How to… Set (& Stick to!) Goals for the New Year
New Year, New You!
Feeling a little jaded after Christmas excesses and New Year parties? We can all feel a bit down in the dumps during a cold (broke!) January. At this time of year, there’s tons of talk about New Year’s resolutions – setting goals, quitting this, starting that, being a better version of myself… my body is a temple… blah blah blah!
So how do you beat the January blues and make a fresh start to the New Year?
When life is full-on, taking a step back and looking at what you want to achieve can be very therapeutic; goal setting is a great way to re-invigorate your life, get motivated and become more productive.
Here are 10 simple tips for setting goals with sticking power…
Quality not quantity
Having too many resolutions is a non-starter! Choose just a few, so you feel the benefit of actually achieving. Mix it up with objectives for different aspects of your life e.g. one work-related, a money-saver and a fitness goal, so you don’t feel bogged down by just ‘fitness goals’ (and you can occasionally escape from the gym!) But whatever you decide, make sure they are motivating and realistic.
Write them down
In a study of the art and science of goal setting, it was revealed that ‘you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis.’ So make a Note on your smartphone, so you can review and update on the go. If nothing else, think of the satisfaction of all those potential ticks!
Talking about what you want to achieve turns it real and makes you accountable – a good incentive to ensure you make progress. Tell a couple of your nearest and dearest so they can encourage you!
Some goals – like increasing your fitness – have dedicated apps to help you, cajole you and share your progress with friends. Whether you’re wanting to get fitter, faster, trimmer or just healthier, there are apps for everyone from serious athletes to complete beginners.
MyFitnessPal is a good one to track your exercise and calorie intake.
Carrot Fit – 7 minute Workout & Weight Tracker is a fun one – if you don’t workout, it berates and insults you until you do!
For more suggestions, see PCMag’s recent apps review: The Best Fitness Apps for 2020 – PCMag
Try breaking down individual goals into smaller tasks – if you keep it simple, you will keep going. It’s a good way to grow accustomed to the change and make objectives achievable. Maybe build on something you already do, rather than dream up some new intimidating mega mission. If it’s too easy, you can always ramp it up!
Set dates – put a time limit on it. Quantifiable measures can help you monitor your progress e.g. I will do yoga 100 times this year.
Mini milestones give a good reason to celebrate or re-evaluate:
- If you are nowhere near achieving your goal, don’t give up but re-assess.
- And if you’re on track, reward yourself when you finish, but make sure you celebrate progress along the way, and your commitment too!
A strong why
Write down what motivated you, what was the purpose and what will be the outcome. This will be useful to reflect upon throughout the year, and if we ever need a little extra push, remembering why we did it is usually a good start!
Seeing is believing
Visualising your goals can help you achieve them (it may sound strange, but athletes do it all the time!) It really is a case of we must see it before we believe it.
Whatever you aspire to do – quit smoking, prepare a budget, eat more healthily, complete a 100 day yoga challenge, start your own business – rather than thinking of barriers and reasons why-not, visualise what success looks like and how it feels; and picture the processes you’ll need to go through to get there. Visualisation actually trains your brain and promotes positive thinking, which will help keep you on track.
Watch this video from Nike Football, featuring footballer Robert Lewandowski:
Find out here how to use meditation to visualise your goals.
At times of uncertainty, it’s tempting to shy away from anything that makes you feel slightly uncomfortable, but actually a challenge can provide a great sense of purpose and achievement that will give you confidence in other aspects of your life. Sign up to a sporting challenge, learn a foreign language, start computer coding, stop using your smartphone and revert to a Nokia?! (just kidding!)
For info on short courses you could do, click here
Something for others
Apparently, we’re more likely to stick to our goals if we do it for someone else, so we are held accountable. Take more exercise by walking a neighbour’s dog, cook a healthy meal for your partner every week. If you’re stuck for ideas, consider volunteering. Getting involved in regular volunteer work a once a week, or just helping someone out (such as an elderly neighbour) can provide routine, purpose and responsibility. Find out more here, including where to volunteer in your area.
Don’t forget the fun stuff!
Many of us focus on improvements relating to exercise, food, weight, personal habits, work ethic, getting a job etc. But set some goals around things you LIKE doing e.g. go to the theatre 4 times this year, play in a 5-a-side football club, join a rock choir, whatever floats your boat. Doing more of the things we enjoy or find inspiring is great for our general wellbeing. And resolutions aren’t supposed to be a form of torture or self-deprecation!
This is your personal project, so choose what really matters to you. Goal setting is a chance to reflect, re-inspire and be the best you can be.
So I’m just off to pop some pounds in the piggy bank, before I run to the station to catch a matinee performance…as the saying goes ‘start as you mean to go on!’ 😉
Let us know what really worked for you…
Good luck! ☺️
Find out more about goal setting and why it works