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5 Ted Talks to watch right now to hit your goals and transform your productivity in 2019

Career expert and Ted Talk speaker Mel Robbins.
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Career expert and Ted Talk speaker Mel Robbins.

You can't wish your ideal life into existence. Real change takes hard work and a concerted effort to get things done. If you feel that you didn't hit all your goals in 2018, use the New Year as a clean slate to transform your life and your approach to productivity to achieve the milestones you've set for yourself.

Don't know where to begin? Start by watching Ted Talks, where experts share powerful insights and strategies on topics like time management and efficiency.

To help you hit the ground running in 2019, CNBC Make It has compiled a list of five Ted Talks that will inspire you to make the changes you need to reach your goals:

1. Set daily intentions

There's a difference between being busy and being productive, according to productivity expert Chris Bailey. You can have a lot on your plate without actually accomplishing anything.

If you find that you're often working hard without seeing the fruits of your labor, Bailey offers a simple solution: set your intentions. Each morning, ask yourself the three main things you want complete by that day's end. Then focus all your attention on achieving those goals.

2. Make small changes

You don't need some magical skill or talent to achieve ambitious dreams, says decision strategist Stephen Duneier. Just make a series of small adjustments in your daily routine. Like investments, marginal changes compound over time and can lead to big results.

If your goal is to lose weight, for instance, you can take a one hour walk during your lunch break or trek to work instead of driving. Small adjustments like these add up in the long run and make lofty goals far more manageable.

3. Start moving — now

Everyone goes through periods where they don't feel motivated. But if you wait until you feel like putting in the work, you'll never effect change. Getting what you truly want takes "activation energy," says career expert Mel Robbins. That's what scientists call the force required to go from doing things on autopilot to creating something new.

Tomorrow, force yourself to get out of bed 30 minutes earlier or to leave the comfort of your couch for exercise. Real change comes once we put action and movement behind our ideas, says Robbins.

4. Think long-term

Most people make decisions based only on urgency (how soon does this matter) and importance (how much does this matter). But to really maximize your time, you must add a third element, says self-discipline strategist Rory Vaden: significance, or how long will this matter.

As you prioritize day-to-day tasks, ask yourself, "what can I do today that would better my future?" Vaden uses online bill pay as an example. Though setting up automatic bill payments can be time consuming, you save far more time in the long run.

Look for ways to automate or delegate tasks in your daily life so you can invest those hours into projects you really care about.

5. Schedule your priorities

Stop telling yourself that you don't have time to do X, Y and Z. Instead, say, "I don't do X, Y and Z because it's not a priority." Most people have pockets of free time they aren't putting to good use, says time management expert Laura Vanderkam. Maximizing this free time is simply a matter of planning in advance.

Every Friday, jot down your priorities for the week ahead, says Vanderkam. Then find areas in your calendar where you can schedule those tasks in. If you ride a bus or train to work, for example, you can use that time to read a book. If you want more family time, you can eat breakfast with your spouse or kids.

No matter how busy you are, says Vanderkam, you can build the life you want when you focus on what matters.

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