The New Year Fairy's Secret

by Jessie Gardner January 16, 2018

There’s something the New Year's fairy didn’t tell you, and it’s time you knew.

With the new year comes a huge emphasis on setting goals. I don’t know about you, but I lost count of the amount of emails, posts on social media and conversations about setting goals and I’ve yet to count much since that includes useful ways to stick with it and accomplish that goal.

So, here’s the New Year fairy’s untold secret: The determining factor in whether or not you will achieve your 2018 goals is not about setting the goal, writing it in your planner or carving it into a willow tree. It is the daily actions you take or don’t take that will decide if you will make your 2018 goal a reality.

We set our goals from an inspired, idealistic and optimistic mindset, but often forget to back it up with the new habits we need to introduce to make it happen and make it real.

You will never change your life, until you change what you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” - John C. Maxwell

So, for a moment, let's put on our success face. My goal with this piece is first to borrow the New Year fairy's wand, twirl around a few times, and second, to give you 5 helpful ways to create habits to achieve your 2018 dream.

For anyone who knows me and knows HeySoul, rituals are my jam. I’m a firm believer in fact that the small and brave actions (habits) we weave into our daily lives, shape our lives. The work is in what we choose to do daily, not just on the first of the year. The daily commitment is where the work is and multiple neuroscience studies show that ritual and habit forming is one of the best and most effective ways to create change in our lives.

Here are 5 Ways to Create Habits to Accomplish Your 2018 Goals:

+ 1 : Start small. Brave doesn’t have to be big. When we set big goals, we often think the action needs to match in size when actually we are more likely to do something if it’s snackable and doable. Elizabeth Gilbet tells are story in her book, Better Than Before, that her mother committed to exercising daily and doing a two mile, two loop jog each morning. Her mom stopped trying after the first week because, in her mind, it just was too much to do in the morning. Elizabeth encouraged her to just do one loop and see how she felt. If she wasn’t up for it, to stop there and slowly build to the full two loop jog. Start small and work your way up.

+ 2 : Make it daily. The more chances you have to dance with your goal, the better. Your brain actively responds to repetitive behaviors and will wire accordingly. If your goal is to consistently turn off your phone at least an hour before bed and read every night instead, just think that the more you do it, the easier it becomes. You create new connections in your brain that this is your new routine, you get joy from doing it and therefore are more likely to do it again. When you make it a consistent habit, you decrease the amount of energy it takes you to decide to do it - and trust me - we spend a lot of time thinking about if we will do it our not. When we keep it consistent it becomes our default and the hesitation and distraction we often face when trying to keep commitments lessens significantly over time. That workout, skill you wanted to learn, and dance move you wanted to perfect becomes a non-negotiable in your life over time.

+ 3 : Allow imperfection. Because, let’s be honest, part of being human is not hitting a homerun every at bat. Sometimes we think if we miss one day, one workout, one meditation, one day of eating healthy or lose an hour scrolling through the news feed, we quit. We stop because we broke the chain. The key is to set the tone and expectation that some days will just be off, whether the raging flu hits or something unexpected happens that gets in the way, that there is always a new now and we can start again. Allow some blemishes along the way.

+ 4 : A.H.A. This truly was an a-ha moment when one of my favorite life coaches, Tracy Kennedy (you can follow her here) shared this with me. It stands for Awareness Halt Action and here’s how it works.

  • Awareness: When you feel like you are getting distracted or derailed from your commitment, instead of giving in right away to that phone call, facebook update or the 15 other tabs you have open, invite consciousness to your party - that’s the awareness - being aware that in that moment, you are faced with a distraction. Often we bypass awareness and give in. This gives you space to become aware it’s happening. 
  • Halt: Take a moment to think about all your options in that moment. You can either get distracted or you can stick with your intended action. The point isn’t whether or not you choose to stay committed or give in to the distraction, it’s that you took the time to think about your options and you now have the space to make a conscious choice. Just in the act of taking a moment, we significantly increase the likelihood that we will stay on track because our consciousness is hosting the party.
  • Action: Once you’ve made your choice, take action from a conscious mindset. Don’t stay stuck, take the next step.

+ 5 : Make it unbelievably fun.Think about how you can make your goal fun, exciting and something you want to do. Whether it’s a new coffee cup with your favorite coffee to start your new 5:30am wake-up routine, a devilishly good book for your evening read (instead of instagram updates), finding a new trail or creating an amazing playlist for your daily run… listen to what fun means to you and integrate it into your ritual.

So, whether you’ve stayed true to your resolution path or temporarily gone off-roading, my hope is that you can use these tools and strategies to keep your goals alive, well and shaping the life you want to live every single day.

I’d love to hear what your 2018 goal is and even more so, what daily ritual you are introducing to your life to make it a reality.


Founder, HeySoul



My latest podcast interview was with the amazing Dallin Nead of Content Supply. You can listen to it here.

If you want more HeySoul in your life, follow me on instagram @heysoul__ or Facebook at HeySoul and we could be like peas and carrots. :)

If you need to find calm in the whirlwind of life, you can download my free guide to 101 Ways to Find Calm In the Chaos here.

Jessie Gardner
Jessie Gardner