How to Make 2018 Your Best Year Yet + Free Goal Planning Guide

Ok, so 2017 maybe wasn't a lit as you thought it would be.

You had all these high hopes of losing weight, getting a boo, finding a new job, and moving out of your apartment, but none of that happened.

Before you knew it, it was Black Friday and you were looking up like, “Crap! It’s about to be December.”

Girl, I completely understand. Been there, done that, came home with the unproductive trophy more than once.

Here’s the thing though… You just KNEW 2017 was going to be your year. I mean, you started off the new year with #newyearnewme and everything! You purged your Facebook friend's list because there we people who just weren’t coming with you into the New Year.

But now it’s December, and though you’ve kept those people out of your life, there’s nothing new about you. Same weight, same job, and still living in that apartment paying too much for rent.


Now you’re sitting here wondering what you did wrong. How did time slip you by? How did you not accomplish those goals that you said that you would? Furthermore, how is "she" out here living it up and i'm not!

My guess is that those resolutions that you made for the year weren’t actually goals in the first place. They were just hopes.

Hope is cute and all, but hope without a strategy is just a wish. What you need to for 2018 to be your best year yet is strategy.

And based on your 2017, here's what strategy is not:

  • Your wish list of things you want to accomplish
  • Merely writing things down to-do items in an overpriced planner and putting a cute sticker beside it
  • Tweeting #hustle, #grind, #makingmoves but not actually doing anything
  • Praying that things will happen, but not doing anything to make it happen

Don’t get me wrong, having a list of things you want to accomplish is great. Having a cute planner with stickers is so millennial. Tweeting for your crew to know that you have aspirations is nice and praying is vital, but each of those, alone, produces absolutely NOTHING.

While you’re doing all of that, both time and opportunity are passing you by and success doesn’t come to those who waste time and miss opportunities.

Success doesn’t come to those who waste time and miss opportunities.

To answer your question about why you didn’t have a lit, productive, or goal crushing’s because you thought that those things where a strategy to get your there. Sorry, sis. It’s not.

Don't worry, though. I got you! I’m here to get you right and #winning in 2018. But first, let me be clear about what a strategy is.

Strategy is:

  • Creating a list of goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time bound (SMART)
  • Creating a plan to accomplish your goals by doing specific actions
  • Taking all things into considerations-- costs, time, difficulty, value, risks, etc.-- for achieving your goals
  • Looking at the long term and short term benefits & risks of what you want to accomplish
  • Establishing a method of accountability for completing those specific actions
  • Evaluating and planning for resources that are needed to achieve your goals
  • Putting controls and systems in place to sustain your success

So, when you look back at your 2017, which category did your #goals fall into? Strategic or nah? If you didn't reach any goals, I'm going to bet on "nah".

Strategy is what it takes to get you from scrolling through your timeline and comparing your life to the girl who’s out there getting it to being your own #goals. It’s the secret sauce that puts some spice in your life. 

So what exactly do you need to do to make 2018 you best year yet?

7 Steps to Setting & Accomplishing Goals

1. Reflect.

Before you even start scribbling down those infamous New Year’s resolutions, first do a reflection of 2017. By reflecting, I mean reviewing those things that you wanted to accomplish and evaluating why you didn't accomplish them. Outside of strategy, what held you back? Did you spend too much time watching TV? Didn’t save up enough money? Figure out what didn’t work so that you don’t repeat it in 2018.

2. Be SMART.

Good riddance to the resolutions and hello to SMART goals! Resolutions are more or less statements of what you want to do without a clear plan to actually do it. So, in order to accomplish your goals, you have to be SMART about it. This means that they have to be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time bound. If your goals are missing any of these elements they will not be accomplished. Here’s an example of a bad goal versus a good one:

Lose 20 lbs
Lose 20lbs by February 2 by exercising 30 mins a day for 5 days a week.

Can you see the difference? The first one is just a wish...kind of like, "ok, and??", but the second explicitly states what you want to accomplish, when you want to accomplish it by, and what realistic actions you’re going to take to make it happen.

