Setting yourself goals in the New Year

Are you thinking of setting goals for 2018?

We’ve all been there. You’ve eaten a bit too much over the Christmas break. You’ve become a bit lazy. You see people around you making ambitious plans to run marathons and get skinny. But is that right for you?

Do you need to set goals?

Goals can be good way to keep you on track. By setting yourself multiple goals, you give yourself long term vision and short term motivation. Goals help you to believe in yourself and encourage ambition. By setting goals, you are creating a plan of where you want to go and holding yourself accountable in how you get there. When you finally achieve your goal, you feel positive, successful, inspired and eager to keep growing.

However, there is a danger that setting yourself too many goals (or goals which aren’t realistic) can leave you feeling demotivated and overwhelmed. If you take on too much, you end up panicking and then give up on the goal altogether.  That is why it’s really important to find the right balance.

Are your goals realistic?

Your goals absolutely must be achievable. It’s easy to get carried away when you see everyone else making their list. You commit to all of these things and you have the best intentions to stick to them… but before you know it, it’s December and you’ve not achieved any of them. You then feel crap about yourself and the whole cycle starts again.

Goal setting is a process. It’s as much about the journey as it is the destination (corny but true). Think about what is important to you and where you want to go. Then make yourself a list.

Remember that any list you make is for you and you only. So, if you are going to set yourself goals, you should include two types of goals:

  1. The realistic goals that you know you can achieve and give you a confidence boost
  2. The “challengers” which involve you stepping out of your comfort zone and require a bit more planning.

The realistic goals

The realistic goals are a bit like stepping stones to your big goals. You put them on the list because you know you can do them and they give you little confidence boosts. They are there to keep you on track and keep you motivated to take on the big goals. For example, if you are a runner, a realistic goal might be to “try a new parkrun” or “join a running club”. You know you can do these things; it’s just a case of doing them.

The challengers

The challengers require a bit more thought. It’s wise to incorporate interim targets because you want to chip away at your big goals one step at a time. The whole purpose of setting goals is to challenge yourself and feel rewarded, so of course you want to create stepping stones (the realistic goals) to help you on your way.

Depending on what your big goal is, you will probably need to make a plan. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. How are you going to achieve your big goal?
  2. Why is this goal important to me?
  3. What little goals can you tick off in the process to keep you motivated?
  4. How are you going to track your progress?
  5. What are your usual pitfalls? How can you prevent them this time round?

Just by asking these basic questions, you will set yourself a path for success and you’re much more likely to stick at it.

What if you don’t achieve your goals?

It is possible that you will not achieve all of your goals. Firstly, your goals might change as the year progresses and you might need to adapt. Secondly, you should always expect the unexpected. You might get injured or you might have to change your routine. Whatever it is, do not beat yourself up. Focus on all of the things you have achieved and what you have learned.

We should always look at our lives as a work in progress. You can learn something from every experience. As a final closing thought, I always try to be grateful for what I already have while I pursue my goals and I genuinely believe in this quote by Jack Canfield:

“Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfilment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them”

So, what about me?

Taking all of the above into account, I have committed myself to 10 goals for 2018 which I’ve shared on my Instagram feed. Some of these goals are realistic, others require a bit more planning and work. Regardless, i’d love to get your feedback and see what goals you have set yourself. Send me a message on Instagram or contact me here.