It’s that time of year again. 2018 is soon upon us and everyone will be starting to make their New Year’s Resolutions, their goals for the new year of how they’ll change and what they’ll do. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for people making goals and achieving them, I myself am doing the same thing. However, I think that most people don’t know how to go about creating realistic goals that they can stick to as the year passes on. I mean you all have heard the jokes…and if you haven’t, see the memes below.
It’s funny, but true. But I don’t think it has to be this way. That’s why I want to share with you my top 5 tips for creating goals in hopes of encouraging you to write good goals that you’ll be able to actually plan, work for, and achieve!
1. See Goals Simplistically
If you view your resolutions for yourself as a daunting task or a huge deal, you’re likely going to quit out of fear. This also means that New Year’s Resolutions don’t have to only start January 1st. I am a firm believer that you don’t have to wait until the end of one year/beginning of the next to make a positive change in your life. However, if you make a big deal about your goals being New Year’s, you’re going to think you have to wait around until the next year to start them. Instead, think of your goals as just that…simply goals for you to achieve in the coming year, not only to start during a certain period. Also, seeing your goals simplistically voids the all-or-nothing principle, where if you mess up on just one tiny part of your goal you’re done for the year. WRONG! It’s not a big deal if you mess up because goals are just a work in progress for you to work on piece-by-piece all year-long. If you mess up, simply get back on track or start over–even if that means it’s August. Bottom line: Don’t make too big a deal out of your goals.
2. Make Them Realistic and Specific
This is probably my most important tip. All too often people make resolutions; however, they make them so unrealistic that they soon get discouraged and quit. Making realistic goals is so important to actually sticking to what you said you were going to do. What exactly is realistic is going to depend on the goal, the situation, your resources and past experiences, etc. Also, creating specific goals will only help further your accurate achievement–the more specific the better. For example, let’s say someone put their goal as “lose weight”. Does this mean 5 pounds or 50 pounds? Without being specific, there is no end goal in mind. So now let’s say someone says they want to lose 20 pounds, (yay for specific), but doing so in 1 month is unrealistic. If someone set that as their goal, and one month later didn’t reach it, they may just give up on the whole thing, when in reality if they had said to lose the weight in 5 months, the situation may have been better. You don’t want to sell yourself short to make it easy to be lackadaisical (saying you’ll lose 20 pounds in the next 3 years) but, you do want to make sure that what you’re setting up for yourself is healthily attainable.
3. Make a Plan
Big goals can be scary and daunting to accomplish. Creating a plan where you break them down into smaller goals, can help you achieve more. Think of them as the stepping-stones to get to your final destination. Making a plan will also help you stay on track so that you can know exactly what to do to reach your goals. For example, I want to eventually be able to do 5 pull-ups in a row. Instead of daunting myself with getting 5 in a row, I’ll break it down. First, I want to be able to do 1 pull-up. Then, I want to be able to do 3 in a row. Then, I will focus on achieving 5 in a row. This of course applies to non-fitness related goals too. Say you want to change your mindset to being more positive/grateful by the end of the year–but this sets no timeline up for how you will achieve that because unfortunately, it won’t magically happen on its own. Instead you break it down: saying that you want to write 2 things you’re grateful for 4/7 days of the week. Then, once you achieve that for a few weeks, change it to 7/7 days of the week. Then, whenever something negative happens, you decide you’ll stop and think of a positive thing to switch your mindset. Breaking your goals down will help keep you going and give you small accomplishments to be able to celebrate on your way to achieving the end goal.
4. Set a Timetable
A timeframe for your goals will help you even further to have a plan-of-action. Without a set timeframe, many people will end up half-assing their progress and not really achieving anything that they want to. I suggest creating a timetable for both your end goal, and your smaller goals that you created as well. Going back up to my pull-up goal, I may set to get 1 pull-up by April 1st, 3 pull-ups by July 1st, and 5 pull-ups by October 1st. Or for the person wanting to lose 20 pounds, set a specific amount to lose each month or every few weeks to keep your progress on track.
5. Just Get Started
Lastly, this one is short and sweet. As Nike says…Just Do It! So many people wait for the “right time” or when life is less hectic. Let me just tell you, life will always be crazy busy and hectic, there will always be excuses and roadblocks; there will never be the right time, there just won’t. Instead, you just need to get over the hardest hurdle: starting. Once you get started, assuming you set realistic goals with a plan and timeline, you’ll start seeing positive changes in your life and you’ll be able to run with it: All the way to achieving your goals/resolutions. Starting is the hardest part, but I promise you it is the best thing you’ll ever choose for yourself.