It’s the new year and I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited for 2019. I think it’s going to be a great year! And the cool thing about that is I have COMPLETE CONTROL over making sure that happens. I know it’s almost two weeks into January so I’m kinda late to the whole “goal setting, vision board, resolution” party but better late than never, right?
But I actually think it’s a good thing that I waited until now to post this. We’re 10 days into the new year and I’m sure some of you have had moments of “I’m giving up” or “that’s too hard, what was I thinking?!” or “yeah, 2019 isn’t going to be my year.” BUT, I beg of you not to throw in the towel yet. First of all, you do not have to wait until January 1 or Monday to start new habits. But if you decided that January 1 was your time, awesome. If you decide it’s tomorrow, you go girl!
I don’t have an advanced degree in goal setting (haha), nor do I consider myself an expert. But I do have to say that I’m pretty good at getting things done when I say I’m going to do them. Not 100% of the time. Not even 90% of the time. But my track record of committing to things and achieving goals is at the very least decent. Most of the things I’ve learned about goal setting, planning, etc. came from trial and error. Other tidbits come from podcasts I’ve listened to or books I’ve read. And of course, I learn from talking to others about what they do that works/doesn’t work for them.
Here are four things I personally do when I’m setting goals (and I encourage you to try them too!):
1. Write ’em down. Come on, people! This is the easiest one! The first step is coming up with the goal in your head. The second is WRITING IT DOWN. And so many people never even get there! And be specific when you write down your goal! Don’t be vague- “I want to eat healthier.” What does that actually mean?! Start off with a broad statement like that, but then drill down to what you actually want to accomplish. For instance, “I want to eat healthier” turns into:
“I want to incorporate more greens into my diet by making sure I have at least 2 servings of greens 6 out of 7 days of the week. My greens will include kale, spinach, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, and brussel sprouts.”
Writing down concrete, specific goals is going to increase the chances that you’ll stick with the goal. How do I know this? I don’t know, it sounds obvious and it works for me. Few more examples, shall we?
|“I want to eat healthier”||vs.||“I am going to bring my lunch to work 4/5 days of the week. That lunch will include a lean protein, a whole grain, and vegetables.”|
|“I want to get fit.”||vs.||“I am going to sign up for a membership to XYZ gym and go 4 days/week. I will do 20 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weight training most days.”|
|“I want to be better with money.”||vs.||“I set a reminder in my calendar for the 30th of each month. At that time if I have excess funds left in my bank account I am going put half of it towards my credit card debt/student loan and the other half in my savings account.”|
|“I want to have a better relationship with my mom/dad/brother/sister”||vs.||“I am going to call my dad twice a week so we can catch up more often.”|
2. Don’t make goals for the sake of making goals. I know the new year is a good opportunity to jump on the “I’m going to get healthy/get fit/lose weight” bandwagon, but if you’re not truly committed to reaching a goal, don’t bother. And I don’t say that to sound like a jerk, I’m saying it because it might just not be your time to tackle that goal (whatever it is). Work on the things that are important to you now. And if those things change in 6 days, 6 weeks or 6 months from now, that’s fine. Plus, when you don’t achieve that goal that you weren’t actually committed to, you feel like a failure. And there’s just no need for that because you’re probably doing a million other things simultaneously and kicking butt at them. And you’re also never a failure. Just do you, girl. DO YOU when the time is right FOR YOU!
3. Set obnoxiously large goals. This is another cute little trick I learned over the years that I am putting my own cute little spin on. There’s what I call achievable goals and reach goals. Achievable goals are goals that are, duh, achievable! Meaning, you know you can do it. So whether it’s saying I’m going to run 3 races this year (when your ran 2 last year) or I’m going to increase my sales by 5%, these are goals that achievable… or very, very modest goals.
Reach goals are exactly what they sound like too! They are going to require you to plan the work and work the plan. They are going to be extremely tough to accomplish. But that’s the point. Setting goals that are achievable is basically giving yourself a break. But setting reeeeaaach goals is like pushing yourself to 95% of your fastest pace. And even if you only get to 80%, or 85%, or 90%, it’s still way more than your achievable goal that only brought you to about 50% of your fastest pace. You have to PUSH YOURSELF!
Personal example… last year I ran 0 races, completed 1 Beachbody program and averaged about 10 classes per month at pure barre. A little weak for me. This year’s goals?! Eeek, I’m nervous at the thought of them, but here goes:
- Run 1 5K
- Run 1 10k or 15k
- Run 1 ½ Marathon
- Run a Spartan Race
- Take 15 classes/month at pure barre
- Complete Transform20 (Beachbody program)
- Do a MF pull-up
That’s a shit ton of stuff… like for real. How did I come up with these 7 things? I figured out what I can pretty easily do (my achievable goal) and wrote it down. And then thought about what I reeeaallly want to accomplish and wrote it down. Unless something crazy happens, I can guarantee that I’ll do more than my achievable goal. I might not do my reach goal… but damn!, it would still be amazing if I did 5 or 6 of those things, right?
4. Don’t take on too much at once. That sounds like a load of bull when I just listed 7 things I want to accomplish (and those are just my fitness goals). But hear me out. Those 7 goals are not going to be worked on simultaneously. For example, I’m not even thinking about the ½ marathon yet. That’s not something I’m doing until the fall most likely. Right now I’m focused on making sure I get my 15 classes in at pure barre, adding in one more day of running, and starting Transform20 next week.
I’m not saying you can’t work on doing a two or three things at the same time… I’m just saying you can’t expect yourself to put 110% effort into 6 or 7 different things. There’s not enough time in the day or pre-workout (or coffee for you normal folk) in the world to do that. Just focus on the highest priorities RIGHT NOW and move on, or take on more, when you’re ready.
I hope you found this to be helpful and apply some of these principals when you are setting your goals. Remember: be specific, write them down, only commit to what is really important, go for the gusto and don’t overload yourself.