New Year You
This month, an estimated 20 million people will have embarked upon a journey to fulfil their New Year’s resolutions. The start of the New Year brings an ideal (and popular) time for change, as many are eager to get their lives back into normalcy after the month-long overeating, overbuying and perhaps, over-socialising binge that often comes with the holiday season.
But New Year’s resolutions, as grandiose as they may sound, is really a fancy word for something many avoid for the rest of the year: goals.
Whether it is New Year’s or any other time of year, goals are often set and forgotten. But this year can be different. Here are nine important steps to set your goals properly so you can actually achieve them in 2021.
1. Scrutinise your reasoning
Do you want to start eating better and give up watching TV because someone
suggested you should or you read it in a book? Or is this something you really want for yourself and how badly? Do you feel it’s right or just think it’s right? In order for your goal to become reality, the reason behind it must be driven by true desire and passion. If it’s not important to you, it will not last.
2. Be real
Did you say you want to lose 50 pounds by the end of January, in time for your holiday in the sun? Setting an unrealistic goal is just setting yourself up for failure. If weight loss is your “thing”, then how does it feel to aim to lose just two pounds a week for 12 weeks.
3. Only take on what you can handle
Don’t bite off more than you can chew – for example, you may want to quit smoking, lose a load of weight, pay off your credit card and get out of debt and spend more time with your family; great, but that is a lot and the stress this could cause alone may cause you to give up. Just try to focus on one goal at a time.
4. Be specific
Rather than setting a vague goal like “exercise more,” plan your goal in detail. Perhaps you could jog or walk 30 minutes on a Monday morning, Meditate on Wednesday at 7am, go to a yoga class on Thursdays after work, join a gym and maybe go at lunchtime on Fridays and so on.
5. Keep it simple
Many people overload their goals into one huge mega-goal and that’s fine, but within this will be many additional layers of multiple goals and lots of big steps to achieve the mega goal. Think what would be involved in owning a bar or restaurant, buying a holiday home abroad, starting “that business”, launching a charity etc. The best goals are simple ones that take it a step at a time.
6. Take action
Once you have your goal in mind, write it down on paper in an actionable plan and take the steps necessary to set it into motion. Remember the difference between one day and day one. Every goal starts with an action being taken one step at a time.
7. Keep track of your progress
Your goal must have some degree of measurement against an expected outcome if you are to keep yourself motivated. Do you want to save £X’s a week? Lose X pounds in weight every month? Work out what you are aiming for, then monitor how close you are to getting it. Perhaps also have an overall goal over a period of time and a series of mini goals that work towards the main goal.
8. Share your goals
Telling other (supportive!) people about your intentions is an excellent way to boost your motivation and help you keep on track. The people you share you goal with can encourage you if you get off track and help keep you focused on what you’re trying to achieve.
9. Celebrate your success
Make sure you reward yourself for reaching your goal, even if it’s in stages. This really helps to keep yourself feeling motivated and to keep moving forwards. You deserve recognition as you achieve your goals.
Above all else, only set goals that you are committed to. How badly do you want it? What are you prepared to compromise and sacrifice and how far are you willing to go?