It was the first day of the year, and while you may have been nursing a slight headache, you were feeling motivated and ready to start the year right. You had the best of intentions – whether it was to start eating healthy, pursuing that new career path, or quitting smoking, but for some reason each day you saw your goals slipping further and further away.
Goal setting is an effective way of planning and achieving your aims. However, there are tips that you can use to make sure you set goals that you are likely to achieve.
Goals should be specific
You may want to eat healthier, but as a goal this is too vague and is not tangible. Instead your goal should be specific such as “I want eat more vegetables with each meal and limit eating food with labels.”
Make a realistic plan
When you are feeling motivated, it is easy to say “I’m going to eat vegetables five times a day and have no fat or processed foods at all!”. If you are not used to eating vegetables with each meal this is too drastic a change and is not likely to last. Instead focus on making little changes at a time. Start with eating vegetables every day and once you are able to do this easily begin slowly cutting out processed foods.
Celebrate each little win
Each time you get closer to reaching your goals, give yourself a pat on the back. Don’t feel guilty or make yourself feel bad when things don’t go to plan. If you bring yourself down each time you suffer a setback, you are more likely to give your goals up for good.
Focus on the big picture
Think clearly about where you want to be a year from now. Imagine in detail what your life looks like if you reach these goals and write it as if it is the present tense. Focus on how you will feel, what you will do, and how this will affect other aspects of your life. For example, “In 2015 I am healthier. I have much more energy, my moods are more positive and I can fit into those jeans I have been keeping in the back of the closet. I am happier and more confident, and my relationships have improved because I am less moody and more comfortable in my own skin.”
Have a support network
Share your goals with your family and friends. This will ensure that you take them seriously and will keep you accountable. Let those close to you support you with your goals – you do not have to do it alone. Tell someone when you think you are heading off track and let them help guide you back.
What were your New Years resolutions? Did you keep them? Have any tips to help set realistic goals?