Happy New Year!
New year, new me…right? It sounds so cliché because it is. Every year the majority of us set very well-intended goals and resolutions. However, more often than not these goals tend to gently fade away and become a dream of the past. If this happens to be the case for you, I would like to remind you that a goal does not have to be something that is only allowed to be made on the first of the year. We are allowed to make goals and resolutions at any time of the year. If you find yourself failing at the promises you set, be kind to yourself. There is no need to beat yourself up. I am here to tell you that you are capable of achieving anything that you set your mind too. Failure doesn’t mean that the entire goal must be trashed. It means you are going to be twice as strong when you jump back onto that train. Just because you set that goal and failed, doesn’t always mean you have to complete it either. Sometimes there is a success hidden inside of a failure. Take what you learned from the experience and discard the rest.
With all that said, I would like to encourage you to go after a healthier life, dream job, extended education, or heck, even that summer bod you’ve been telling yourself you’d have by the end of last summer. After all, it is such an awarding feeling to achieve a goal that you have worked entirely hard for. I have written down the four principals that I go by whenever I set a destination that I wish to land on. I hope these tips help you to reach the goals that you seek to succeed.
1. Set a realistic goal. Sure, it would be nice to make a million dollars but is it realistic? Start out with a goal that is practical and achievable. If you wish to make more money, don’t be vague or over the top with your expectations. Our goals need to be realistic and clear. One of my favorite quotes is by Benjamin Franklin and it states, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. Be honest with yourself, is it practical to lose 20lbs in a month, probably not. How about instead of hoping to make a million dollars by whenever, try and aim to make an extra $200 a month. You’ll be much more pleased when you have a goal that is far more reachable. Make that goal realistic and map out ways in which you plan on achieving them.
2. Find your why. Identify the reasoning behind why this is important to you. What is your personal motivation that is driving you towards this goal? Do you want to better your health to live longer for your grandchildren? Would you like more energy or money for future travels? Whatever your why is, find it, write it down, don’t lose sight of it and most importantly get excited about it! It can be so refreshing to learn something new, try healthy recipes, meet new people, or visit new places. Talk to others about your goal or possibly pick up a book and read about this passion of yours. Our goals do not have to be a jail sentence. There is no reason that we need to make them painful or stressful. Yes, pain and stress may play a part in reaching them. However, the goal itself does not have to feel like Chinese water torture.
3. Break it down. Long term goals can be intimidating and sometimes it feels like our society is all about the right now. It’s easy to get caught up in the pleasures of today and let our good intentions slip away. Take one step at a time and enjoy the process. I find it to be extremely beneficial to have a main goal but to break that big goal down into much smaller more attainable ones. If your overall goal is to lose fifty pounds, that may seem farfetched. Instead, try breaking that goal down into a smaller goal where you aim to lose ten pounds at first. You will reach ten pounds faster than the fifty and a sense of accomplishment is set. It should feel a lot more rewarding to watch yourself hitting all your small goals as you make your way to the finish line.
4. Check-in with yourself. Keep yourself accountable by checking in. My favorite way to do this is by journaling. It is nice to have a written record of how hard I’ve actually been working towards something. I am less likely to walk off the path when I am able to reflect back on all of my accomplishments. Another way I enjoy checking in with myself is by using a daily calendar. I will schedule in time slots for things I need to do in order to achieve my goal. I mark them down as if it were an important appointment because after all, it is. It’s an important appointment to do something that will enrich your life and allow you to grow.
We tend to put our wants and needs on the back burner. It is essential that we take time to care for ourselves. Most of us are so busy working towards someone else’s dream that we forget about our own.