Goal setting is a popular topic this time of year. Goals, resolutions, whatever you wanna call them. The end of the year seems to be the peak time to talk about what you want to do better in the future.
However, we all know that new years resolutions get a bad rap for being hard to maintain. You go really hard in January and then fall off for the remaining 11 months. Hell, I have a list of things from last January right next to me right now that I didn’t follow through on.
Goal setting is more than just writing down a sentence and saying you want to work on it. Or, it should be anyways. The goals that I wrote down last year are just one liners. No plan, no actions to take, no timelines to get there.
I KNOW that is not the way to reach my goals, but I didn’t do the work that would actually help me get where I want to go. This year, it’s different.
Last year, I had like 15 things I wanted to work on. This year, I picked 4.
Last year, I wrote things like “10 consecutive pull ups”. And that’s it. No plan, no timeline.
This year, I wrote “Pay off $12,000 in student loans” and then I wrote down a PLAN with actual steps and a timeline for how I’m going to accomplish that. And then I wrote some post its to remind me of that goal and I stuck them on a couple different mirrors in my apartment.
You’re more likely to accomplish your goals if you set SMART goals.
SMART goals are:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time-bound
When you set a goal, it should be specific, it should be able to be measured in some way, it should be something you can actually do, it should be relevant to your life, and you should set a deadline for yourself.
You should also lay out the steps for how you’re going to achieve that goal. What you need to do, when you’re going to do it, how you’re going to carve out more time to do it, who you need to talk to to help you get there.
For instance, instead of saying you want to eat healthier, your goal would be “I’m going to replace one meal a day with a healthier alternative and make it a habit by February 1st.” To reach this goal, you will have to set steps such as finding healthy recipes, buying the groceries, and then setting time to cook them each day or meal prepping them.
Or instead of saying “I want to drink more water”, your goal would be “I want to drink 100oz of water every day for the next 3 months.” Then, your steps would be things like buying a reusable water bottle, setting yourself checkpoints throughout the day to make sure you’re on track to hit it, and establishing with the people around you that you will be spending more time in the bathroom ha.
This obviously applies to non-fitness goals, too. If you want to read more books, or make moves in your career, or declutter your home, or cultivate better relationships, write out a plan with the steps you need to take to get there.
The point is, if you want to be successful with your goals, it requires more thought that just one sentence wrote down on paper. It also requires more thought than just on the day that you wrote it down. Check in with yourself often – how are you progressing? Do you need to create a new plan to get there? Is this still the goal you want to achieve or do you need to redirect? Weekly or monthly check ins are good for this. This is applicable to all goals – not just New Years Resolutions.
If you really want to make something happen, write it down, figure out the actions you need to take to get there, and do the damn actions so that you can make it happen.
I want to know what your goals are for 2020! Leave a comment with your #1 resolution or goal for 2020. And let’s make it happen.
Photography by Anna Longworth Photography