It’s easy to be swept up in the ‘New Year, New Me’ craze, set a whole bunch of goals and then completely forget about them by March. The end of a year is a great time to set goals but there are a few ways to ensure your goals are realistic, reasonable and achievable that’ll keep you on track. Today we will discuss how to set goals and keep them.
I set goals every year, I still have a physical diary and planner which I use on a daily basis because I’m not a huge technology person. Most diaries have a few blank pages at the back and that’s where I choose to write down my goals as it’s easy to go back to them and they hang around me all year. Keep your goals somewhere you access often so they don’t get swept into a drawer or used as scrap paper. Taking a screenshot and making it your phone background could be good motivation or attaching the list to the fridge or next to a mirror can also help. By seeing the list often, you are reminded of the changes you wish to make and can keep focused whilst you head towards them.
A lot of our goals are quite drastic changes such as quitting smoking, starting regular exercise or new eating habits. Going cold turkey isn’t the best way to make big changes and you’re more likely to return to your old habits. Instead, create a plan of baby steps to ease you into a transition. This can mean cutting down your cigarettes month by month, starting with stretches instead of hitting the gym 4 times a week to start with, and by lowering portion sizes. By creating smaller steps over the course of the year, you are more likely to reach your goal and stick with it. Resolutions aren’t about quitting a habit instantly but by trying to be your goal person by the end of the year so take as many baby steps as you wish.
Tip: set monthly/weekly goals. I use the year plan in my diary to write exercise goals and plans that I try to stick to.
As baby steps are easier to achieve that the overall goal, over the year you will be filled with a sense of achievement rather than looking back by April and realizing you stopped exercising and are still snacking. Spread out your baby steps and celebrate when you reach them, don’t get discouraged if your body isn’t keeping up. It’s ok to rest or lesson your exercise for example if your body is struggling but keep going forward. Achieving baby steps keeps you moving forward and motivated to reach your ultimate goal.
Don’t ever feel like you have to share your goals with people. My goals are very personal and I like to keep them to myself. If someone asks, you can pick and choose what you want to say but it also gives you the chance to keep your dreams quiet and work towards them at your own pace. Keeping your goals quiet also means people won’t constantly ask how you are going, or try to outdo you.
Don’t be afraid to set really large goals, I like to call these the ‘marathon goals’. Some dreams are bigger than others and can take more than a year to achieve. A lot of us are afraid of failure but just because you didn’t reach a goal this year, it doesn’t mean you haven’t set the foundations to reach the goal eventually. Goals like this can be starting a degree or having a huge career goal. It’s ok to have the same goal every year as long as you are actively working towards it. A year is a lot of time, by starting now, your marathon goals will be closer this time next year and you will be so happy you have set solid foundations. Don’t get discouraged or lose faith in yourself. Remember that you are always moving and changing in your dreams and daily rituals so keep that in mind as you plan.
As time goes on, your goals may change so feel free to change and alter them as the year goes on. When I write my goals, I leave a blank line or two between each one just in case I need to alter. I’ve sometimes reached a goal within a matter of weeks and need to alter the goal to be more challenging. This can also go the opposite way, if you need to lower a goal or give yourself more time, by editing your goals you can better get into a mindset of trying to achieve your best life. In saying this, don’t lessen your goals when you are feeling discouraged or after a short amount of time.
Set goals that look after your mental health. I know aiming for an hour a week to just self-care can sound like a lot to ask, but by switching off from the world you can actually become more productive in the long run and build up your mental strength. Looking after yourself and taking time to self-care provides you with heaps of benefits and can be really rewarding. As mentioned in previous blogs, (here and here), self-care can really help you achieve your goals so it should be used as a stepping stone and foundation for all your yearly goals.
If you need more help, there are some great video’s online that will show you how to take your goals and make another plan to achieve them. These are great to watch after you have set out your initial goals. I hope you all have a great time planning your future goals for 2019 and that the year treats you well.