How to Make 2024 the Year You Build the Life You Want: Week 3

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Jamie Simpher
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Published on Feb 16, 2024

Week 3: Constructing routines to support your goals

If you’re trying to build a life that makes you feel fulfilled and inspired, you need to set ambitious goals. The previous post in this series, “Setting Meaningful Goals,” can help you develop goals that ladder up to your values, creating a roadmap to living your best life.

But we’ve all developed ambitious New Year’s resolutions before, only to abandon them early on in the year because they’re too daunting.

If you want to achieve your goals, the key is to create a routine that helps you get there. If I want to write a novel this year, I need to write every day. If I want to be in good physical shape, I need to work out every day.

Three important criteria for good habits:

  • Understand how it will help you achieve your goal
  • Make it small and realistic
  • Give yourself a reward for completing it. (This can be very small. Honestly, for me, it’s the satisfaction of checking something off my list. It just has to feel good.)

The point of a routine is to take the choice out of it. Eliminate the decision fatigue. You know that little voice in your head that says, “Maybe I’ll skip the gym today”? Once you’ve built a routine that works for you, you can silence that voice. You go to the gym because it’s a habit. There’s not even a question; it’s just what you do.

Here’s an example of the routine I built for myself to support my goal of exercising regularly. I started with the very general idea that I wanted to work out more, and from that, I created an action plan with scheduled space on my calendar:

Action plan

Identifying Steps

Of course, some goals may not be the kind you create habits around. For example, one of my goals for 2023 was to visit Spain. To make that happen, I needed to identify what steps I needed to take. I ended up with a list of the following steps:

  1. Coordinate with my partner about what dates we should go for
    1. Research the weather in Spain at different times of the year
  2. Request off work
  3. Book our flights
  4. Decide where in Spain we want to visit and for how long
    1. Research activities in different cities
    2. Roughly plan out each day of the trip
  5. Book accommodations
  6. Figure out how we’ll get from city to city
  7. Book trains, rental cars, etc
  8. Book any activities that require reservations
  9. Collect all ticket stubs, reservation information, etc, in one place so we know where to look for it
  10. Pack our bags!

Then, I set deadlines for myself and put them into my calendar so nothing would slip through the cracks.

This may or may not be your trip-planning style. I’m not saying you necessarily have to go through all of these steps to take a vacation. It’s just an example of how you can break down a larger goal into smaller pieces and assign them space in your life, even if it’s not the kind of goal that requires habit-building.

Tracking your progress

Breaking your goals down into manageable steps and supportive habits makes it easier to achieve small victories along the way. In the next post, we’ll talk about how to track your progress, check in with yourself, and make adjustments as you build a Boundless life.