Is your poor, neglected New Year’s resolution written down on a crumpled piece of paper tucked away in your bedside drawer (or at the bottom of a dumpster somewhere)? Whoops!
Here’s a way to give it new life. Business strategist Ciara Pressler believes that we can all reach any goal—if it truly means something to us and we attack it right. She just released a digital version of her book Game Plan—and it has all the tools and worksheets you need for setting intentions, whether you’re dreaming of saving $10,000 by this time next year (gulp), tackling an Ironman, or hoping to be your own boss by 2016.
“I think people get distracted with what they should be doing versus what they want to do,” says Pressler. “Think about what it is that you really want right now and then create a plan to attack it.”
And the good news? You can start today, with these five steps. “That’s why the book is called Game Plan and not Happy New Year,” says Pressler.
1. Be super clear about what (exactly) you want. “Vague goals undermine accomplishments. A super common one that trips people up is to say ‘I want to exercise more.’ You should instead make it about exercising four times a week or training for a specific race,” Pressler says. Your goals are then easier to visualize, and act upon.
2. Write it down. And we repeat, write it down. “If you keep it in your head it’s going to get all tangled up with other things,” Pressler says. While the notepad app on your iPhone is okay, “there’s something magical about writing it down and seeing it in black and white,” Pressler says.
3. Break it down. Once you have an idea of what that goal is—running a marathon? New job? Apartment purge?—break it down into smaller pieces.
“Ask yourself, what is the next step I need to take today or this week in order to make this happen,” Pressler says. “If you want a new job, the first step might be polishing up your resume, followed by emailing your contacts. Then you have a roadmap.”
4. Do a check in. How often you check in with yourself on your progress will depend on your specific goal. Pressler suggests that you make a reminder in your phone, whether it’s a friendly ping once a month or once a week.
And it’s okay to change your goals according to your priorities. Maybe you landed a new job, started seeing someone, or twisted your ankle at CrossFit. That’s not an excuse to abandon goals entirely, though. “There’s a difference between changing a goal and being lazy,” Pressler says.
5. Spread the word. Tell a friend, sibling, or partner about your mission—you might need them to give you a little boost when the going gets tough. “When you have someone giving you support, and holding you accountable, you’re more likely to make it through the times you feel stuck,” Pressler says. Amen to that. —Molly Gallagher
(Photos, from top: Mackenzie Horan via Instagram; Ciara Pressler)