5 Tips for Setting and Smashing Goals
New Years mean new goals, renewed energy for what’s ahead and a chance to start over. We all have high hopes and ideas for how we can be successful on January 1st, but the reality is that as time passes most of those hopes and ideas don’t make it to fruition.
Here are 5 tips for goal setting for the new year:
1. STOP. Take some real time to think about what you want. REALLY STOP! Take a day off, take a hike. Do nothing but stop for a second and try and gain some clarity about the path you are on and how far you want to go on it or if you even want to be on it at all. If you can take a whole weekend or week even that is better. We need to step back from the day to day hustle and grind to get perspective and therefore be able to set appropriate goals. One of my favorite quotes is: “direction is so much more important than speed.”
2. Be SMART: Once you’re sure about where you want to go, make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
For Example: I would like to get a raise in my salary from 50k to 55k (specific) by June 1 (time bound). Make sure the goal is attainable, if your company is in a financial freeze this is probably not an attainable goal. Make sure the goal is relevant, if you hate your job and want to leave it then this is probably not a relevant goal. Make sure its measurable, on June first you’ll be able to measure whether you hit your goal or not.
3. Work Backward. If my goal is to lose 30lbs by June 1 (in 6 months), I need to consider what needs to be done monthly, weekly and daily in order to achieve that goal.
6 months goal: Lose 30lbs
Monthly: lose 5lbs, review progress and make changes. Read or listen to one book related to fitness and/or nutrition
Weekly: lose 1-2lbs, have had at least one check in with my coach, exercise at least 3x: with one additional yoga day and one full rest day. Read one new article or listen to at lease one podcast to help keep me motivated or learn something new about nutrition/health
Daily: get at least 8hrs of sleep a day, drink 8 glasses of water, keep only real food in the house, eat only real food (plants and animals). Do some movement of some kind (even if its just stretching). Meditate and journal each day. Weigh myself and log my weight.
You can see in this example how much more needs to be considered and mapped out then just slapping “lose 30lbs by June 1" on your mirror and moving on.
I also do this in a sort of general sense. I know that in order for me to be as successful as possible in general as a human being I need to:
Go to bed early and wake up early
Meditate and journal
Have no more than 1hr of screen time (TV, phone)
Take a cold shower (more on this in a future blog maybe)
Eat real food
I keep track of whether or not I did these 6 things each day. The more I do them, the more productive I am in general. This list is a living being, things have been added and taken away as I find what works best for me. Again, this is not necessarily to get me anywhere specific, its more just to increase my bandwidth as a human being. I set separate daily weekly and monthly goals for my specific long term goals.
4. Keep Track. Keep track of something, somewhere.
I keep track of workouts I do in my planner. I keep track of what kind of day I had and how well I stuck to my goals the day before in my journal. I keep track of if I ate clean on a yearly calendar (green check for a I ate totally clean/red x if I didn’t). I keep track of longer-term goals on a big whiteboard in my home office. It doesn’t matter how but keeping track of something (how often you worked out, how often you ate clean, how often you meditated, what you ate in a food journal whatever) will help you stay on track. What you keep track of and to what extent will vary from person to person. Checking things off as you make progress is also extremely rewarding.
5. Re-evaluate. You may find that a goal is no longer appropriate. That’s ok! You maybe needed to go this far down the path to find that out. It’s very easy to set a goal and the put your head down and hammer away. Wait! Step back! Make sure this still makes sense every so often. Listen to your heart and head, seek advice from people you trust and get feedback that can help you in your process.
I wanted to own a gym of my own at one point. As I went further down the path and got more information, sought guidance from friends and my therapist, I realized, this is not really a relevant goal for me anymore based on my professional goals, what I need for day to day happiness and current living requirement and financial constraints. I had to voice and pursue this goal as far as I did to learn more about the process and the market. In this process I found that the potential costs outweighed the potential benefits for me in my specific situation. Today, looking back, I can see that taking time to stop and seek information and guidance when I needed it was a big turning point for me and may have protected me from making a decision that was wrong for me. Also, things change! Along the way I ended up getting into nutrition coaching and am now moving further down that path with the proper intention and both my heart and head are in it.