How to Set Achievable Goals in 2021

The year of reflection is almost over as 2020 closes and New Years resolutions are beginning to be developed. You might have new goals that you wish to achieve for 2021 due to the circumstances that came with 2020. Because of this, it is extremely vital that you are aware of the tips that can help you stick to these New Years resolutions.

There are many people throughout the world that say they are going to make a change in their lives. Whether it be working out, dieting, reading, or some other type of goal, most people only stick to their scheduled plan for a couple of months.

And then they fall off.

I am here to give you the secrets to sticking with your new goals. I have implemented these tips in my own life found in books and mentors and have found tremendous results from these habits which have changed my own life forever, and not just for a couple of months.

Let’s dive in!

Identity Changes

A lot of what I have found success from comes from principles which derive from James Clear’s book called Atomic Habits. It’s one of the most beneficial habit forming books and gives concise and informative tips about sticking to habits. For those of you who would like to buy the book and learn more about it, you can find this amazing read on amazon HERE.

One of the first things that James Clear discusses is the importance of creating identity changes. So many times we make goals and try to do things based on what we think we should do in order to have a desired outcome. What Clear argues is that the outcome doesn’t come first but instead the IDENTITY CHANGE must be developed.

So what exactly does an identity change involve? Well we all have our own values and principles that we follow on a daily basis based off of our upbringing or personal experiences that we’ve come across. We cling to these beliefs. They become a part of us.

photo of woman looking at the mirror
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

If we realize where these beliefs stem from and take and add from them, then we too begin to change. For example,

Say that you want to become more fit and so you start to go to the gym because you believe that’s what needs to be done in order to have a good physique. This is focused mainly on the outcome. Instead, by creating an identity change, you might look at yourself as a person who is fit and start asking yourself, “what do I need to do because I am a fit person?”.

By developing these identity changes, you BECOME the person that you want to end up as. Instead of thinking I must go to the gym so that I can become fit, think more so, I am a person who is fit, so I go to the gym.

Having this mindset of BEING instead of BECOMING, allows you to change your inner beliefs and morals, which when tested by time, is always more probable to stick around then if you hadn’t made that internal change.

Create an Environment For Success

Creating an environment for success can be the “make it or break it” factor which you need to help you stick to your goals. Many times, we accidentally put ourselves in positions for failure because we have distracting things around us that inevitably hurt us. Cookies that we don’t need, clothes all over the floor instead of the hamper, and video games which take our every bit of attention.

Realizing that these things are taking away from your life more than adding to them is the first step in creating a successful environment which helps you thrive.

The cues around us which trigger the initial cravings to do something is the very first step in the actions that we carry out. Read that sentence again. This is probably one of the most important concepts in understanding why environment change MUST happen to form successful habits.

Lets go back to our being fit example. If you want to be fit and realize that you need to eat better but you can’t seem to stop eating cookies because they are on the counter, REPLACE THEM. If you keep them out of site, your brain won’t get the cue that it is craving a snack.

strawberry smoothie on glass jar
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Instead, maybe you decide that you’d like to place fruits out instead, then you will become that much more likely to grab for that banana instead of the cookie with loads of sugar.

But this principle isn’t just limited to dieting. If you wanted to read for example, you might decide to place a book on your night stand, so that every night before you go to bed, instead of picking up your phone you pick up your book.

Eliminate the things in your vision that trigger the cravings and desires which inhibit obstacles to your goals. In some cases, you can even replace these distractors with items which actually help you attain your objective!

Make it Rewarding

Why do human begins form any habits in the first place? Because their brains recognize it as something ENJOYABLE. Most bad habits that are developed, whether it be drug addiction or eating junk food, is developed because it sends a flood of chemicals to our brain which deems something as GOOD.

Whenever we are going through hardship and we are without these floods of chemicals, our bodies are left starving for that desire to get that chemical rush again. This is the main reason behind why people quit what they’re doing and go back to bad habits!

If we make the action rewarding, our brains will inevitably agree with our decisions and want MORE OF IT. It will crave the very action that you are trying to permanently engrave into your brain.

So how exactly do you reward yourself for your hard work and dedication?

Sometimes, a little splurge never hurt anyone. After all, you are human. For example, when I was losing weight, I had a strict diet which removed all sweets from my options to eat. Four months into it, I realized that my body started craving sugar just because it hadn’t had it for so long. I came to the conclusion that if I gave myself a cheat day once a week, the screaming voice in my head to eat sweets started to slowly get quieter and my diet got a lot easier.

person holding two ice creams
Photo by Bekir Donmez on Pexels.com

You can even reward yourself in beneficial ways! Maybe if you’ve been hard at work for a long period of time and haven’t thought about anything else, you reward yourself with a walk outside to calm your mind. Not only do you get to think about other things and enjoy nature, but you are also helping yourself physically at the same time.

This being a finance blog, another way that you can reward yourself is to invest! If you save 5 or 10 bucks from deciding to not eat out, put the money into the stock market! your future self will surely thank you as you will eventually cash out from your compounding contributions.

These simple tips are the keys to changing your habits and in turn, allowing you to achieve your goals! 2020 may have been a year of unexpected changes, but with these tips, you can now go forward into the new year taking control of the outcomes which you desire!

Again if you enjoyed these tips and wish to learn more about developing good habits to achieve your goals, James Clear’s book Atomic Habits is CRUCIAL for you to read. You can find the book on amazon HERE.

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Andrew Martinez, owner and writer of Minerva Money

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Published by Andrew Martinez

Owner and writer of Minerva Money, a blog on personal finance for the average person who is interested in taking control of their future and alleviating themselves from the burden of uncertainty. I have a deep passion for helping those around me with not only finance but mental well-being so if you have any questions or just want to talk don't hesitate to reach out!

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