It’s January and, of course, talk returns again to the tired conversation about New Year’s resolutions. Instead of sighing at all of the many commercials and advertisements this month, we urge you to think smaller. Yep, that’s right. Setting goals for the year are great but how many times do you set a HUGE goal like “I’m going to run my first marathon this year.” or “I’m going to train for my first Ironman.” and then October rolls around and you realize that time has run out. And why did you not achieve this big, hairy goal? Because you set a grand vision without a plan for breaking it down into smaller, achievable steps.
Steps to Achieve Your Goals
So you want to actually achieve your goals this year? Here’s our tried-and-true advice for how to make this year the year you move the needle:
- Set goals, not resolutions. Doesn’t the word “resolution” conjure up negative images for you? I feel like it infers that you’re doing something bad or that you should feel guilty for something and so you must “resolve” to fix it. Goals, on the other hand, are positive and inspirational. Let’s start there.
- Write it down. On your phone. On your laptop. In your journal. Set your intentions now and document it. Once you write down your goals, it will be easier to take the next step of breaking it down now that you have set aside time to actually think and write.
- Break it down. Achieving a goal takes time and many steps to get there along the way. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon, start researching races, find a goal race, set interim training goals, and set-up running dates on your calendar. I came to Memorial Park to reflect on my goals because my intention is to run here 3x per week to prepare for my races this year. Setting up these habit-forming building blocks is the key to reaching the finish line. It’s not sexy to post on social media that you got to 4 miles this week on your run or that you went to the grocery store to prep for meal planning this weekend, but it’s these smaller goals and habits that set you up for success to reach the big, hairy ones. And remember – the small stuff matters. Make sure you are building in small goals like grocery shopping each week, drinking X amount of water each day, and getting X number of hours of sleep each night.
- Make them visible. Make sure that whatever goals you’re setting for yourself are visible — post them on your bathroom wall so you can look at them when you’re bushing your teeth. Make a vision board to put in your office. Try creating an intention bracelet by distilling your goal down to one word that you wear and reflect upon daily. It’s so important that these intentions stay present in your everyday life.
- Check in with yourself once per month. I use my birthday day each month to check-in and take a personal inventory by asking myself: What have I accomplished? Are there things I need to reset? Is there something I can add to what I’m already doing? Then, add these tweaks to your notes and to your calendar and commit to doing them.
A quick warning, however. Please don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. It’s important to break down goals into bite-size chunks but don’t go so overboard in your planning that you forget about realistic, day-to-day habits and adjustments. In other words, don’t set yourself up to fail. Decide on a plan that’s specific enough to propel you forward but flexible enough to keep you working.
Operation Healthy Kitchen
Did you hear about our Operation Healthy Kitchen series on Facebook? The focused+fit coaches created a series of videos on nutrition, stocking your pantry, meal prep, and establishing healthy cooking habits that last. Check it out now or reach out to one of us to talk about how we might be able to help.
Not only does this month mark a new year but it’s also a new decade. I encourage you to think beyond this year to the next ten years and what you’d like to accomplish. My kids are growing up so fast and will be out of the house in this decade, so I’m reflecting on what that means for me and my family and setting some goals and milestones that will hopefully result in a more fulfilling life for all of us.
Now, go do something healthy today – eat another vegetable at dinner; get outside and take a walk, drink that extra glass of water, or set an earlier bedtime that you stick to. It’s all progress towards a healthy lifestyle. Cheers to your goal-setting process!