New Years Eve s less than a week away. Many people are already thinking of ways they can improve 2017 and make it a better year than this one was. Still, a large group of people say that the tradition of making a New Years Resolution is really silly; people aren't really going to change, they'll give up on their resolutions by Valentine's Day, etc. To that I say, resolutions are nothing more than goals and goals are very significant to our growth. Not just on a personal level but on a practical level. We need goals to know which direction we're moving in. Not to mention, goal setting and achievement is imperitive to our mental, emotional and even physical health.
The most important thing to consider is the way we set our New Years Resolutions. It's not enough to declare the goal and say that it will be accomplished by the end of 2017, you need a game plan. So where to start?
1. How Many Goals Should You Set?
There are many arguments for setting one goal at a time. I personally disagree. While it's important to be realistic and not overdo it, I think that working on 2-3 goals at a time can be helpful in that it breaks things up when you need some space from one goal. For example, if your goal is to learn a new language and exercise regualry, that exercise can be a nice break from all the brain work it requires to learn a language. One way to keep your goals realistic in this case is to have one goal in 2-3 of the following catagories: mental health, physical health, environmental health, emotional health, social health and spiritual health.
2. Determining Which Goals to Set:
I'm as enthusiastic as they come about starting new projects and I easily bite off more than I can chew. So I had to create a system to keep from overwhelming myself when it comes to goals. Here are a set of questions to ask yourself before you choose a goal. These questions should put you on the right path of finding the goals that will have the longest lasting effect on your life.
- What do I want my life to look like in 5 years? Think career, living situation, social relationships, personal skills, etc. (Get creative and let your mind wonder. Write it down or do a meditation on it.)
- What stands in between me and my vision of what I want my lfe to be like? (Think about peronal obstacles as well as external obstacles.)
- What steps do I need to take in order to have that life? (Get specific and reorgnaize thatlist into chronological steps.)
3. How to Stay on Track Over the Year
One of the biggest flaws of goal setting is not having a game plan on how you're going to stay motivated and track your goal. For some people, seeing results is enough of a motivater but for the majoiry of people, waiting for those results to be obvious is the reason why they give up. The thing to remember is that giving up is typically not something that occures over night but rather something that has a a snowball effect. The loss of motivation is small at first, you decide to skip one class at the gym. The next week you might go and the week after you miss two classes. Then before you know it, that class is a distant memory. So our motivation is not as simple as either being there or not. Here are some tips to stay on track.
- Know your "why" and display it somewhere you can see it. We all have a reason why we want to meet specific goal, but we forget overtime. Writing it out and putting it somewhere you will see it every day is a great motivater.
- Create smaller goals within your large goal. If your goal for the new year is weight loss, you might want to lose 50 pounds by the end of 2017. But it seems a little far away. To help you connect with your goal, set a smaller goal of losing 5 pounds by the end of January. Then follow up with monthy weigh ins, setting achievable milestones along the way. Even making a list and checking off your milestones as you achieve them is really motivating.
- Be accountable. Finding someone who has the same goals as you can be a huge help. Hanging a calander on your bedroom wall and giving yourself a sticker for every day you work on your goal can keep you more accountable to yourself.
- Love yourself through this journey. Positive motivation is better than negative motivation. When your goal involves an insecurity it's really important to be extra gentle with yourself and have a self love ritual for whenever you fall off the wagon. Instead beating yourself up when you gain 5 pounds instead of losing them, take a night off. Give yourslef an at home spa day and treat yourself in some way. Then recommit to your goal at the end of your ritual.
- Keep a goal journal. Set yourself up for the week by writing your weekly goals and then daily to-do lists. Keep the journal by your bed and write your lists the night before so that you're starting on the right foot.