It’s almost the end of the year… What are you going to do to make next year better than this one?
There is something about the New Year that feels fresh and makes you want to change. It is almost like a clean slate, especially after all the holiday treats.
Have you set New Year’s resolutions in the past? How did they work out?
Today we will take some time to look at 3 simple steps for setting goals that will have a lasting impact instead of fizzling out by the end of January.
So get out the yellow pad and pen and let’s get started!
1. Reflecting On Where You Are
It is a good practice to take some time to reflect and review last year. Before you can determine where you are going, you need to know where you are and how to get there.
Did you keep a journal? Did you have some successes and accomplishments?
We all had failures, but the key is to learn from them and not get caught up in what could have been. We cannot go backwards, we can only move forward, so don’t spend too much time focusing on failures. That will only lead to regret and negativity.
Goals that have a long-term impact will take every area of life into consideration. Reflecting on where we are is bigger than making that weight loss goal. We cannot simply focus our attention on our health and neglect the other areas of our life, as everything is interrelated. We have to have a holistic approach to setting our goals. I really liked the perspective that the Daniel Plan has in exploring 5 areas of our health; faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends. Another common approach to setting goals looks at finances, family, career, among other areas. The steps laid out in this blog can be applied to all areas of life and I would encourage you to take them into consideration with your reflection.
As we move onto the next step for setting goals that last, the overarching goal for your health is to become your best you. We shouldn’t have expectations to look or be like ____________(you fill in the blank). We need to get comfortable with the notion that you are unique and there is no mold that you should try and fit into. Find your best you and get comfortable with that whatever that looks like.
2. Writing SMART Goals
What is a Goal? We will all end up somewhere, but goals allow us to end up somewhere on purpose. A goal is simply a desired result that someone envisions, plans, and commits to accomplish. When thinking about setting goals we need to be SMART about it. The following elements are essential for a goal to have lasting results:
S – Specific: What are the details?
M – Measurable: Can we track our progress?
A – Attainable: Is it reachable? Can we actually accomplish it?
R – Relevant: Why is this goal worth pursuing?
T – Timely: When do we hope to get there?
As you write your goals, asking these questions will help you determine if your goals are SMART.
I really do want you to actually write your goals down on paper. Crazy I know. There is something that happens when you write them out and not simply keep them in your head. If you want to have them typed up that is fine, but I would encourage you to have a printed out version for reviewing on a regular basis.
An example of a goal that isn’t so smart would be, “I want to lose weight.” That lacks the specific, measurable, and timely portion of the goal.
A SMARTer way to write that might be, “I want to lose 10 pounds by March 1, 2017.” You get the point here right?
In addition, writing why the goal is worth pursuing is key. Why do you want to lose the weight? Is it because you are at an unhealthy weight? Write down your motivation.
You can see that there is a lot more to a goal than simply saying, “I want to lose weight.” This is why most people don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions and start the year off frustrated and discouraged. But that won’t be you in 2017!
3. Reviewing Your Goals
Your days turn into your weeks. Your weeks turn into your months. Your months turn into your years. Goals help us keep the big picture through those daily decisions to have the lasting impact we want.
Goals come in different sizes and can operate on different timetables. Short-term goals can be accomplished rather quickly (maybe a week, month, or a year), while others might be achieved 5 or 10 years down the road.
Frequently reviewing our goals is key to actually accomplishing them. Once a day or at least once a week is a minimum. This is key for motivation and remembering your why.
There are times when life just happens. That is ok. It is hard to know where you will be 6 months from now. Being willing to adapt and recalibrate your direction is an important part of keeping your goals.
As a rudder guides a ship to keep it on course, our goals steer us in the direction we want to go. A small decision or change in course can bring major results over time.
Thanks for reading this article and remember that every journey begins with a single step… Take one today.
~ Kelly ~