When my sweet 7-year-old daughter asked me to help her make her New Year’s resolutions, my first thought was “oh, this must be something you heard about at school, because you dang-sure did not hear about those at home!”

I thought about launching into my anti-resolution diatribe right there on the spot. I wanted to tell her all the reasons that resolutions are… well, malarkey. That she’s about as likely to keep a New Year’s resolution for longer than a month as Olaf is to enjoying his summer vacation as a snowman.

I wanted to tell her that this “New Year New You” sentiment – that the notion that she would magically wake up on New Year’s Day and purge all her bad behaviors – doesn’t hold any water. Slowly, but almost surely, she would retreat back to her old and comfortable ways, leaving those resolutions and good intentions in the dust.

I wanted to tell her all those things.

But…. well, I didn’t. I indulged my baby girl and helped her with her resolutions.

What can I say?! She’s my baby!

*hangs head in shame*

(I’ll try again next year!)

What Goes Into A Crushable Goal Anyway?

My daughter’s desire to create New Year’s resolutions got me thinking about goal-setting in general though.

I started to think about all the amazing goal-slayers that I know. I also looked back at the targets that I’ve set for myself and actually hit. I asked myself what made those goals different from your everyday, run-of-the-mill New Year’s resolutions? What are the secrets to creating and crushing even the most challenging goals? 

I realized that there is a really cool blueprint for creating crushable goals that I just had to share with you guys. Hopefully, it will help you slay your biggest, most amazing goals in 2019!

Here they are, my best tips for creating and crushing even your biggest, juiciest goals.

Create Goals With H.E.A.R.T.

Frequently, when it comes to goal-setting, I’ve been told to create goals that are S.M.A.R.T. This is a mnemonic tool that gauges the quality and feasibility of your goals. This goal-setting method has pretty much been around for my entire adult/corporate life, and there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of this strategy as well. Just as a reminder (or in case you have no idea what I’m talking about), the acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. 

S.M.A.R.T. goals are fine and good I suppose, but I’ve always found that the corporate, stiff jargon never really resonated with me. There’s an emotional component that I always felt like was missing.

(I guess I’m a touchy-feely kind of girl. See above interaction with a certain 7-year old…)

I believe that when you have goals to meet that truly mean something to you, you need to create goals with H.E.A.R.T.

“H” is for “Honest”

It’s important that as you’re setting your goals, you’re being true to yourself and your values. If your goal is all about keeping up with the Joneses, you’re going to be doomed from the start. Choose goals that feel right for you, and not just goals that you think will change how you’re perceived by others.

“E” is for “Emotionally-Charged”

You want to create a goal that touches your soul and strikes an emotional nerve when you think about them. When you visualize yourself hitting this goal, it’s got to bring you intense, immense joy (or, for some of you, intense, immense pain at the idea of not hitting the goal). If we’re being honest with ourselves, willpower is only going to take us so far. And there will come a time when you really really don’t wanna do that thing that you gotta do to help you hit your goal. Emotion will propel you forward when you feel like giving up or you need to do something that makes you feel a little uncomfortable in order for your goal to become a reality.

“A” is for “Actionable Tasks”

Make sure you can create an action plan around what it would take to achieve your goals. This is especially applicable for long-term goals that need to be broken down into smaller, digestible tasks that you can implement and check yourself on regularly. If you find that you’re having trouble breaking your goal down into actionable steps, this is likely a good indication that your goal is too vague. The more specific your goal, the easier it will be to determine what victory looks like a week from now, a month from now, and six months from now.

“R” is for “(w)Rite and Review Your Goals Regularly”

Imagine flashing lights and fireworks around this little letter R, because this – in my humble opinion – is truly what separates the dreamers from goal-slayers. You must – MUST, I SAY – actually write down your goals as opposed to letting them simply float around in your head. Talk to any super successful goal- slayer and they will almost certainly tell you the same.

There are two reasons that writing down your goals makes you 42% more likely to actually achieving them. One reason is scientific in nature. Writing down your goals activates your brain’s Reticular Activating System (RAS), which is your way of telling yourself that this particular goal is no longer just a pie-in-the-sky pipe dream, but that it’s actually something you REALLY want to happen. You begin looking for ways (sometimes subconsciously) to make this “want” a reality, and eventually, you are helping yourself achieve your goals without even trying! How cool is that?!   

Secondly, from a psychological standpoint, writing down your goals allows you to review them regularly. Repetitively reviewing your goals also goes a long way to cement them into your brain. The best and most successful goal-achievers review their goals daily at a minimum, and often times multiple times a day. So, make a promise to yourself that you will review your goals on a very very regular basis.

“T” is for “Time-Bound”

I know, I know. This is the same as the “T” that’s in the traditional S.M.A.R.T. goals. But, I do think the time element of traditional S.M.A.R.T. goals is an important one. Make sure you have target start and completion dates. Not only does this help keep the goal “real” for you and not just an idea, but having a goal completion date will also help you determine how you should break down those long-term goals into your monthly, weekly, and daily targets so that you know if you’re on task or not.

And Two Bonus Tips For Good Measure!

Here are two other bonus tips that I couldn’t quite fit into the above acronym.

First, make sure you have a supportive circle or an accountability partner. Everyone needs a cheerleading section, especially when your goals feel so large that they overwhelm you. Make sure you have someone in your corner rooting for you. Someone who understands that you can’t hang out tonight because you’re saving your money to pay down debt. Or you can’t binge on your favorite fried snack foods because you’re cleaning up your diet. This friend or accountability partner may also be able to provide some words of encouragement to help you push through when the going gets tough.

And finally, celebrate small victories. Give yourself little micro-goals with the promise that you’ll commemorate the occasion in a special way once you reach them. Knowing that you have something to look forward to will give you the motivation that you need to reach that milestone. And reaching that milestone will give you the confidence boost you need to keep on going. So go ahead and treat yo’self!

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso

So, let’s make a promise to ourselves and do away with half-hearted resolutions that will be broken by February. Create goals with H.E.A.R.T. and make this the year that you conquer every goal you set for yourself.

Just to remind you, H.E.A.R.T. stands for:

  • Honest
  • Emotionally-Charged
  • Actionable Tasks
  • (w)Rite Down and Review Regularly
  • Time-Bound

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you think the H.E.A.R.T. method could work for you? What other strategies have you used to create and slay your goals? Share your thoughts in the comments.

And as always, if you feel like this is information someone could use, please share this post! Sharing is caring!

Cheers to the journey, you goal-slayer, you!