Cliché as they may be, New Year’s resolutions are part and parcel with the turning of the calendar page, providing opportunities for self reflection and reasonable goal setting. Face the next 365 days with improved vigour and a honed-in purpose with D’FYNE’s guide to setting yourself up for success.
The end of December not only brings renewed hope for the 12 months to follow but also provides a time to ref lect on the lessons learned in the past year, what you want in life, and what truly makes you happy. I’m usually not one for setting New Year’s resolutions. However, this time of year serves as a great opportunity to think about your future and to set realistic goals to turn your vision into reality.
Goals are essential and powerful tools for everyone who wants to achieve their ambitions and desires, and for anyone who wants to create the inspired life they dream of. Setting measurable goals can help you focus on what’s important, increase your efforts and motivation to stick with your plan, force you to consider new strategies, and help you track your progress.
But, as we all know, setting goals is the easy part – executing and achieving them are bigger challenges. Whether you want to have amazing relationships with those around you, embrace your ideal physique, improve
your health and create whole-life balance, or find a career that inspires you daily, you need the correct
approach in making and managing those goals. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Why should your health and happiness be any different?
1 CREATE YOUR BIG PICTURE Evaluate your current situation and outline your intentions. Which areas of your life would you most like to improve? How do you want to feel? Are you satisfied with your current relationships? Take a closer look at your career, an area in which many people crave change. Are you simply going through the motions? Are you using your skills while acquiring new ones? Are you excited to get out of bed every day? If you aren’t satisfied with any of your answers, it’s a big indication that you need to move on.
Now you can create the “big picture,” bringing all of these areas of your life together. First, create
a 90-day plan, beginning with the larger goals you would like to achieve in your lifetime and working backward. Take the time to brainstorm the specific things you want to achieve each week in the following categories. This will give you actionable points to work toward, building up to the larger goals you would
like to achieve in the years to come.
-Career and education
-Health, diet, and physical activity
-Relationships and social life
2 SET S.M.A.R.T. GOALS When you set effective goals, you will achieve more. Goals can provide focus, enhance productivity, boost self-esteem, and increase commitment. When setting a goal, clearly outline the steps needed to achieve it – but take care to not overwhelm yourself. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable,
attainable, realistic, and timely. Let’s see this principle in action:
GOAL: “I am going to fit into my favourite dress again by February 28 by going to four boot-camp classes each week and eating a high-protein breakfast every day.”
SPECIFIC? There is a hard deadline, so yes.
MEASURABLE? You will either be able to fit into the dress or you won’t.
ATTAINABLE? If the dress is only a size or two away, at a rate of one to two pounds each week – a healthy and practical aim for weight loss – it absolutely should be.
REALISTIC? One-hundred percent. See the last answer
TIMELY? A timely goal will generally have a timeframe of three months or less, so this one fits the bill.
With practise and perseverance, you will find that you are able to achieve more than you ever thought you could.
3 MANIFEST YOUR DESIRES Your list of desires is made up of your ultimate goals. Get in touch with your highest ambitions, from relationships to finances to vacations – anything goes. You can begin simply, and soon the ideas will start f lowing. Use strong language, such as “I will,” “I desire,” or “I envision.” Physically write them down to solidify them in your head – no typing, we’re talking pen to paper – and keep them close by, perhaps near your nightstand, posted on your fridge, or as the on
your phone or laptop. You may not need to consult with them every day, but keeping them within reach will also hold them near the top of your mind and keep you on track for those smaller goals that you’ve set along the way.
4 HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE Many people struggle to set up effective strategies, system, and support right off the bat. and pay for it later when they are faced with challenging times. Though initially you may not feel that you need help, your support network will become so important if you fall off the wagon. Carefully choose people around you who have shown that they can be trustworthy and supportive and communicate your goals to them. Let them know of ways they can help when challenges arise – and how to recognize when you are struggling – and if they’re truly supportive they will know the right things to say to motivate you to get back on track.
5 HAVE A PURPOSE Understanding why you want to achieve your goals is as powerful as what your goals are. The purpose of your goal helps you to identify if it is worth working toward and an underrated motivator to push you to success. For example, setting aside money each month for a rainy day won’t give you the same motivation as if you are saving for a vacation with your significant other because you recognize that you need to devote more time to your relationship, free of day-to-day hassles and distractions.
6 CREATE DEADLINES Perhaps the most essential ingredient for your success is to break your goals down into manageable chunks. Utilize your phone’s calendar app and set up alarms to remind yourself when your end date is coming up. If one of your goals is to make it to the gym three days each week, set a reminder for the day before and two hours before your gym date to keep yourself accountable. If you want to cook dinner every Friday and Saturday, set an alarm on Thursday to do the grocery shopping. This will remove any chance that an excuse will crop up. Apps like Success and Strides Habit Tracker take the guesswork out of pacing your path to achievement by prompting you to stay on track along the way. And remember the power of f lexibility: a setback doesn’t mean you need to start back at square one. Schedule time once each week – or daily, if you find it difficult to stay the course – to evaluate whether you are on track and make adjustments as you progress. Finding it tough to make it to a Thursday night spin class because of your work schedule? Push it to Friday, or try a different time of day. With experimentation and willingness to adapt, you’ll find what works for you.
7 DECIDE WHAT YOU NEED TO SACRIFICE If reaching your goal was an easy task, you would have done it by now. It’s only natural that there will be things you must be willing to give up in order to make your goal a priority. Using our weightloss goal as a model, you may need to ease up on your TV schedule or get up an hour earlier every day to make room for meal prep or evening workouts. The important thing is to positively spin these sacrifices to make them work as motivation. After all, you aren’t losing an hour of sleep – you’re gaining energy and adding quality years to your life.
8 BE PATIENT You have to look at the overall big picture if you want long-term success. Remember that slow progress is better than no progress, and to be successful you need to have patience in the process. You will always encounter setbacks, so don’t get discouraged if you are not making huge leaps in results. Just keep taking steps forward. Once you do reach your goals, you will appreciate them that much more because you earned them – and they didn’t come easy.
9 TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR ACTIONS Remember that you have complete control over your achievements. Other people can advise and support you, but it’s your actions that need to change to see the results you want. Those who blame others and come up with excuses as to why they can’t achieve success will not have the drive needed to change. Above all, you are the person in the driver’s seat and therefore the one who is responsible for your future.
If you haven’t already been setting goals, today is the best day to start whatever the day may be. As you make goal setting a part of your life, you will be amazed at how much easier it gets and, more importantly, what you are capable of achieving, whether it is in regard to your health, career, or your sense of joy.