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How to Set—and Stick with—Your Goals in the New Year

How to Set—and Stick with—Your Goals in the New Year

5 min read
Erin Spradlin

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Goal planning is fun. So is journaling, but that’s another topic for another day. Both are an opportunity to spend time thinking and talking about yourself (which is something at least 95 percent of the population loves doing). 

Set Your Goals

Since real estate investing requires both short- and long-term goals—and I kind of think of myself as pretty good at setting and meeting goals (not to mention, being excellent at bragging)—I’m going to lay out a practical way to goal plan for the year ahead.

Related: Why You MUST Set Goals and Review Them to Achieve Anything

Get Out of the House

You are setting yourself up for the year to come, so give the event weight by moving it out of the house and making it a tradition. My husband, James, and I do our goal setting at a divey brunch place with bottomless mimosas. By planning it out and making this occasion a special event, it helps us prioritize our goal planning.  

Invite Other People


Having others around can be helpful for a couple reasons. First, if they are your spouse, they are going to be a huge part of your success or failure. They either need to sign on to the goal or know how to support you with your goal.

The other benefit to including others is that you have to explain your goals to them—what they are, what they look like, why they’re important to you, etc. You can take turns explaining your goals to each other. This way, you’ll be able to clearly define your goals while helping your friends define theirs. It’s a win-win!

Look Inward

Think about what you love and what you hate. Successful goal planning comes down to your values. But sometimes defining values can be difficult. I’ve found an easier way to do this is thinking about what you are passionate about.

For myself, I love the city of Denver, complete control over my schedule, organizing things, reading, intellectual competition, being busy, business, and vacations. Things that I hate include public speaking, large groups, early mornings, having a boss, being bored, stagnating intellectually, and feeling unprepared.

By thinking about what you love (and hate), you can find what you’d like to focus on in the new year. You’re much more likely to stick to a goal if you have a passion for it. On the flip side, maybe you want to take something you hate and turn it into something you love. Not a morning person? Set a goal to wake up earlier a few days a week but do something you love during that time. This will make the transition more desirable.

Decide What You Want to Work on

Ask yourself if you want to lean into what you’re good at or try to get better at something you are not good at. Your loves and hates probably track pretty closely to what you are good at versus what you are bad at. Now, it’s time to have a philosophical argument with yourself: Should you embrace and expand on your strengths? Or should you grow through discomfort and challenge?

This is a rare time when I legitimately do not think there is a right or wrong answer to the question. Ask yourself what’s important to you. Regardless of which approach you prefer, this will help you understand which goals track with your foundational beliefs.

A quick run-down for myself: I value honesty above everything else, educating others, respecting the vulnerable, helping the environment for future generations, taking care of my body, making progress, and being pro-active about self-education.

Start thinking about what you value. You probably already have some ideas about what your goals might look like, but now you can see if they fit into your overall core values and loves/hates.

Here’s are two goals from last year, one successful and one a failure.

Last Year’s Goals

Goal: Read 22 books in 2019
Things I love: reading, being busy, business as a topic
Core value(s): Important to self-educate, important to have progress (more books than the year before). Will help me educate others.
Success? Yes, I read 26 books in 2019.

Goal: Give up dairy
Things I love: There’s nothing I love that tracks to this goal.
Core value(s): Taking care of the environment (and limiting animal consumption will help the land be less taxed). 
Success? No dice! I’m drinking half and half in my coffee as I write this.*

*I think this one was a failure because the core value—the environment—is important to me, but sadly not important enough or pressing enough to give up dairy. And that’s just the truth.

This brings me to my next couple of points. You need to be honest and realistic with yourself when setting goals. After all, you don’t want to set yourself up for failure. Do the following three things if you want to follow through on your goals.

1. Simplify Your Goals


Brace yourselves because more humble bragging is coming: Ahem, I ran a marathon in my early 20s, which absolutely helped me to accomplish future goals. Most people would not be able to run 26.2 miles tomorrow, but almost everyone can follow a schedule that slowly builds each week by gentle increments until they can run 26.2 miles.

This is relevant because you should break your larger goal into mini goals, and then assign those mini goals to weeks (or the appropriate time frame) until you hit that bigger goal. Give yourself a time frame. I can’t emphasize this enough. It’s easy to shove it off every month for the entire year, especially if it is hard. Your success will be tied to your timeline.

2. Be Precise about Your Goals

Case in point, when I was writing down things I loved, I initially included this sentence: I love money…but that’s actually not true. I have clients that truly love money for money’s sake and consider it life-defining. For me, I value having enough money to take one to two international vacations a year, afford a mortgage in Denver, go out to eat about four times a week, and work for myself. If I can do all of that, I’m happy. 

Related: How to Achieve Success Today: 3 Steps to Crush Your Goals

3. Be Realistic about Who You Are

A good gauge of what you are willing to do is what you have already done. If there are certain things you’ve avoided doing your entire life that sound truly unappealing, it seems like there’s a good chance you don’t really want to do that thing. It likely doesn’t map to your values and/or isn’t defining of your future self.

Having a goal just to have a goal is not the point, even if you feel like you should do it. (For instance, I feel like I should enjoy skiing, but as it turns out, I hate spending money to wake up early, sit in traffic, and spend all day cold.)

Alright. Stop reading and get goal-ing! 2020 better take cover, because we’re coming for it—and we mean business!


What are you goals for 2020, and how do you plan to achieve them? 

Share with a comment below!