Setting a Goal and Sticking to It: 5 Tips and Tricks

Calendar showing January and the word Resolution circled


For many people, the beginning of the new year is a time to create resolutions for themselves. It could be eating healthier, being more active, expanding your horizons through studying abroad, or any number of other ambitions. This is a good first step, but research shows that only 8% of people succeed in achieving goals they set at the beginning of the year. Whether or not you decide to make a New Year’s resolution, you can always strive for personal growth at any time of the year. Here are 5 tips and tricks to help you set your goals, meet them, and better yourself.


1. Start Small and Specific

Woman outside reading a book


The first key to achieving your goal is making sure it’s realistic. If the expectations you set for yourself are too high, chances are you won’t meet them and you will end up getting discouraged as a result. Start out with small steps you know you can achieve and work your way up to bigger strides. Also, make sure the goal you set is specific and trackable. For example, instead of aspiring to read more often, set a goal to read one chapter of a book every day for a week.


2. Find Accountability Partners

A group of friends have their arms around each other facing a sunset


Having a solid support system from your friends and family is key. See if you can talk family members or friends into joining you in trying to achieve your goal. If you can’t convince them to help out, university organizations are a great place to start. Join a fitness club, reading club, or any other club you think will help you meet your goals. That way, you can provide encouragement to your colleagues, stop each other from going off track, and have fun along the way!


3. Keep a Goal Diary

An opened journal with blank pages and pen on a table


By logging your daily activities and progress towards your goal, you’ll be able to constantly remind yourself of what you’re working towards. Make sure to take special note of small victories, moments of growth and times of temptation, so that you can learn from them and identify what’s working for you and what isn’t. If you’d like, you can even include pictures, documents, or anything else meaningful that signifies the progress you’re making. As a bonus, once you reach your goal, you’ll be able to take a look back at how far you’ve come.


4. Follow Through

Woman running in a  park on a sunny day


Once you’ve met your initial goal, don’t stop there! All too often, people become complacent once they’ve met their goal and quickly lose a lot of the progress they made. Set a plan in motion to maintain your progress and constantly improve upon it. For example, after a month of reading a chapter of a book every day, increase your goal and aim to read two chapters a day. Continuous growth is key to making sure that you stick to your plan and better yourself in the end as a direct result.


5. Try Not to Get Discouraged

Student laughing sat in front of the Rome Colosseum


Remember that nobody is perfect. We’re all only human, and everybody is bound to go off track at least once or twice in their journey. When that happens, don’t give up on yourself. Use it as a learning opportunity so that the next time you’re tempted to go off track again, you’ll learn to resist and grow even closer towards your goal.