New Year's Goal Setting

By Audrey Marlene

Goal Setting

As we look back on the past year(s), we tend to look at what we have accomplished, the things we wanted to do, and what we still need to do. As we all know, New Year's resolutions are easily made and easily forgotten.

New Year's resolutions are all about goal setting. I am certain when we make them we have the best of intentions. Many of us may plan to make more time for family, pay more attention to our health, exercise more, stop smoking, or find a new career path. But why is it that these well-intentioned goals are so easily forgotten?

Many people believe that by making a New Years resolution something will magically happen that will allow these goals to be executed. A New Years resolution is a goal we make to improve our lives in some area. Any goal setting, no matter what time of year they are made requires a plan, self-discipline, a commitment to change, flexibility, and determination.

In goal setting for the New Year, the goal must be realistic. Whether they are personal or business, you must first decide what you would like to achieve and write it down. Examine it with a set of objective eyes. Realistic doesn’t necessarily mean setting easy goals. The goals must be challenging enough so you can feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

So on the first day of the New Year as you make your resolutions, determine how you plan to execute your goals and not just simply make a wish. This will establish if you will be able to carry out your plan throughout the year. Making a resolution or goal setting is only a small fraction of achieving that goal. For example if my new year’s resolution is to lose weight I would need to create a plan, a step by step strategy for achieving that goal.

1. I would learn how to improve my way of eating, educate myself about proper nutrition or even consult with a nutritionist.2. I would make some time at least 3 times per week to do some cardiovascular exercise, maybe join a gym and/or work with a trainer. 3. I would make sure I stay committed and consistent to this plan, incorporating into my week definite reminders.

In defining your plan you must be as precise and detailed as possible. Here are some questions you must ask yourself when defining your plan.

  • Why is this goal important to me? Make a list.

  • What do I plan to do achieve my goal?

  • Do I need help executing my plan? If so, who can I contact?

  • How long do I give myself to carry out this plan?

  • How am I going to fit this into my current way of life? Where do I need to make some adjustments to my schedule?

  • Does this fit into my budget?

  • Who do I need to support me during this process? Maybe family members, coworkers? Am I emotionally ready for this?

  • Am I aware of the effort that is required of me?

  • Am I feeling committed to getting this done?

    Lay out the groundwork and define your strategy. Answer all of the above questions and use them as an initial strategy to get motivated and move beyond just thinking about goal setting.

    When goal setting, your goals must must be:

  • Something you enjoy
  • Something you want very badly
  • Not something that is trendy and seems cool, so you want to try it.
  • Not something you family thinks is good for you so you want to do it for them.
  • Something you are willing to work at
  • Something that will empower you

    If goal setting feels painful and you are not enthusiastic about it, then you are setting the wrong goals. Maybe it's time to reevaluate the goals you are setting and perhaps reorganize your priorities and what's truly important to you.

    Make sure you are goal setting and making New Year's resolutions for all the right reasons. It's quite natural for us to make statements around New Years about doing things just because everyone is doing it. If you truly have certain goals in mind take the time to examine them before you make a statement of commitment. Saying is the easy part, doing is the real challenge. You want to be known as a doer not a big talker.

    As you set your New Years goals and resolutions, it is important to realize that these goals are going to give your life a different direction in the year ahead. By knowing exactly what you want to achieve, you can put your efforts in that direction. Even though you may be distracted at times, you can easily return to your objectives and keep the momentum going by sticking to your goal setting plan. As you stay on course, your level of confidence and motivation will increase simultaneously.

    Once the New Years resolutions are set, it's time to get started. As you embark on your journey the enthusiasm you feel about your goals will give you the momentum you need in beginning. However, as time goes by this level of enthusiasm will fade somewhat and may cause you to lose your drive. This is normal so don't panic!

    Let's look at some ways to keep the enthusiasm alive through self-motivation.

  • Self-recognition. Recognize the efforts you are making and feel good about it. Don't take your efforts for granted. Allow each stride to serve as an incentive for the next.

  • Self-acceptance. Understand your shortcomings and be prepared to compensate for them when it's necessary. Use your strengths to make up for where you are lacking or seek the help of someone who can help you.

  • Self-reward. Give yourself a pat on the shoulder for the small steps you have made towards achieving your goal. Do something nice for yourself, maybe have a massage or a weekend vacation. Go easy on yourself if you have an occasional bad day. Criticizing yourself will undermine your drive. Keep track of your progress and feel good about it. Try not to compare yourself with others.

  • Support system. Secure a strong support system. Maybe friends, family, coworkers, or a life coach who can support, recognize and encourage your efforts.

  • Self-reminders. Post notes or signs in places that will remind you of the great effort you are making. These allow for positive reinforcement of your efforts, which can become implanted in your psyche.

  • Self-talk. Through positive self-talk, you can feed positive recognition of self to your subconscious. Once the self-talk is continuous, over time the conscious mind takes action and the behavior changes. This is a conditioning technique that you can use to self-motivate, which can the help with the achievement of your goals.

    Just imagine how great you will feel knowing that you are sticking to your goal setting, plan. Fast forward to the beginning of the next year and anticipate how accomplished you will feel when you are able to follow through on your plans.

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