3. Determine threat vs opportunity.

I’ll admit that this is straight textbook from the world of continuous improvement. Whenever you’re venturing to do something that requires an investment (time included), you need to understand the value of doing it and the consequence of not doing it over both long and short term periods. Goals are the perfect time to exercise this methodology and losing weight is a great example, 1. Because that’s typically on most people’s goal list and 2. It has its inherent risks and benefits. Here’s how you would evaluate it:

Short Term threat of Not Doing It:
1. Continuous body aches from too much weight
2. Limited mobility
3. Issues finding clothes

Long Term threat of Not Doing It:
1. Low self confidence
2. Continued health problems
3. Diabetes

Short Term Opportunity (Benefit) of Doing It:
1. Better shopping experiences
2. More mobility
3. More Energy

Long Term Opportunity (Benefit) of Doing It:
1. Better health
2. Potential to live longer & enjoy future generations
3. Overall better quality of life

This thought process gives you a holistic view of what you’re trying to accomplish. It also helps you to understand where your goals may be conflicting. For example, if you’re trying to pay off a massive amount of debt-- say student loans-- it may by a direct threat to your goal of trying to travel abroad in 2018. Or, your goal of trying to start a business may be a direct short term threat to you spending more time with your family. See what this steps does? Begin looking at your goals from a holistic perspective to understanding how they impact each other. When you do this, you’ll get clarity on what should be a short term, get it down now goal, versus a long term, future goal.

4. Consider the costs.

Nothing in life is free. And for those of you with the, “Salvation is free”... Honey, Jesus paid his LIFE for you. So NOTHING is free, not even attaining your goals. Now is the time to look at your goals and weigh the costs. Not only is this being smart, but it’s biblical (Luke 14:28). If you’re on the losing weight track, consider the costs of buying work out clothes, equipment, DVDs, or a gym membership. If you’re trying to start a business, know the start up costs (like incorporation & registration fees, domain costs, etc.). If you’re trying to be more productive, is that going to require that you purchase a planner? Know the cost of everything that you want to do, write it down, and plan for it! That brings me to step 5.

5. Plan your resources.

After determining the costs to complete your goals, it’s time to start planning and preparing for those costs. This means budgeting!! But, let me be clear. Money isn’t the only resource that you’ll need to reach your goals. People are resources as well. So be sure to create a list of the people that you’ll need to meet or work with to achieve your goals in 2018.

6. Find an accountability partner.

Now that you’ve created these smart goals, weighed the costs, and planned your resources, it’s time to hold yourself accountable to achieving them. Girl, you didn’t do all of that upfront work just to not actually attain your goals. The best way to hold yourself accountable is to share them with someone else who will make sure you follow through on them. That person is your accountability partner. I break down why you need one inthis blog post. Basically, you can’t do this alone. You have to enlist help if you want this to be your best year yet.

7. Put controls & monitors in place.

The most sabotaging thing that you can do to attaining your goals is not putting controls in place to ensure that you maintain success. This is the step that everyone tends to forget, which is why those pounds start creeping back on us after we’ve lost them. Can I get a witness?? You must have systems in place to ensure that you don’t revert back to old habits and to monitor where you are on a consistent basis so that any deviation can be caught and corrected as soon as possible. If you’re trying to save money, your system may be to automatically transfer a certain amount from your paycheck to an interest yielding (get that money!) account that you don’t see. The control here is automation. To monitor, you’d check your account monthly to see how you’re trending to your savings goal. If, for some reason, you’re not hitting your monthly targets, you can make adjustments immediately to stay on track. You must have a control in place to ensure that your success is sustainable.

Let's clear the slate and forget all about how your 2017 didn't go as planned and get started on your best year yet. These steps are the framework for creating and achieving your goals for 2018 and beyond!

So peep this... I’ve created the 2018 Guide to Defining and Accomplishing Your Goals that outlines the 7 steps that I listed above. Grab your copy and start filling out this guide ASAP to start making 2018 your best year yet!