January 01, 2024

How to Avoid the “New Year, New Me” Trap

As our ears still ring from the cheers of New Year’s Eve celebrations, many people are filled with hope and ambition for all of the things they might want to accomplish in the upcoming 12 months.

However, it’s a trap that many of us find ourselves in: too much aspiration and too little planning/action. So how do you avoid the meaningless mental platitudes and make your goals a reality?

1. Set Achievable Goals

As fun as it might be to just walk up to NASA and ask to be made an astronaut, they will most likely turn you away unless you’re able to provide a long list of qualifications to back up your sky-high dreams.

Start the process by taking stock of your life goals and breaking them down into smaller, achievable milestones along the way. Feel like becoming a Michelin Star chef? Start by experimenting in the kitchen, or attending a few cooking courses before you purchase your own restaurant.

2. Manage the Number of Goals You Set

It might be tempting to list several big points that you’d like to achieve throughout the course of the new year, like purchasing a new home, launching a new business, finding a romantic partner, starting studies and making new friends.

However, the reality is that all of those things take time and at the end of the day, you still need to accomplish your goals in a sustainable way, so that you don’t find yourself in a difficult situation financially or emotionally burnt-out at the end of the year.

Make a quick list (yes, do it right now) of all the things you would like to accomplish. Are you looking to purchase a new house and change jobs at the same time? That’s probably not the best financial decision. You can always push one of those goals to the following year.

3. Check in on Your Goals Regularly

If you want to stay on track and not let everything pile up until the last minute, it’s worth it to divide the year into four quarters and set up milestones for each one.

You can schedule a reminder on your cell phone for each quarter with a small note to jog your memory on the goal. If possible, try to look ahead to a day when you’re not working, or you at least have an hour or two to properly take stock of your progress.

Remember, you’re allowed to backslide a bit but make sure you adjust your timeline accordingly and don’t let a small mishap completely derail your otherwise perfect plan.