With the new year, many of us might be thinking about what we hope to accomplish in the future, whether that’s getting better grades, exercising more frequently or something else entirely.
“The start of the new year is always a good time to reflect on the previous year and envision how you want the next year to go. But it is not so much when you start a goal that matters, it is more about why the goal is important to you, what is motivating you to make the change,” says Dawn Zitney, a wellness educator/counselor at Health & Wellness.
Set yourself up to reach your goals with these tips:
In coming up with a goal, make sure it’s SMART. The criteria for SMART goals are below.
Specific: Is your goal clear? Does it state want you want and what you will do to accomplish it?
Measurable: When and how will you know you have accomplished your goal? Will you reward yourself as you strive to reach it?
Attainable: Is the goal realistic? Is it something you can control? Do you have the resources needed to reach it?
Relevant: Is this goal meaningful to you? Is it worthwhile?
Timely: How long will it take for you to reach your goal? Is it long- or short-term? When do you want (or need) to reach it?
Start small and be patient
While it can be tempting to set a large goal right from the start and hope it is reached almost instantly, be realistic.
“Goals don’t usually work when we rush too quickly to a solution or we set goals that are not attainable. Start small. Then build on your success to reach your ultimate goal. This also means being patient. Change doesn’t happen overnight,” says Zitney.
Set a goal based on something you want to achieve or do
Set a goal based on something you want to achieve or do, not something you don’t.
“Goals should be about our desire to strive toward some life-enhancing behavior or experience. Remember that what you focus on increases. So when you focus on not doing something, all you think about is that thing,” says Shannon Seiferth, a wellness educator/counselor at Health & Wellness.
Share your goal with others
Get support to help you reach your goals by sharing them with a family member, friend or someone else you trust. Health & Wellness has wellness coaches that you can meet with to discuss your goals. Make an appointment
Write down your goal, whether on paper, your phone or computer or somewhere else where you will see it. Taking note of your goal is a way of committing to meet it and reminding you of what you want to accomplish.
Be kind to yourself
Don’t beat yourself up if things do not go exactly as planned. Be kind to yourself!
“Roadblocks on our pathway to success are not only common, they’re inevitable,” says Seiferth.
“View any bumps along the way as opportunities to learn from, or times to reassess and readjust your plans.”
Go for your goals, ‘Cats!