We’ve all done it. Whether it’s only at New Year’s or when we’ve had a surge of motivation, at one point or another we’ve set goals. But here’s the real question: Were they achieved?
Setting goals seems relatively easy. You think about what you want and tell yourself you’re going to accomplish it, right? Not quite. While that tactic may work for an extremely self-driven individual, in order to be successful most people need to flesh out their objectives. Especially when it comes to health!
Chances are you’re reading this section of the newspaper because you wish to improve a certain aspect of your health. Maybe you’d like to shed excess body fat, maybe you’re looking to add muscle or maybe you just want to get healthier. Regardless of what it is, you have an idea of what you want. So let’s make it happen this year!
Tip 1: Break It Up
To make progress in 2013, it’s a good idea to turn each resolution into goals. Notice that little ‘s’ on the end of the word ‘goal’? That’s no mistake. Although you may have one ultimate objective, the best way to ensure you reach it is by setting several smaller goals that take you closer to your ultimate one.
Think of goal setting like eating an apple. You can’t just shove the whole thing in your mouth at once; you’ll choke or give up trying to chew it all. Instead, you need to take smaller, more manageable bites to ensure you finish the whole thing.
Tip 2: Specify With Numbers
Another important component of goal setting is incorporating numbers. When you use numbers in objectives, each goal becomes more specific. For instance if your 2013 goal is to lose excess body fat, make it more detailed by giving yourself inches to lose by specific dates, such as: Shed 1 inch off my tummy by January 31st. This type of goal is more likely to keep you motivated as it’ll be very clear to track your success.
Tip 3: Paper Trumps Mind
Often, we set goals in our minds thinking it’s enough. Like I mentioned above, if you are extremely self-driven this may hold true, but I’m willing to bet that the majority of people are not.
Although statistics differ across various studies, the end results are in agreement; People who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. Not only does it allow you to make goals clear and concise, but by writing them down you can also revisit them at a later date to track your progress. And even if you never look at them again, there is something to be said for taking time to embed goals in your subconscious mind. And writing them down is one way to do that.
Tip 4: Assign Rewards
Everybody has something that motivates him or her, so in order to increase the likelihood of reaching your goals, why not entice yourself with rewards?
After writing down your detailed targets, take some time to assign each one with a prize. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy yourself something—even though purchasing a new pair of shoes is quiet motivating—you can also reward yourself with other activities. Maybe you can treat yourself to an evening of wine and movies, or why not cook up your favorite meal for dinner? Whatever the incentive, promise it to yourself when you reach one of your goals and you may find you have an extra drive you achieve them.
Tip 5: Enforce Accountability
While setting goals is important, so is holding yourself accountable to achieve them. But, how do you do that? One of the methods I’ve personally had success with is being very vocal about goals. Post them on Facebook, tell your friends and family about them and make sure your resolutions are heard. It’s a surefire way to success since you’ll want to show everyone that you’re not all talk and you actually did achieve what you set out to.
Some other ways to enforce accountability are to team up with friends to reach similar targets and to set reminders for yourself in visible places like your smartphone.
So this year, take a different approach to goal setting and spend a few minutes fine-tuning them using the tips above. Not only will you end up setting clearer and more realistic objectives for yourself to achieve, but you’ll also increase your chances of actually accomplishing them.