Making Goals and Keeping Them

What do you know, it’s 2016! It’s a new year and what many view as a fresh start or clean slate. We are all about making goals to work for throughout the upcoming year. However, here’s your loving reminder to avoid taking on too much, being too critical of yourself, and quickly feeling like you’ve fallen short of your resolutions. Read the following for a few tips on how to form good, positive, reachable goals.

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Write your goals down: Writing down goals is the first step towards achieving them. If you put something down in writing, you are more likely to focus on it and work at it. As you write your goals out, try to also write out baby steps of how you plan on achieving that goal. Writing it out and breaking it down will help you plan better and you’ll see your end-goal more clearly. And yes, really write them down on a good old-fashioned piece of paper with a good old-fashioned pen or pencil. After writing out your goals and how you plan to get there, remind yourself of what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it by displaying your list in a place you will see it often. Try taping it to your mirror where you can look at it every day when you do your hair and every night when you brush your teeth. Seeing your handwritten goals often will keep you motivated.

Ponder on your goals and the reasons for making them: What is the driving force behind your goal? Examine your resolutions and ask yourself why you are even making them. Is the reason something superficial? Is it something that will bring only temporary happiness? Or is the reason behind your goal something that will enrich your life and bring balance and harmony? Be honest with yourself. If you are making a goal for superficial reasons, the likeliness of accomplishing it will go down. For example, why do you want to make a goal to exercise? If it is so you can lose X amount of weight and fit into a pair of jeans, you might want to reevaluate your goal. Make it a goal to exercise more so you can enjoy the power of your body, so you can have more energy, or so you can live a longer and healthier life. The latter side effects from the goal of exercising have much more longevity than that of fitting inside a pair of jeans. Make your goals about bringing true peace and happiness into your life, don’t make them about impressing or being accepted by others. If you want to do something for yourself for the right reasons then you’ll find it easier to keep doing those things for yourself . . . because you’ll like the way it feels.

Hold yourself accountable: To meet your goals you must truly work on them. Decide how you are going to do that. Make rules for yourself or set deadlines. Let’s talk about exercise again for a minute, since that’s a pretty popular New Year’s resolution. Are you going to exercise more simply by saying you want to exercise more? Probably not. You have to have something more specific that you’re working towards. You have to truly be committed.  Try signing up for a race! This is a great way to keep the motivation going longer than just the month of January. If you sign up for that race and maybe even make a goal of a time you’d like to finish it under, you are going to stay more driven to hit the gym and get in shape. If you have a goal to eat healthier in 2016, try keeping a log of what you eat. This will keep you accountable and help you to really take a good look at what you’re putting inside your body and where you can improve. Maybe you have a goal to read more. Decide how many books you want to read during the course of the year and make a reading schedule. Perhaps you could pick a book for every month and focus on reading it. There are so many ways you can keep yourself dedicated to goals. If you need extra help, ask a friend or family member to check in with you on your progress. A support system can be an awesome motivator in keeping and meeting goals. Start brainstorming!

Reward yourself: Make sure you give yourself a pat on the back for making progress. Sometimes we can be our own worst critics and it’s easy to lose sight of how awesome we are! If you don’t recognize your progress, you may start to believe you’re not progressing at all and give up. Stay positive and keep believing in yourself! Rewards (big and small) can be a great way to do this. Once you can run a mile under a certain time, reward yourself with some new, fun workout gear. Want to budget better? Work on setting some of that money aside so when the time comes, you can splurge on something you want and not feel guilty. Rewards can be simple: go to that movie you’re dying to see, get a manicure, have a bubble bath, take some time to go on a hike. Yes, it’s important to work hard on your goals, but it’s equally important to celebrate a job well-done.

Goal-setting can be intimidating . . . but it can also be a lot of fun if you let it be. You know what’s even more fun? Achieving those goals. We believe in you. Let’s make 2016 bright! Remember to love yourself through every setback and accomplishment. You were made to do amazing things!

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