This 2020, Set Yourself Up for Success


Since 2018, I’ve started to write my annual resolutions/goals in the form of personal OKRs. I have 4 categories: Personal, Professional, Physical and Phinancial (that last one to keep the P-pun going!) And under each one, I have an objective and loose “key results” that ladder up to that objective.

For 2019, Personal looked something like this:


Mika at the start of 2019 was bright-eyed, hungry and so sure she could realize her goals. But, it’s the end of 2019 &, as you can see that box went unchecked. So did the ~7/9 other goals I had in store for the year. Some were really ambitious so, sure, natural for a few to be left unchecked. But 22% hit rate? Bright-eyed Mika is quite disappointed.

Clearly, this strategy wasn’t working. Luckily, perhaps because the Internet heard my conversations deprecating myself for these unchecked boxes, my social media feed showed two friends who shared lessons from a book called Atomic Habits.

My main takeaway:

Habits & goals are only as good as the systems you put in place to achieve them.

My mistake was merely listing the goal, & not doing the work to set myself up for success. A strategy I’m trying out this 2020 for my list of goals is to focus upfront energy in checking off the system action items under each goal.

The kinds of systems I find helpful are:

  1. Social – find an accountability partner (that you know will actually whip you into shape) or announce your goals to the world
  2. Financial – pay for something, like a race so you’re constantly training or a test so you’re studying all the way up to your test date
  3. Eliminate Barriers – make it SO EASY to instill the habit, it’d be stupid if you were NOT doing it
  4. Association – my therapist, who used to have a lot of writer clients, shared that they associated their writing time while drinking a specific kind of tea, or in a specific corner of their house — any activity or stimuli to help remind them about and keep consistent with their habit

For example, the goal above might turn into something like this:


Now, let’s put it into practice! It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here. I can list all the excuses in the world: long hours at work, random moments in life & everything in between. But I’ve been meaning to get back into writing!

Here’s an example of one of my goals this & the systems I’m setting up:


Oh, look: A few ones checked off already (& after posting this, one more thing to cross out!).

We’ll see at the end of this year how helpful this system turns out to be. Perhaps I’ll write about it & that post will be the one that helps me check this goal off for the year. 🤷‍♀️

What about you? What are your new year goals and how are you setting yourself up for success this 2020?