Tips + Tricks: How to Set the Right Goals - and Achieve Them!

With the New Year right around the corner, we at Design by Laney have started making our goals for 2018. Just as importantly, however, we got out that old 2017 goal list and evaluated it to see how we did.

We accomplished a lot this year, some of it planned (becoming a “we” instead of an “I” by hiring a new team member, staying afloat for the first year of business, and participating in over 30 gorgeous weddings), and some of it unplanned (most notably, thriving throughout a completely spontaneous move across the country).

Setting the right resolutions can help you track your progress no matter where you are on the way to living your best life. Whether you are another entrepreneur, someone starting out the wedding planning process, or just want to reach some new milestones in 2018, it is key to set the right goals from the beginning.

To help, some of the best goal-setting tips and tricks are below so that you aren't like Phoebe Buffay, who, when asked if she has a plan, responds "Plan? I don't even have a pla!" (plus, there's a little bonus in it for you if you make it to the end!)

Goal Setting Tips

Reach Far Enough

One of my first bosses told me one time that you should set out to reach about 50% of your goals. This has stuck with me forever, and I use it as a guideline, no matter what type of goal I’m setting (heck, I even use it on daily to-do lists).

Though your exact percentage may be different, the key is this: if your goals are too easy, then you aren’t reaching high enough, and if they’re too difficult, then you will probably become discouraged and give up. My percentage is about 50%, so if I am able to cross off about half of my goals, it keeps me feeling accomplished enough to keep working, but not so overwhelmed that I give up. And, to be honest, I almost always hit at least 65-70% of my goals, even though I set them with about 50% in mind. 

 

Break It Up

So on January 1st, a lot of you may make a resolution to lose 20 pounds. That’s great...you totally got this girl. However, come October, and you haven’t lost any weight...what?! How did that happen?

The truth is that large, general goals are significantly tougher to meet. Instead of thinking that you need to lose 20 pounds in a year, think about losing ½ pound per week, and how you can physically do that. Break it down to the calorie if you want - find your sweet spot, but make sure you have smaller, simpler, and more specific goals that will add up to your larger goal to keep you on track.

 

Measure Your Success

In the same vein, make sure you measure your success. The most common New Year’s Resolution in the US is “to exercise more”. Okay. Fine. But what these 38% (THIRTY-EIGHT PERCENT!!!!) of people don’t realize is how tough it is to measure out a goal of “exercise more.” 

For one, you need to set a benchmark of how much you have been exercising. Then, you need to set a specific measurement to quantify how much you are exercising now. So, great alternatives to this goal would be “Work out an average of 3x per week,” “Train for and finish a ½ marathon by December 1”, or “Join a recreation league soccer team”.

Think of goals as a yes or no box that you can (or cannot) definitively check at the end of the year - not something where you’re tilting your head saying “Well...I did live on the 3rd floor this year so I walked up the stairs a lot…”

 

Treat Yo’self 2018

The idea of rewarding yourself for reaching your goals is pretty much as old as time. Just make sure you are rewarding yourself the right way. For instance, don’t be like me and reward yourself for eating a healthy lunch with a giant slice of chocolate cake at dinner (but...cake is so good).

Instead, try making your reward something separate or only slightly related to your progress on your goal. Reward yourself for healthy eating by buying a new dress, for instance, or even something less related, like that West Elm coffee table you've been wanting. Or a new puppy, puppies are always a great reward.

My friend set a goal to run 100 miles by a certain date, and rewarded herself with a Louis Vuitton tote bag (spoiler alert - she totally met her goal)!

 

Acknowledge Your Progress

This one is personal - one of my main goals this year was for a specific growth in followers on Instagram. If you follow us over there you will know that I had to give that up around the end of November, as progress slowed. For over 300 days, I had worked my butt off to be on track for that goal, and for 300+ days, I was. Then something changed, and made that goal no longer a possibility, and I was devastated. 

However, someone asked the other day “Well, how much did you grow?” and the answer is that there was still tremendous, successful, organic growth toward my goal. Think about those fundraiser thermometers - even when the red dry erase marker doesn’t reach all the way to the top, there is still great progress and success made in money collected for a good cause. So, especially in your year-long goals, be sure to acknowledge the growth you’ve made and the success you have had, even if you don’t make it 100% of the way to your goal.

 

Get a Buddy

Friends make everything more fun, don’t they? Goal-setting is no different. I recently started a weekly goals call with my friend Lo, and it has been so helpful in establishing new goals and keeping me to my existing ones. The science says that you are about 33% more likely to meet your goals if you write them down, share them with a friend, and send that friend weekly updates (Hey look, I cite sources).

Think about how much more likely you are to go to that workout class if your friend will be waiting for you there, or to not buy those shoes if you know your S.O. is looking at the credit card statements (not speaking from experience at all…). So grab your buddy and set up weekly or monthly chats with them!

I will be offering some limited coaching spots around Q2 of 2018, so check in with me if you’d like to be on the waiting list for that release [As a quick edit, you can sign up to be notified for coaching here].  Also on this note, we will be sharing the Design by Laney goal list on the blog in a couple weeks, so you can help keep us accountable!



 

No matter what goal you are setting, science proves that you are more likely to meet it if you set it right in the first place. Pay attention to how you are setting and keeping track of all of your resolutions, and you will be surpassing your goals in no time! What are your goals? Let us know what you’re working towards below and we will do a quick analysis of your measurement techniques for you!