SMART New Year’s Resolutions

By Mark Stevenson

With the end of the year fast approaching, many of us are starting to revisit our old goals and start planning for new ones. However, in this article I want to show you how to achieve goals that you will actually be able to stick to this year!

Thank goodness for New Year’s Day. A regular opportunity to reassess our lifestyles, rethink our goals and plan some positive self-improvement for the rest of the year. But despite our wholesome intentions, the overwhelming majority of us fail to see them through before January is up. But rather than blame our fleeting willpower, perhaps we need to review our resolutions themselves. Are we setting the bar too high to reach? This year, remember the SMART rule. Keep your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Specific
Make sure that any goal you plan is clear, not generic. If possible, set deadlines to reach each stage of your goals. If your resolution is to reach a goal weight, set a specific weight you want to reach or pair of jeans you want to fit into. Create weekly goals to reach to keep you motivated and act as a reminder.

Measurable
If your resolutions are measurable, it makes them much easier to set and then track your progress. If one of your goals is to save more money, don’t just state you want to save. Put a financial target in place, and map out how you will reach that amount by a set date.

Attainable
There’s no point in setting unreachable targets as New Year’s resolutions. You’ll only fail and feel bad about it. If you have a certain objective in mind, really assess how feasible it is to reach. If you want to do weekend charity work, make sure you actually do have the time.

Relevant
If you have a long-term plan for your life, make sure that any goal you set for the new year is aligned to the direction you want to take. If your goals aren’t geared for your life path it will be easy to stray from them.

Timely
If you don’t create a timeline for achieving your goals, then you could find it much harder to keep up, feel motivated and stay focused. Identify what you want to accomplish and when you want to accomplish it by and reassess it regularly to make sure you are on track.

New Year’s resolutions are about organising your life, improving your habits and taking on
responsibility. Taking up life insurance ticks all of the SMART checkboxes. Get an affordable life insurance quote today.

Updates and improvements: complete task note, progress stats & more

It has been a while since our last major upgrade with new vision board features. We have been working on a few relatively small fixes here and there during this time. Here are some recent changes that you may have seen in the program.

1. Goal progress stats: Now the goal progress bar shows the actual statistics of your task completion progress made on goal, either the numbers of tasks completed or the actual metrics units vs. the total.

2. Complete task note: Now you are able to enter a quick note when completing a task. This may be useful for writing down things related to the task, such as the outcome of the task, reference information, etc. These notes are visible immediately in the completed tasks section, and also from the Tasks page.

3. Fixed a bug in completing tasks while a specific goal category is selected on Dashboard page.

4. Fixed a bug in setting goal category as parent goal when converted to sub goal.

5. More date view ranges on Tasks page: now you will see more options such as Tomorrow, Next Week for active tasks, and Yesterday, Last Week for completed tasks.

6. Fixed a bug in misalignment of timezone difference between tasks from GOT and those synced with Google Calendar or iCal feeds.

7. Fixed a bug in adding journal entries that have unusual character sequence that conflicts with encryption algorithm.

We’ll keep improving and adding new features to the program. If you ever find any problems or bugs, or have any suggestions or feature requests, please do let us know. Thanks for your continuous support.

8 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Achieve Any Goal

By Leo Babauta

One of the biggest challenges in meeting any goal, whether it be related to productivity, waking early, changing a habit, exercising, or just becoming happier, is finding the motivation to stick with it.

If you can stick with a goal for long enough, you’ll almost always get there eventually. It just takes patience, and motivation.

I’ve found that it’s important to start out with the right motivation, because a good start can build momentum that you can sustain for a long time. If you start out right, you have a much better chance of succeeding. Here are some tips for starting out:

