How to Set Reachable Goals for the New Year
Setting goals without having a plan is like traveling across the country without a GPS: you may eventually reach your destination, but you’ll undoubtedly take a few unnecessary detours and get lost along the way. As we enter into this new year (and decade!), it’s important to identify some objectives for yourself, but without a roadmap, actually achieving them will be much more challenging. Since everyone deserves to succeed as we enter into this next chapter, below are six tips to assist you on your journey to becoming your best self.
The purpose of goal setting is to determine something you want to accomplish and work toward it so, naturally, the first step would be to define what that something is. This is the foundation of the process, so it is crucial to thoughtfully and carefully do this. In order to ensure success, you absolutely must be specific about the who, what, when, where, why, and how aspect of things. For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, you can’t simply say “lose weight” and expect results. Who will be apart of this journey? What will you do to do this? Will you alter your diet, work out routine, or both? When will you dedicate time to it, will you work out at home or in a gym? With equipment or a yoga mat? Though this may possibly seem tedious, answering these types of questions will exponentially increase the odds of a favorable outcome. It may also prove helpful to write these things down because it allows you to visualize your thoughts and desires. It is also beneficial because you aren’t forced to try to remember every single detail of your action plan.
Step two is to review your goal(s). This is where you can apply what many of us have learned at some point: SMART goals. This is an acronym many teachers and specialists use to guide their pupils in creating and accomplishing their goals. We’ve already covered the “S” (Specific) in the first stage, so that leaves ‘“M” (measurable), ‘A” (achievable), “R” (relevant) and “T” (timely). The measurability of your goal is whether or not you can track your progress - how will you know once you’ve reached it? Confirming that it’s achievable is the same thing as asking, “is this realistic?” For example, attempting to lose 10 pounds in a week is probably not something you can pull off - at least not without severely damaging techniques and outcomes. The relevancy of your goal is simply assuring that this is the right goal for you, and it is the right time to be pursuing this. Lastly, the timeliness is pretty self explanatory; if the goal is long-term or short-term, how will you complete it in an intentionally set amount of time?
The third plan of action is to revisit your goals. This is to be carried out after some time has passed. What have you accomplished since you devised your plan? What has worked and what hasn’t? Revaluating is vital because it allows room for adjustments. If you find that your original goal was a breeze, challenge yourself to go a step further. If you overshot, take a step back. If that is the case, it’s important to not be hard on yourself. Sometimes things don’t go exactly how we plan the first time, and that’s okay! If you succeeded at composing a SMART goal, it should be flexible anyway, so switching things up to ensure success in the end, even if it’s not exactly when you wanted it, is so worth it.
Next, reflect. I know, to some of you that sounds like the boring task your teacher makes you do after you learned a new lesson, but I promise this will pay off in the long run. Hopefully by this point, which is ideally your previously set deadline for your undertaking, you’ve successfully carried out the plan. Even if this isn’t the case and you’ve failed miserably, you’ve learned something either way. Maybe it’s that you have great time management skills or a lack thereof. Maybe it’s that you didn’t really care about your task after all, or found a new passion through it. Whatever it may be, the knowledge and experience you’ve acquired can help you plan better for next time and brainstorm solutions to what some of the hindrances and/or advantages were.
Finally, hit the reset button. Regardless of your success, you tried and at this point, you should have a thorough understanding of why. Now is the time to plan for the future and re-set your goals so you can continue to grow. This can mean attempting the revised version same goals you had previously or creating new ones.
Keeping goals reachable and fun will increase your likelihood of achieving them and being in the habit of setting reachable goals will increase your success in not just this year, but in life. Taking these steps each time you want to set a new goal will make you aware of your abilities and limits and prepare you to set and reach more goals in the future! Best of luck!