It’s 2017! A new year and a great time to start thinking about things you’d like to set out to accomplish this year. I personally love goals. For me, this time of year is very exciting because I reflect on things I've accomplished in the past year, what I've learned about myself, what worked, what didn't and I try to find new ways to making my life a little better. I know not everyone loves goals and some people feel negatively towards them. Maybe it's because they've failed before, they can't seem to stick to their goals, or its too cliche. But bottomline: We all want a purpose - to live something greater whether it’s improving our health, changing our diet, losing weight, getting a degree, landing that dream job, traveling more….it all start’s with one thing - Setting That Goal. Goal setting is a BIG part of what I do in helping my patients and clients. It's also one of my favorite parts of the lifestyle change process.
Goals are the fundamental piece when forming new habits and making lifestyle changes.
With my own personal experience through trial and error using different strategies and methods I believe I've developed a pretty solid system when it comes to setting goals and attaining them. It's been absolute GOLD for me in the past year and I'd like to share the fun. But first, let's start off with the common mistakes I've seen that set people up for failure.
WHY SOME GOALS FAIL.
- They are unrealistic and unattainable
- They aren’t specific
- They aren’t measurable
- There is no clear vision or plan set in place
- They aren’t broken down into smaller steps or stages
- There's not enough support
- There's no accountability
- We are too hard on ourselves 🙁
- We give up
HOW TO SET AND ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS.
WRITE IT DOWN
Putting your intentions down on paper is very powerful way to bring clarity and focus to what’s important to you. It helps give you a direction. Studies show that those who write their goals down accomplish significantly more than those who don’t.
- Action: Time to brainstorm! Take 10-15 minutes and jot down everything that comes to mind of things you would like to do. It could be as big as learning a new language to something simple like spend more time with family. You want to think of personal goals and professional goals.
ORGANIZE YOUR THOUGHTS
You might notice that some of these goals are related and have some sort of theme. Grouping them together will make these ideas seem less overwhelming.
- Action: On another sheet of paper, write down your themes but leave some space so you can rewrite those goals underneath.
Go back on goals you’ve set in the past – what worked and what didn’t?
- Action: On the back of the first sheet of paper draw a line down the middle. On the left side write “What Didn’t Work” and on the other “What Did”. For example, you might say that saying excuses didn’t get you anywhere, but managing your time through an agenda did. This could be anything as far as negative and positive beliefs, emotions, strategies, or the process.
Pick which goals are most important to you at this time – Be realistic in what you can achieve this year because you can’t say yes to everything.
- Action: Choose 5-7 goals that you’d like to accomplish this year and write down why they are important to you. This reaffirms your thoughts and uncovers what really motivates you. Split up your goals to 3-4 personal goals and 3-4 professional goals.
BREAK IT DOWN
Lifestyle choices can sometimes seem unreachable because we usually tend to compare the NOW to the END RESULT. Breaking our goals down into smaller steps is the secret to achieving them. For example, I’d like to write a book: brainstorm my ideas, create an outline, write 10 pages a week, editing, add graphics/images…
- Action: For each goal, write down 3-6 steps in how you can achieve that goal. It’s best if you break them down in consecutive stages.
Setting a schedule and creating time constraints will make this plan tangible. Estimate how much time you think it would take to accomplish each step. This will give you a general idea of when you should expect to complete your tasks.
- Action: Start off with a daily schedule/to-do list for goals you set to accomplish daily, then goals for the week, then month, quarterly...whatever works with your schedule. You will update your schedule as you go along.
TRACK YOUR OUTCOMES
Tracking your progress is a great way to keep accountable and stay motivated. Also using tools that will help you measure and assess how well you’re doing. I like to use an agenda to keep me on schedule, taking monthly before-and-after pictures to show my progress, and fitness apps to keep me motivated.
- Action: Buy an agenda or calendar, a journal to track progress, or download mobile apps that will help keep you accountable. Go by what has worked for you in the past and stick with that.
Take the “why’s” for your goals you listed…imagine your end result and what it took to help you get there.
- Action: Create a vision board that will help remind you of what you set out to do. This can include cut-outs from magazines, print-outs of images you find on the internet, and quotes and words that put you in the right mindset. This is of course optional, but I would really encourage you to do it. Visualizing our goals daily helps keep them at the forefront of our minds.
- Action: Find your support system any family, friends, co-workers that you trust to help keep you encouraged and accountable. Maybe they’d like to join you in the fun!
Forming new habits is challenging, but all it takes is a little time and persistence. Staying positive knowing that no one is perfect. You may slip up, things probably will get busy, or you might forget to meet a deadline…just regroup, move forward, and start where you left off.
- Action: Stay positive, be kind to yourself and remember to focus on your progress – not perfection.
REVIEW THEM FREQUENTLY AND ADJUST
Reviewing your goals frequently is another secret to making those goals happen. You can review them weekly, monthly…daily – whatever works best for you. Going back on things you set to do keeps you focused and as things change you can adjust as you go along.
- Action: Decide how often you will review your goals. If that requires you to write it down or set a reminder on your app please feel free to do so.
A QUICK REVIEW:
Write it down. Organize your thoughts. Review. Prioritize. Break It Down. Make A Plan. Track Your Outcomes. Stay Motivated and Positive. Review Frequently and Adjust.
Support Tools: Vision board, journal, agenda, calendar, mobile apps, before/after pictures, and a support system.
I hope these tips will help inspire you to set and crush those goals. I'd love to hear how this system works for you. What are some of the things you’d like to accomplish this year? What worked for you in the past and how did you keep yourself accountable? Feel free to share in the the comments below.