You’re sitting on the patio of a beautiful restaurant watching the fireworks of the year’s end with all of your closest friends.
You’re smiling because you’ve achieved all of the biggest goals you set for yourself in 2017 and you’re excited to share this moment with the people you love as you cheer on another great year to come.
That would feel pretty good, right?
Although many of us feel that the above situation is a pipe dream locked away for only the most productive people to achieve, it doesn’t have to be this way.
By following different proven methods of productive goal-setting, you can achieve your biggest goals too, whether they’re losing more weight, starting your business, meeting that special someone, or writing that book you’ve always wanted to write.
It sounds impossible, but it’s not. I promise you.
Here’s how you can make 2017 your best year yet.
1. Imagine Yourself Already Having Achieved Your Goals
Sounds counterintuitive, right?
Say you want to start a business, but you don’t know how (really, you don’t even know where to begin). Instead of procrastinating in despair, try this.
Take 5 minutes right now to think about how good it would feel to be running your own business.
What would that look like for you? Would you be working from the comfort of your own home, from the coffee shop down the block, or maybe before boarding a plane that will take you jet-setting around the world?
No matter what business you want to start, focus on how amazing it would feel to finally set the blocks in motion and be living the life you want. Make sure you keep it personalized to yourself (and remember, it doesn’t have to be realistic — yet).
2. Set Your Goals in Reverse
Now that you know what your ideal life would look like, pull out a piece of paper to complete the picture.
At the beginning, write down the desired result of your biggest goal. If you want to make money from home, write that. If you want to be a published author, jot that down.
Now it’s time to make your goal more tangible.
What are the steps you could ideally take to reach that goal? If you want to start a business to make money, how would you generate money?
For instance, you could create a webinar to generate sales for your business, but you’d need an email list before you could do that. And before that, you’d need clients, a website, a name, and an idea for your business.
Don’t think too complicated now. This exercise is just intended to generate a simple way path to your goals, no matter how far away they seem now.
3. Break Your Goals Into Bite-Sized Pieces
You already planned out how to achieve your goals in reverse. But let’s face it — it’s hard to reach your biggest goals. We all know this.
However, if you break them down into little bite-sized pieces first, then it’ll be much easier for you to make progress towards them every week.
As we’ve all heard, it’s easier to eat an elephant if you do it one bite at a time.
The same is true for your goals. If you try and take it all on at once, it’s going to make things way harder than they need to be for you.
But if you just do one small thing today towards your biggest goal, that progress will add up faster than you think.
4. Become Distraction-Proof
Now that you’ve made a roadmap to reach your goals, you need to concentrate on the roadblocks stopping you from reaching the destination of your ideal life.
Ask: What’s blocking you from achieving your desired results?
If it’s constant interruptions, consider ways you could fight against that.
For instance, if you’re trying to do focused work on your laptop, you could disconnect completely from the internet or install an internet-blocker like Freedom.
Or if you’re having trouble working from home, you could go into a quiet study area at your local library to escape the distractions all around you.
If you can find a way to circumvent distraction, it’ll be much easier to start achieving your biggest goals today.
5. Work in Focused Sprints Every day
Most of the work we do these days is shallow and unfocused.
That’s why I love Cal Newport’s new book Deep Work. In it, he shares a method where we can all achieve the desired results we want in our lives.
The solution is finding time in your day to do focused work. Unlike shallow work, this form of “deep” work can help us make progress towards something substantial that’s related to our personal or professional lives.
If you can fit a focused burst of 25 minutes into your morning, try that. If not, fit it into your afternoon. Whenever you can find a time, these 25-minute Pomodoro’s can do wonders to help you reach your goals instead of just checking your Facebook notifications or replying to yet another email on the list with no real benefit.
6. Constantly Review and Access Your Goals
Goal-setting is not just for the end or the start of the year.
Many of us make the error of only setting goals when we see the new year approaching. Then, shortly after it, we fail to follow through on those goals we set for ourselves.
Soon into the year, many of our goals are forgotten, abandoned, and left unfinished only to be ticked onto our lists for the next year to come.
The problem is that we should be setting new goals constantly — either to reach new goals or to make adjustments to our old ones — because our lives aren’t stagnant. Like our environments, they’re constantly changing, so we should be adapting along with them.
Don’t be afraid to delete any goals that no longer mean anything to you. Above all, always be changing, modifying, and adapting.
If you can develop a model of consistency when it comes to reviewing and accessing your goals, you’ll be way ahead of the rest.
How to Make 2017 Your Best Year Ever
Take a moment to think about the biggest goals you want to achieve in 2017. Maybe they’re goals you didn’t achieve or didn’t have time for last year.
Think about how you would feel by accomplishing even one of them. And imagine how great it would feel to be sharing champagne and celebrating with your closest friends after achieving your biggest goals for 2017.
I know it feels impossible, but your goals are achievable.
By following these six simple strategies, next year you won’t be looking back at 2017 in despair. Instead, you won’t be able to do anything but smile.