Something about setting goals and resolutions sparks a feeling inside you like nothing else can. Whether you do a “restart” at the beginning of a new year — at the beginning of each new month — or on your birthday — each beginning can be a fresh start, a clean slate, and a chance to leave the past misfortunes in the past. Any new start is a new beginning — and your life begins anew. What better time to set ambitious goals and dream of what your new goals can bring?

When figuring out your goals and resolutions for the year ahead, it helps to have a plan in place to achieve them. This is when a calendar comes in handy. Here are five ways to use your calendar to meet your goals and resolutions.

1. Set Important Deadlines

Using a calendar can come in handy when you want to set deadlines for yourself. Setting attainable goals, hitting small milestones along the way, and meeting a deadline is a great feeling. Meeting a deadline is also motivating. It builds momentum for you to continue working hard towards your future goals.

Proving to yourself that you can do anything you set your mind to is important when goal setting. Personal growth isn’t always easy, but celebrating small victories certainly helps. Many calendars and scheduling software such as Calendar, Google Calendar, and Microsoft Calendar make it easy to set deadlines that won’t slip your mind.

For example, let’s say that one of your goals is to save more money this year. You can set milestone deadlines to stay focused on your goal. Set up an event on the day of your deadline and title it something such as “$500 in Savings Account.” You can set as many reminders as you’d like to ensure you’re on track and progressing.

2. Track Your Progress With Check-Ins

If you’re setting multiple goals for yourself (which is super easy to do with a calendar, by the way), check-ins are helpful. A check-in is another event you can add to your calendar occasionally. However, you use it as a time to reflect rather than treating it like a hard deadline. Ask yourself if you’re on track to achieve your goals and meet upcoming deadlines.

Check-ins force you to ask the tough questions: am I staying disciplined and doing everything possible to reach my goals? Am I working towards every goal, or only putting effort towards some? Check-ins also serve as a good reminder of all the progress that you’ve made. You’ll know if you’re on the right track, and you’ll have a better understanding of why. You can use this time to look at your daily habits and see which are helping vs. hindering your success. You’ll notice that some habits boost productivity while others put you behind.

3. Utilize Recurring Tasks

The ability to make any task or event recurring is one of many reasons why online calendars are so beneficial. Developing a habit isn’t easy; it requires discipline and pushing through even when you don’t want to do something. But remembering to do something every day or at the same time every week is half the battle. If you have a busy schedule, these things can slip your mind.

Setting up recurring tasks/events on your calendar makes it easier to achieve your goals. It helps you take the small steps required to achieve big goals. For example, if one of your goals is to lose weight this year, you must have a plan. A plan requires much more than just the goal itself. It requires small milestones and hard work along the way.

For example, recurring tasks can be helpful if you want to lose 10 pounds by a set date. Perhaps you set aside time every week to make your grocery list. During this time, you can ensure that your list includes healthy foods rather than junk food. You can also use the notes feature in your calendar to add recipe ideas or reminders of items to buy. Maybe you have a goal to work out five times a week. Recurring events can be scheduled for workouts so that you a) don’t forget and b) develop a habit. Having a schedule feels good when you’re trying to achieve goals and stay organized. And the more you use recurring tasks, the less manual work you must do.

4. Get an Accountability Partner

Setting a goal for yourself, no matter how big or small, it helps to have an accountability partner. Someone who keeps you on track and shares the same vision as you. Any type of goal or resolution can be complex to keep or attain — but you can reset them on the first of each month. It’s common to feel highly motivated and overconfident when you first make your goals, but you will undoubtedly face adversity at some point. This can derail your success, or you can find a way to stay motivated.

Consider sharing your calendar with them once you find an accountability partner for one of your resolutions. Shared calendars are helpful in workplaces for obvious reasons (team scheduling, planning projects, etc.). But they can also be accommodating in your personal life when goal setting.

Let’s say you and a friend have health and wellness goals that you are about ready to commit to. You could enlist them to be your workout buddy. Sharing your calendar means your friend can see the days and times of all scheduled workouts. You can add details about the workout to the event notes and set reminders for it. Not only will you be on the same page, but you’ll be as efficient as possible during your workout! This is the beauty of shared calendars.

5. Plan Your Days and Stick to a Schedule

It is imperative to plan every-last-detail of your new goal and plan —  if you want to stick to a schedule. It can seem like a lot at first, and you may even notice that your calendar looks crowded. However, daily planning for daily goals is immensely helpful if you use a calendar in your day-to-day life. And when working towards goals, a calendar should be a part of your everyday life.

If the busy look of your calendar is starting to overwhelm you, some solutions can help. Color coding your calendar is a great way to stay organized and make your workload appear more manageable. Ensure you assign meaning to each color (i.e., red for work tasks, blue for exercise). Color coding allows you to understand what a day has in store with just a quick glance. This is super helpful when you have a busy schedule, and you’re trying to tackle goals.

A calendar is an amazing tool to help you stay organized and plan for any important events in your life. But don’t underestimate the value of a calendar when setting goals and staying on track to achieve those goals. Calendars are especially helpful if you are seriously committed to specific goals and resolutions. So, when you set your goal or goals, and you feel unstoppable — don’t let anything get in your way. Set ambitious goals and use a calendar to aid in your success.

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