16 Goals You CAN Achieve in 2016

Photographer-Alfred Sarpeh

1. Do something that makes you uncomfortable or maybe even scares you. So you've proclaimed to yourself and the world (with the help of your social media accounts) that this is going to be your year, your best year, or your most successful year yet-I think we've heard it all! But are you actually willing to do what is necessary to make this year amazing? Success is not something that you fall into, it is something that you grow into, and growth requires stretching. If you really want this year to be as fruitful and amazing as it can be, you will have to do some things that will make you uncomfortable. Take some risks, start having more authentic conversations that allow you to truly express yourself instead of always telling people what they want to hear, take on that project at work that scares the heck out of you because you think you can't handle it. Whatever it is, DO IT!!! Doing something scary allows you to become a braver and stronger person. The further you venture out of your comfort zone, the more you grow. That growth will lead to increased confidence, a wider skill set, and allow you to actually make this year better than last year because you dared to do something different. So expand the borders of your comfort zone and bear witness to an incredible year!
2. Stop measuring your success with the accomplishments of other people. Everyone's growth process is unique and good things take time to achieve. If you desire to reach a certain level of success, set measurable short term and long term goals you can attain. Take the necessary measures to keep yourself accountable for accomplishing those goals, whether it is writing them down, asking a friend to be your accountability partner, or finding a mentor that has attained the level of success you are striving for.

3. Execute a plan or actually finish something. You told yourself last year that this would be a proactive year. Well, that means it's time to take those grand plans you meticulously constructed and bring them to life. Remember that time waits for no one, and the more you delay a start date, the harder it is to begin. You already laid the foundation for your plan, now it's time to make it happen. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help! There is nothing like accomplishing something on your own, but there is also value in teamwork and organizing a group of people who can help you find the resources you need to bring your plan to fruition.

4. Take a break/vacation! Hard work and ambition are crucial for success, but you will run yourself ragged if you work constantly. Trust me I know, because being burnt out is not a good feeling. It is impossible to perform at 100 percent if you don't take time to relax and recharge yourself. My friends will tell you I'm a big believer in vacation and I must go abroad at least once a year every year. While I am an advocate for international traveling, I understand that not everyone has the means to do so right now. However, you don't have to go far to travel, you can explore your city, state or country. Travel exposes you to the wonders and gems that our world has to offer, it also gives you a break from your regular routine. A staycation can also be satisfying; taking a day off from work just to stay home and relax feels amazing. It allows you to rest and engage in some activities that you don't usually have time for during the work week.

5. Take care of your body. You only get one body so treat it well!  Drink lots of water, eat brown rice, fruits and vegetables (kale is my ultimate favorite vegetable), and pamper your skin.

6. Find a source of strength other than yourself. For me, it's God first and my family/friends. We all get depleted and sometimes we need someone to lean on and encourage us when we get weak.

7. Accept your weaknesses, but learn how to build your strengths. There is something we all need to improve on, so you're lying to yourself if you think you don't have any weaknesses. Be real with yourself and work towards overcoming your weakness, you'll be a better and stronger person because of it. Remember, you can't be great at everything but everyone is great at something.

8. Build your career (if you have not already started). If you're a senior in college and you don't quite know what it is you want to do, take some time to figure it out. No one expects you to have all the answers, but you need to start somewhere. Apply to jobs. If you're not ready for a "real job", look into some post grad internships or fellowships. Or if you would like to pursue a graduate degree, research some programs that appeal to you and apply to them. If you're a freshman, sophomore, or junior in college, look for internships in a field that is of interest to you. Internships are the best way to figure out your likes and dislikes when it comes to choosing a career path. Don't think you have to choose one career just because of your academic background or work history. I've had internships in the law, finance, and the transportation sectors. My bachelor's degree is in finance and I currently work in the logistics division of one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world. The point I'm trying to make is that you have to start somewhere and then build!

9. Help people. We all have gifts and talents, but what good are your gifts is you don't use them positively? Seriously, the only things that can come from helping people are blessings, for both you and them. So share your gifts with the world and witness the outpouring of blessings you will receive.

10. Stop Hiding! Be social and approachable. Say hello to a stranger. Greet everyone with a smile! Am I the only one who thinks its weird when people say hello without smiling?
11. Tackle your debt. Like many Americans with college degrees, I have student loans to remind me that I am indebted to the government for my education. However, I want to pay off my loans as quickly as possible, so I'm upping my student loan payments. I'm paying more than what is required each month so I can clear my debt in less time. The longer you take to pay those loans, the more interest you accrue. Increasing your loan payments may be difficult for some of you depending on your financial situation, but it will also force you to evaluate how you spend your money and hopefully you'll make wiser financial decisions.

12. Know your beliefs and live them boldly. It's hard to take people seriously when they don't know what they stand for. For example, if  you profess to be a Christian, people should not have to guess your religion when they interact with you because your lifestyle will reflect your beliefs. If you subscribe to another religion or have no religion at all, own it and live authentically!

13. Exercise faith. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once described faith as taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase. When you have faith, you believe that nothing is impossible with the help of a higher power. If you believe in God or a higher power, you should exercise faith because you know that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that you may ask or think.
14. Think more positively. When you wake up each day, tell yourself that you are going to have a great day. Yes, life will throw obstacles at you, but you decide how you will approach them. A few months ago, I found myself getting stressed out all the time, so I decided to think about one thing that went well everyday along with something I was grateful for. Sometimes, I even wrote these things down to serve as reminders during moments of adversity. I also set an alarm that goes off everyday reminding me to be grateful. It may sound a bit simple and too easy but since I started doing this I have not had one bad day. Yes, I have experienced some tough days, but I refuse to claim any day as a bad day because something good happens everyday. To claim a bad day is to negate all the positivity that came out of the day.

15. Be forgiving. Holding on to hurt and anger will only harm you in the long run so learn to forgive and make peace with those who have wronged you. You don't have to be friends or necessarily go out of your way to communicate with everyone who has gotten on your bad side, but you CAN release the negative energy you are harboring towards them and bask in the freedom of forgiveness.

16. Don't be lazy. Be intentional about making this year awesome! 
Hat-Rampage via Amazon | Top-Asos | Skirt-Zara | Sneakers- New Balance

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