Setting Mindful Goals for 2019

3 simple tips to help create and stick to your resolutions this year

Image by Dominik Korolczuk

Two weeks of 2019 have already past us. How have your new year resolutions and goals been coming along?

Did you know that about 80–92% of people fail to stick to their new year resolutions every year? That means about 9/10 people you see on Facebook, Instagram, and other social channels will fail to achieve what they set out to do in the last few weeks. Many become discouraged and simply eliminate resolutions altogether.

Just like anything else, goal-setting and achievement take practice. It also takes adjusting and fine-tuning along the way to find the process that works best for you.

After digging through piles of self-help books on resolutions and goal-setting, I found three key strategies that have helped me tremendously:

1. Set a Theme

I love to start with a theme for the year. They are typically one-word or phrase themes that are easy to remember, implement and recall.

Last year, my theme was on “letting go”. I was going through a lot of medical issues that were taking a toll on both my physical and mental health. A big part of why I chose the theme was to focus 2018 on my healing. By being more mindful and surrendering to my medical conditions, I could truly be healed and seek healing.

Other years, my themes have been “hustle” (work hard), “patience” (surrendering), and “kindness” (relationships).

By choosing a theme, you create a focus for the year. Prioritizing is key to achieving goals.

Do: Think about one key aspect of your life that you want to work on for this upcoming year. Set it as your theme for the year. Focus on one theme and prioritize it.

2. Create a Wheel of Life

Wheel of Life

I was first introduced this concept by Tony Robbins — what he calls Wheel of Life. It is an inventory of various “pie slices” of your life used to set holistic goals. The idea is to create a life in balance. Your goals should touch on all areas of your life.

These are highly customizable and personalized based on your own life and focus. I have seen authors with as little as four and up to 11 areas.

After years of adjusting, here is my Wheel of Life:

1. Career & Vision
(What is my work and contribution to the world?)

2. Personal Development
(How am I growing my intellect and my character traits?)

3. Health
(How am I staying physically healthy?)

4. Finance
(What is my level of abundance?)

5. Spirit & Contribution
(How am I connected to my spirit, faith, values, and how am I giving back?)

6. Adventure & Play
(What are my hobbies and things outside of work?)

7. Relationships
(How am I cultivating relationships with friends, family, and in romance?)

For each category, I create 1–3 goals for the year I want to accomplish and a few milestones I want to hit.

For example, in “Health”, I have as a goal “To reduce gluten, dairy, and soy” for the year and as a milestone “To get off of my stomach medications by end of the year”.

I also utilize my theme for the year as a lens to create my specific goals. My theme for 2019 is “Mindfulness” and under each of my Wheel of Life categories, I have a few goals on how I can become more mindful in that specific category.

Do: Assess and create your Wheel of Life. What are the areas you want to focus on? What are your categories? Then, create a few goals and milestones under each one. Remember to integrate your theme.

3. Weekly Reflections

A key part of achieving goals is with regular reflections. These moments help to provide insight into how you are tracking towards your goal and an opportunity to adjust.

Each week, for about an hour, I reflect on my Wheel of Life via Evernote sheet.

Evernote grade sheet for 2019

Each Wheel of Life category is ranked from one to five points. (1: lowest, 5 highest) I do this across each category and have a score for the week.

I typically look back at previous weeks to see how I am trending in each category.

When I am hitting 5s consecutively—amazing! I may add another goal to challenge myself.

However, if I am only getting 1–2 points each week in a category, I adjust. The goals and milestones set are just not working. I will either remove a few goals to focus on a few or to change the goals entirely.

One great way to adjust a goal is to focus on effort.

Previously, I had a set a goal of reading 20 books for the year. I found myself reading longer books and my resolution was not on-pace for months (resulting in 1s and 2s). I adjusted my milestone-based goal (# of books) into an effort-based goal (# of min reading each night) and was able to get my scores back up. This became easier to track and more realistic as a goal.

I highly recommend adjusting goals immediately if you are noticing a pattern of not achieving them week over week. The sooner you can adjust, the sooner you can set more achievable goals.

By reflecting on your Wheel of Life each week, you can see how you are ranking in each area of your life.

Do: Create a weekly routine where you reflect on your goals. Evaluate, rank and adjust.

Ultimately, I recommend you to create your own system that works for you. Try it, see what sticks and Frankenstein your own goal-setting system to incorporate this new year.

Let’s all try to make more mindful goals so we don’t end up as a part of the statistic this year.

Do you have any tips for goals? What are your Wheel of Life categories? So curious to hear!

As always — thank you for reading! Your time is extremely valuable and I appreciate you taking the time to read.

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Hope you have a beautiful day ahead. You deserve it!


Instruction: Mix equal parts of life hacker, designer, developer and productivity nerd. Sprinkle a dash of coffee and cupcakes. Best served fresh.