Get Organized: Take on 2016 with SMART goal planning.

Something about the turning over of a new year recharges our motivational spirit to accomplish all of the things we wish we would have in the previous year. Which is great, except that most people quit within the first 7 days. The number one reason new years resolutions fail is because they were unrealistic. 

Another familiar resolution pitfall occurs when we feel overwhelmed by all of the tasks and projects we've assigned ourselves, usually resulting no action at all. Avoid this obstacle by writing down your goals and all of the reasons it would beneficial to achieve them. This will help you change your "have to" mindset to a "want to" mindset, which brings you even closer to successful goal completion. If you were unsuccessful at completing a goal in the past, be sure to include:

1. The reason you quit last year

2. Why you want to re-visit this goal

3. How you can make this year different

If you're anything like us, you have high expectations for yourself accompanied by a laundry list of items to improve on for 2016. Tackling them all seems exciting and totally do-able, but don't fall into the trap. If you remember learning about creating SMART goals you know that the key to successful goal planning is to make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. We've harnessed these foundational elements and created our own tested SMART goal planning guide to help you take your 2016 goals to the finish line. 

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Schedule - Keep your goals in the forefront of your busy life by scheduling them. Once you've determined your goal, and why it would be beneficial to achieve it, open your 2016 calendar and go to work. Determine how often you intend to take action on each goal, make an entry in your calendar and set this new ritual to duplicate itself for your specific timeline. Bedazzle your goal entry with celebratory emojis and notice your attitude positively shift about completing the task.

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Motivation - Staying motivated is the key to long term success. If you've never created a vision board, now is the time and Pinterest is the app. Create and categorize a board for each goal, filling it with motivational images that will help you visualize the finish line and keep you focused on the end result.

If you're not familiar with Pinterest, it is a "visual bookmarking tool" that allows you to create endless categories called "Boards" and use them to bookmark relevant articles, images, quotes, exercises, recipes and the list goes on. If you can think of it, you can probably find it on Pinterest, and if you can't, find it on Google and Pin it to your board. You will have made your first authentic contribution to Pinterest. Congrats! 

A

Accountable - Hold yourself accountable to your goals. Set reminders or better yet team up with someone with a similar goal and hold each other accountable. There's nothing like a guilt trip from a bestie to motivate you into swapping Netflix and chill for a trip to the gym.

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Reward - Reward yourself for taking a step towards your goal. Progress can take a while before you notice sizeable change.  By rewarding yourself for each of the small steps taken, you'll be more likely to stay motivated and achieve your goal. But, before you get carried away thinking about all the possibilities you can assign as official rewards, let us be specific: think healthy and positive rewards. We recommend:

a cup of your favourite tea

a round of your favourite Spotify playlist

an episode of your current series addiction

Achieving milestone accomplishments is a great opportunity for a small splurge. For example:

a new lipstick

a mani-pedi

cute new workout gear

a great book

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T: Timeline - Create a timeline for your goals. Once you've decided on a end date, schedule target milestones along the way that will allow you to measure your progress and determine what adjustments (if any) need to be made to help you effectively accomplish this goal within your set timeframe. 

There's an app for that

We've found success in keeping our scheduling, tasks and goals at our fingertips. Get organized using as little as your mobile calendar and notepad or some expertly designed apps. 

Asana: Created by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and Facebook engineer, co-founder of the Like button, Justin Rosenstein, this app was designed to help teams better communicate and project manage. But that doesn't mean it's all business. We recommend using this app for personal project and achievement tracking. Map out each of your goals as a project by filling it with tasks and subtasks. Accept push notifications to receive reminders about upcoming or over due tasks, then check off each task as you complete it. Asana allows you to share goal projects with friends, have conversations within each project and show some love with a heart shaped like button. Learn more about Asana here: https://asana.com/product

Nozbe: Tech savvy users will enjoy this app. Add tasks to the app from just about anywhere on your phone, and syncs with Evernote, Dropbox, Outlook and Google Calendar to provide a connected and organized system. The app allows you the same benefits as Asana plus the ability to prioritize your tasks on a sleek high performing platform. Learn more about this app here: https://nozbe.com/?a=C68B1FD6

If you do choose to install this app, this article is a great resource for getting started: https://nozbe.com/blog/bestyearever/ 

(Available for Android, Windows, Linux, iPhone, iPad and Mac)

and...

Other career and lifestyle resources you may find helpful:

Book: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Marie Kondo

Book: The Defining Decade - Meg Jay

Article: Business Wise Recap: Real World Career Advice From Industry Pros.