  1. Start small. I’ve said this before, but that’s because it’s one of the most important tips in motivating yourself toward a goal. Don’t start out big! Start out with a ridiculously easy goal, and then grow from there. If you want to exercise, for example, you may be thinking that you have to do these intense workouts 5 days a week. No — instead, do small, tiny, baby steps. Just do 2 minutes of exercise. I know, that sounds wimpy. But it works. Commit to 2 minutes of exercise for one week. You may want to do more, but just stick to 2 minutes. It’s so easy, you can’t fail. Do it at the same time, every day. Just some crunches, 2 pushups, and some jogging in place. Once you’ve done 2 minutes a day for a week, increase it to 5, and stick with that for a week. In a month, you’ll be doing 15-20. Want to wake up early? Don’t think about waking at 5 a.m. Instead, think about waking 10 minutes earlier for a week. That’s all. Once you’ve done that, wake 10 minutes earlier than that. Baby steps.
  2. One goal. Too many people start with too many goals at once, and try to do too much. And it saps energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible — I’ve tried it many times. You have to choose one goal, for now, and focus on it completely. I know, that’s hard. Still, I speak from experience. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your One Goal.
  3. Examine your motivation. Know your reasons. Give them some thought … and write them down. If you have loved ones, and you are doing it for them, that is more powerful than just doing it for self-interest. Doing it for yourself is good too, but you should do it for something that you REALLY REALLY want to happen, for really good reasons.
  4. Really, really want it. This is essentially the same as the above tip, but I want to emphasize it: it’s not enough to think it would be cool to achieve something. It has to be something you’re passionate about, something you’re super excited about, something you want deeply. Make sure that your goal meets these criteria, or you won’t stick with it for long.
  5. Commit publicly. None of us likes to look bad in front of others. We will go the extra mile to do something we’ve said publicly. For example, when I wanted to run my first marathon, I started writing a column about it in my local daily newspaper. The entire island of Guam (pop. 160K) knew about my goal. I couldn’t back down, and even though my motivation came and went, I stuck with it and completed it. Now, you don’t have to commit to your goal in your daily newspaper, but you can do it with friends and family and co-workers, and you can do it on your blog if you have one. And hold yourself accountable — don’t just commit once, but commit to giving progress updates to everyone every week or so.
  6. Get excited. Well, it starts with inspiration from others (see above), but you have to take that excitement and build on it. For me, I’ve learned that by talking to my wife about it, and to others, and reading as much about it as possible, and visualizing what it would be like to be successful (seeing the benefits of the goal in my head), I get excited about a goal. Once I’ve done that, it’s just a matter of carrying that energy forward and keeping it going.
  7. Build anticipation. This will sound hard, and many people will skip this tip. But it really works. It helped me quit smoking after many failed attempts. If you find inspiration and want to do a goal, don’t start right away. Many of us will get excited and want to start today. That’s a mistake. Set a date in the future — a week or two, or even a month — and make that your Start Date. Mark it on the calendar. Get excited about that date. Make it the most important date in your life. In the meantime, start writing out a plan. And do some of the steps below. Because by delaying your start, you are building anticipation, and increasing your focus and energy for your goal.
  8. Print it out, post it up. Print out your goal in big words. Make your goal just a few words long, like a mantra (”Exercise 15 mins. Daily”), and post it up on your wall or refrigerator. Post it at home and work. Put it on your computer desktop. You want to have big reminders about your goal, to keep your focus and keep your excitement going. A picture of your goal (like a model with sexy abs, for example) also helps.

4 Motivational Tips to Help You Achieve Your Goals

By Chris Stankovich

Often the difference between “average” and “great” athletes is an understanding of sports motivation. It also helps to have some great weapons in your arsenal that can help you take your game to the next level.

First, we must distinguish between the two types of motivation that impact athletic performance—intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic Motivation

This type of motivation drives you because you love to compete—so you stay longer at practice to perfect a skill or perform extra sets in the weight room to boost your strength. Your love for your sport and your desire to become the best athlete you can be are your motivators, regardless of whether the coach notices you.

Extrinsic Motivation

The opposite of intrinsic motivation, this involves doing something to achieve a certain outcome or receive a specific reward, like turning in a bonus project for extra credit in a course. You might not love (or even like) doing the extra work, but you are prompted to do it because you want the reward.

Both types of motivation are important to athletic success. Below are additional motivational tips to help you increase your mental toughness and reach new levels in your game.

1. Set Goals With Rewards

Develop goals that deliver a reward when you achieve them. The rewards do not have to be big or expensive, but they should be motivating. For example, you might hold off watching a specific movie until you have completed two-a-days.

2. Make It Meaningful

The goals you develop for yourself should have value. In other words, setting goals that others want you to achieve is nice, but they will only go so far unless you personally buy into them.

3. Focus on Love of the Game

Understand the reasons why you play your sport and focus your attention on them. For example, if you are motivated to be the first in your family to make a varsity sports team, be sure to write that down as a goal and think about it every day to keep your intrinsic motivation high.

4. Make a Contract With Yourself

In psychology, if you set up a reward to enjoy once you reach a goal, it’s called a “contingency contract.” The “contract” ensures you don’t cheat and give yourself the reward before you achieve the goal. Although it would be easy to cheat (no one but you will hold you accountable), if you want to reach your full athletic potential, it’s important to develop self-discipline.