How To Set New Year’s Goals That Work

How To Set New Year's Goals You'll Stick To by Certified Personal Trainer and Healthy Lifestyle Coach Jennifer Ledford

Happy New Year!

A brand new year is upon us and, for many of you, that means setting brand new goals or, in some cases, resurrecting old ones.  For some, setting New Year’s goals is exciting and for others, it can be a bit intimidating.

If you find yourself in the camp that’s hesitant to set new goals, you are not alone.  It’s a normal feeling that usually stems from fear of loss and/or failure.  Based on the statistics that  1/3 of the goal setters will have already broken their resolutions by January 7th, it’s understandable why the fear to commit to new goals exists.  Whether you are someone who is all fired up to set new goals, terrified, or somewhere in between, the good news is it’s entirely possible for anyone to set goals that they can stick to.  It just takes a little reflection and some know how.

How To Set NEW YEAR’S Goals You’ll Stick To

One of the main reasons people have a hard time keeping their resolutions after the new year is that the goals they’ve set are usually unrealistic.  Even the most disciplined person on the planet is going to have a hard time meeting a goal that is so lofty, the odds of winning the lottery are better than achieving the goals they’ve set.

For example, if you only have thirty minutes a day to exercise and it take twenty minutes to drive to the gym, setting a goal of going to the gym five days per week is a recipe for failure.

Five Tips To Set Goals That Work

1) Make it personal. Take a moment to look closely at the goals you’ve set and ask yourself whether or not they are aligned with your values and current priorities.

While looking like the model on the cover of a magazine may seem like a fantastic goal, after discovering what’s required, you may decide that’s not for you or, even more importantly, that’s not your body type and it would be extremely unhealthy for you to even attempt to get there.

It’s critical that your goals be your own. Copying someone else’s life can be like wearing shoes that are a bit too tight. It never feels quite right. It’s okay to use general guidelines but when you finally set the goals, they need to be customized to fit your life and be meaningful to you. You are an individual which makes a cookie-cutter approach  tough to stick to.

Look at your calendar and be realistic about how much time you can commit to your new goal. This is really important! Often times, we can get so caught up in the excitement of setting our New Year’s goals that we forget to think about the time involved.  Most of us have existing commitments (family, relationships, jobs, pets, etc.) that don’t go away at the end of the calendar year.

If you are struggling to find time, ask yourself if there are other commitments that you should put on hold or can delegate to someone else.  In order to create time for new goals we usually need to let go of other commitments or, in some cases, habits that are not serving us well.   Consider multi tasking when it’s appropriate, like exercising while you listen to a conference call or walking during your lunch hour. Do what you can. It’s better to get started with a smaller goal than to never begin at all.

2) Change one thing. The people that usually see the most success do so by setting one to two goals they know they can implement right away.

Start by committing to your new goal for thirty days and then evaluate whether or not it’s working for you.  Don’t be afraid to change things up and tweak things.  Adding a new “thing” to your life usually requires an adjustment period so allow yourself some time to figure out what works for you.

3) Write it down. People that commit their goals to paper have a higher success rate. So take a moment to write down your goals for each area of your life for the new year. If you are keeping your list realistic, it shouldn’t be too long. You can always add more later in the year once you’ve accomplished the first set. Keep your list posted in a place you’ll see it daily to help you stay on track.

4) Do the work. Once you’ve set your realistic goals, follow through and do your best to stick to your plan. Research shows us that once one healthy goal becomes a habit, momentum occurs which then leads to success in adding other healthy habits automatically.  This applies to every area of your life, not just health and fitness.  Goals that serve you well should all be considered healthy. 🙂

5) Don’t be afraid to change things up. From time to time circumstances may throw you off track. This is normal and happens to everyone.  Oftentimes, all you have to do is get up, shake off the dust, and get back on track.  Other times (like when I recently broke my foot) you have to pivot and make some temporary and/or permanent changes.  That doesn’t mean you are a failure.  It means you are living life and adapting to whatever comes your way.

New Year’s resolutions should advance and take you forward long-term but not be so lofty or torturous that they are completely unobtainable. Keeping this mindset will allow you to set yourself up for total success.

Have a Happy New Year!

With love,

P.S. Have a question or comment? Please post it below in the comment section and/or on my Facebook page. I love to hear from you!

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