Time seems to just fly by for me. Maybe that’s because, in addition to my day job with Dovico, I’m often working on side projects like writing an article on the state of WebAssembly or preparing for my upcoming talks at ConFoo in February. I poke my head up and realize that we’re already through January.

This got me thinking, January is typically seen by a lot of people as a chance for a new beginning. It’s a new year so we hit the gym hoping to get that beach body we’ve always wanted. Perhaps we decide to take some courses to advance our career. Maybe the resolution is living a healthier lifestyle or dropping something that we see as a bad habit.

As I started writing this article, I remembered a goal I had where I wanted to take part in the Paris Marathon. I posted the goal on my office wall with a picture of the Arc de triomphe de l’Étoile in Paris, and I was doing a lot of running to get ready for it.

An image of the Arc de triomphe de l’Étoile in Paris that I had posted on my office wall to help in achieving one of my goals.
The Arc de triomphe de l’Étoile in Paris
(no changes were made to the image and the license can be found here: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arc_de_Triomphe,_Paris_21_October_2010.jpg)

Unfortunately, when Covid hit, the local races I had registered for were shut down and so I made plans for the next summer. Just before the next summer’s races were about to happen, they were shut down again. I got a little depressed and stopped practicing.

Whatever the goal, it’s unfortunate that a lot of people, myself included, fail to achieve their resolutions and quickly fall back into their old habits.

Of those who achieve their goals, are there things they do that can help the rest of us out? Here are some recommendations.

7 Tips for Achieving Your Goals

1. Don’t try and do everything at once

Having too many goals can become overwhelming and hard to keep up with. This leads to stress as you try to get everything done. It also leads to a sense of failure if you don’t achieve your goals.

Pick one item that you want to focus on.

Also, bear in mind that life happens. Sometimes other things come up that will need your attention. You need to have room in your schedule to be flexible without having to drop something that you feel is important to your future.

2. Be specific with your goal

Goals like “exercise more” or “write more” are good but are a little too vague. The goal should be something more along the lines of “do a 30-minute walk every day” or “write an article a month”.

The goal should be measurable so that you can break it down into smaller steps if needed and so that you can track your progress.

3. Plan out your goal and be realistic about the time required to achieve it

If the goal is big, it can be hard to reach because it might feel overwhelming. In this case, you need to break it down into manageable steps.

Also, if your goal is big, try to avoid the temptation to get it done as quickly as possible. This is especially important around exercise goals because our bodies need time to adjust to new stresses. If you increase your exercise too quickly, you risk injuries.

4. Write down your goal and indicate why it’s your goal.

We get busy, and, if it’s not a habit yet, we can sometimes forget about it. Put your goal somewhere where you’ll see it every day to help keep it top of mind.

The ‘Why’ of our goal can be an incredible motivator, so I recommend including that with the goal. For example, I want to do a 30-minute walk every day to remain healthy so that I’m around for my children as they grow up.

5. Try to find support

It’s not always easy to find support depending on the goal, but try to find a group you can join or a friend or spouse to come alongside that will help keep you motivated.

As an example, if you’re living with someone and you’re trying to change your eating habits, it’s especially important to have that person supporting you. It wouldn’t be fair to tell them not to bring junk food into the house because your goal may not be their goal. To support you, maybe they could keep the junk food in another room and not eat it in front of you to help remove the temptation.

It’s important to remember that habits aren’t formed overnight. The European Journal of Social Psychology found that, on average, it took 66 days to form a habit. That’s the average, though, and there was a wide range from 18 days for some people all the way to 254 days for others!

We all have different things happening in our lives, with varying levels of support, so don’t be discouraged if something isn’t happening as quickly as you thought it would. You’ll get there.

6. Track your progress

Check things off as you accomplish them. This gives a huge sense of accomplishment, and you can see the progress you’ve made as you get closer to your goal.

7. Review your goals

Avoid looking at the new year as the only time to set resolutions. I’ve seen a number of people fall off the wagon, so to speak, and feel like they’ve missed their chance, so they just give up.

Instead of looking at the new year as the only chance for a new beginning, try looking at each day that way. What small thing can you do today to have the tomorrow you want?

Also, look at today and take stock of where you’re at. Although we want to better our future, it’s important not to miss out on today in the process. Maybe you want to be walking 30 minutes every day, but you’re only doing 5 minutes a day. That’s still an accomplishment compared to not doing any consistent walking before you set your goal.

Finally, set a reminder to periodically look at where you are with your goal because circumstances change. Is this still something you want to do? If it’s still a goal you want to achieve, are there adjustments you need to make? For example, were you too ambitious and perhaps you need to take smaller steps?

In Closing

This isn’t what I typically write about because I’m more comfortable talking about technology. It turns out that this article is as much for me as it is for you.

In reflection, I see how some of the tips would have helped me focus on my goal to run in the Paris Marathon. For example, when forced to work from home, I never put my goals up on my home office wall. I also didn’t surround myself with the support I needed.

With the seven tips in this article, I’m going to renew my focus and start getting back into shape so that I can eventually run in the Paris Marathon.

I hope this article helps you with your goals. If you’re on X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, or Facebook, feel free to let us know how your journey is going.

Gerard Gallant,

CIO of Dovico Software


About the Author

Gerard Gallant is the CIO of Dovico Software. He also maintains their hosted infrastructure, has built out their DevOps solutions, and is a Lead Software Architect. When not at work, you'll still find him coding and researching as he has an insatiable drive to learn. As a huge fan of WebAssembly, he was fortunate to have the opportunity to write a book on the subject: "WebAssembly in Action" (https://www.manning.com/books/webassembly-in-action).

Premium WordPress Themes