieve your New Year’s resolution is to strike the balance between making a meaningful change and being realistic. 

Writing down your goals makes them feel more concrete. In a way, they seem more real and more defined when you write them out for yourself, so don’t skip this step.

Mapping out your goals on a calendar

Once you’ve written down your New Year’s goal and set up three or four mini goals or benchmarks, it’s time to think seriously about how you’ll change your lifestyle to make them work. New Year’s resolutions and goals are meant to have an impact on your life. If they don’t, then they weren’t very good goals in the first place.

Go back to your written goals and think about how and when each one should be accomplished. Some goals will have a natural deadline, such as installing new energy-efficient windows for net winter, but others, like switching all light bulbs to LED bulbs, can be done over time.

For this step, a calendar will be your best friend. A calendar can provide a road map to help you stay on track with your New Year’s resolution and goals, and it can keep you focused as life rears its many distractions. If you mark up your calendar with goals, benchmarks and reminders to help you stay focused, then you’ll have a better chance at achieving your resolutions.

Trying to juggle too many goals at once can leave you feeling drained, so space out your narrow goals for every three or four months, depending on how many goals you have. This will help you concentrate on making real, smaller changes in your life that will eventually be a big change by the end of the year.

Spacing out your goals on your calendar also gives you time to adjust your wallet and your lifestyle. If you know you want to have your first of many gutter cleanings scheduled for March, then setting that goal now can help you start saving money now over the next few paychecks. It’ll feel like less of a financial shock when you need to spend more money than usual to achieve your goal.

Making room for your New Year’s resolution in your life can be challenging as well, so spacing out your goals and benchmarks gives you time to make sure the goals are actually achievable in your life right now. If you’re juggling a full-time job and raising young kids, then it might not be possible to make it to the gym four days a week. Use this time to test what works for your lifestyle and then make adjustments from there.

Building support

Having the support of family members and friends can be crucial to the success of achieving your New Year’s goals and resolutions. When you’re feeling tired and exhausted, it will be your kids, partner and friends who cheer you on and encourage you to keep going.

Once you finalize what it is you want to accomplish, sit down with your family and tell them about what you want to achieve and how you’re going to go about doing it. If keeping up with home maintenance is your overall goal, then bringing everyone in your house onboard will increase the likelihood that you’re able to achieve your objectives.

Having a partner or close friend that you trust in your corner will be your biggest advocate and maybe even your co-captain in this journey. For those looking to improve their homes, working with your partner to set goals and put aside money for projects will be key. When the two of you work together and are on the same page, you’ll find that saving money or arranging for a gutter cleaning service is much easier and less time-consuming. 

You don’t, however, have to limit your support to friends and family members alone. There are plenty of other resources to help you build your support system that will carry you through to your goals. Here are a few other options.

  • Social media groups: You can connect with other determined people in your area or around the country through social media. Look for Facebook Groups dedicated to fitness or home improvement to help cheer you on and share advice.
  • Neighbors: If home improvement is your goal, look to your neighbors for advice and support. They may have similar issues with their homes and will be happy to tell you about their own experiences. Those who have lived on your block for some time will probably have plenty of advice to give.

Sticking to your goals

At this point, you’ve taken the first step to getting started on your New Year’s goals and resolutions. You’ve identified what you want to accomplish in 2020 and then broken it down into smaller, actionable goals that will build up to the overall goal. But just writing down your goals and tell your friends and family members about them won’t make them stick. You have to put in the hard work.

A year is a long time, and a lot can happen between now and 2021. To help make sticking to your goals more achievable, especially as you’re just starting out, here are a few tips and tricks to motivate yourself.

Identify the financial costs and expectations

Every New Year’s goal will probably have some financial aspect to it, from gym memberships to contractors, and it’s important to have a clear understanding of how much you’ll probably be spending throughout the year. Knowing this will help you budget accordingly, and it will be less shocking when you speak with a contractor who’s going to redo your kitchen.

Sit down with a pad of paper and a calculator and do a rough estimate of what your goal will cost. Add in gym memberships or home fitness equipment, if that’s your goal, and estimate where you need to. You can learn a lot just by asking Google how much certain services and repair jobs cost, and while those numbers may not be exact for your home, they will give you a ballpark figure that you can use to balance your budget.

Your partner should be included on this conversation, so make sure to rope him or her in.

Set measurable deadlines

Sometimes, building up to even a mini goal can be difficult. If your home maintenance goal is to hire a gutter cleaning service and schedule regular services by the end of March, then you don’t have to wait until March to do this when you might be feeling rushed or pressured. 

Instead, set up little deadlines on your calendar. By the end of January, you should have researched gutter cleaning service companies in your area. By Valentine’s Day, you should have a couple of quotes, and by the end of the month, you should have hired a company and set a date for the cleaners to come and do the work.

Setting these little deadlines keep you on track and thinking about your goals. You’ll be less likely to forget them and stay focused as you move throughout the year.

Setting up rewards

The satisfaction of achieving a goal should be enough to power us through as we work on our goals, but having a big reward waiting for us is often what drives us to complete our goals. 

Your reward can be anything that motivates you. For home improvement goals, that could mean investing in nicer patio furniture to be enjoyed in your clean yard, an upgraded vacuum to help with cleaning your home or new LED light fixtures that won’t need new light bulbs, well, for a very long time.

You might also set a family goal, especially if your goal is to improve your home’s maintenance and repair. When the whole family gets to partake in the reward, they’ll be more apt to help you work. Your family’s reward could be a trip to the zoo or down to the beach.

Your New Year’s goals and resolutions are highly attainable. When you lay down a solid foundation by planning and flushing out what it is you want to achieve, you’ll have a better chance of succeeding. Anything can happen in a year, but you can keep your New Year’s goals and resolutions going just by staying motivated and realistic about what you can achieve.

Share with us: What do you want to accomplish around your home this year? What home improvement goals have you set? Tell us more in the comments and let us know how our services can help.

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