Many of us set goals for the new year, but nearly as many of us consider those goals failed just a few months into the year. There’s nothing magical about January 1st; you can set — or revise — your goals any time of year! I’m blessed with a June birthday, so I tend to do goal-setting at the first of the year and again at my birthday halfway through the year.
Set goals you’ll actually make happen.
If your goals need a little polishing, maybe you can re-frame how you look at them so you can plan exactly how you’ll make those goals happen.
Thinking in terms of “SMART” goals is a good way to start. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Yeah, yeah, that’s all well and good, but if you’re like me, you want examples — so I’m sharing several.
Let’s look at five of the most popular resolutions:
1- Exercise more.
Ok, great. But as is, it’s too vague. A more defined goal would help you achieve it. Try this: plan workouts around your current schedule, and set a goal realistic enough that you’d be willing to say you’re at least 80% sure you can do it. So instead of “exercise more,” you might set this more specific goal instead:
I’ll workout 3 times each week, attending a class at the gym on the way home from work on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.
I’ll go for a 30-minute run 4 mornings each week after I the kids get on the school bus.
Once you’ve achieved the specific, realistic goal you’ve set, then you can re-evaluate to decide if you want to modify it. If you’re not working out at all right now, then making a goal of working out 5 times per week simply isn’t realistic — but it might be six months from now.
2- Lose weight.
Yes, you can measure weight loss but there are so many other factors playing into weight loss/gain. Try setting a habit-based goal instead of this results-oriented one. For instance, you might choose to cut out your nighttime bowl of ice cream, or switch to drinking water instead of soda, or aim to spend part of your lunch break walking each day. Those are measurable, and attainable — and will help get you healthier. Keep in mind that realistically attainable goals are awesome because the more successful you feel, the more likely you’ll continue on with the good habits you’re creating.
3- Live life to the fullest.
This is a fabulous goal — but how would you know whether or not you’d attained this one? Instead, consider what “live life to the fullest” means to you. Does this mean you’ll spend more time with family? Spend more time hiking? Find a job you love? Break it down, get specific, and THEN set a goal you can realistically work towards. So in these examples, that might be: sit down for a family dinner at least two days each week; go hiking at least 3 weekends per month; revamp your resume and hire a head hunter.
4- Learn a new hobby.
Okay — but what hobby? Do you have one in mind? If not, perhaps your goal could be to try something new each month until you find one that strikes your fancy. Perhaps look for local community classes you could attend. If you do already have a new hobby in mind, consider what you’d need to do to learn it. Want to learn camera skills? Join local photo walks. Always wanted to play guitar? Sign up for lessons!
5- Eat better.
Eat WHAT better? Doing an entire overhaul on your eating habits isn’t going to happen all at once, and attempting it is a recipe for disaster. Instead, think about one new good habit you can add: for instance, to eat 4 servings of veggies every day. Or find easy, tasty, healthy breakfast recipes you can make or prep the night before instead of heading to the drive-thru for an McMuffin. Once you have this ONE habit in place, then you can choose another small goal to add to the awesomeness you’ve already got going.