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!

The First Step To Setting Goals You’ll Stick To

Jennifer Ledford - Merry Christmas 2016 and Happy New Year - Setting Goals

A new year is right around the corner and that usually means the setting of new goals and/or resolutions for many people.  I believe it’s important to have a vision for your life and I’ll be sharing helpful tips on how to set goals that lead to success over the next few weeks.  However, there’s still a few days left in this calendar year so, before we start focusing on next year, I’m going to invite you to join me in taking a moment to look back at 2016.

Before you get nervous about my invitation, please understand that I’m not suggesting you look back at 2016  for the purpose of picking apart what went wrong or to beat yourself up about what wasn’t accomplished last year.  I’m suggesting that we all take a moment to pause and reflect on what went well and what WAS accomplished in the past year.  Where are areas that you saw success?  Did you take that vacation you always wanted to go on or get that new job?  Did you pick one healthy habit and stick to it most of the year?  When you look back, you may be surprised at how many things you accomplished in 2016 that you are not giving yourself credit for.

As I write this, I am nursing our seventeen year old dog who has been battling cancer for over eight months.  A few weeks ago she became seriously ill and needed to be hospitalized.  When we picked her up from the animal hospital we left with supportive medication to make her comfortable, a tearful goodbye,  and the instructions to simply take things day by day.  For someone that is a big planner taking life day by day is generally not normal for me.

While it’s not exactly how I envisioned spending our holiday season, taking care of her has allowed me to be more still during what is normally a busy time of year for us.  I’ve spent less time focusing on material things and more time spending precious time with my family around our Christmas tree.  Sometimes you get what you need in unexpected ways.

This year has been full of highs, lows, and everything in between for our household.  Basically, life happened.  So, as mid-December rolled around, I found myself joining the ranks of society that is eager for the year to end and a “fresh” new year to begin.  While I wasn’t quite at the point of “I can’t wait for this year to be over,” I was certainly saying “I’m looking forward to 2017.”  And then it dawned on me.  I was already revving up for 2017 and wasn’t living in the present.  I was “enduring” rather than “living” and I realized that was not how I wanted to remember this time.  That’s when I believe I received a nudge from God to pause and reflect on all of the good things that have happened this year, all of the goals that WERE met, and all of the surprise blessings.

While it’s true that we should keep our eyes on the road ahead of us and avoid coasting on our past successes, reminding yourself of the the things you’ve done right or the battles you have won in the past will help give you the strength you need to carry on while tackling the goals you’ve set for the new year.  And, understanding your strengths helps you set realistic goals based on your own personal gifts and  the desire of YOUR heart,  NOT what society says you “should” want for yourself.  I’ve yet to see a “list of shoulds” be a powerful motivator for anyone, myself included.

Before the clock strikes twelve on December 31st, I encourage you to take out a piece of paper or your journal and make a list of all of the goals you’ve accomplished, the things that went well for you, the blessings you received this past year, and anything else positive you can come up with. I promise you you’ll be glad you did.

Taking time out to reflect on your accomplishments will empower you to move forward because  focusing on what you CAN do is always more powerful than focusing on what you can’t do.

Here’s to a healthy and very happy new year!

Shared with love,


How Belief And Action Work Together To Help You Accomplish Your Goals

shutterstock_271205993 - Weight Loss Goals That Work - Jennifer Ledford

Goal setting is an interesting thing.  For some people it’s very methodical.  From the outside looking in, it can almost seem like they march right down the field of life crossing goals off their list as if it’s a simple trip to the grocery store.  While there’s always a backstory to anyone’s success, it’s important to take note of the basic principles that contribute to successfully accomplishing one’s goals.

When it comes to accomplishing goals, it’s imperative that you believe you can succeed.  Belief helps you expect a positive outcome which affects your thoughts, your words, and your actions.

One of the best examples of people that maintain high levels of belief they can and will succeed are professional athletes.  If you had a chance to watch the Super Bowl and any of the pregame interviews with the players, you may have noticed that they all demonstrated a high level of belief when it came to achieving the end goal of winning.  Not one of those players goes into the game expecting less than a win.  They know that only one team will take home the trophy but they all take on a “losing is not an option” attitude.  At the end of the game one team does take home the trophy and the other team has had one heck of a season. Both come out big winners.

One of the biggest reasons the players in the Super Bowl are able to believe they can win is because they have won games in the past.  Most people have a hard time believing they can achieve a goal that seems miles away from where they’re at.  Or, maybe they’ve had some success but never quite reached the end goal.  An example of this would be losing weight and keeping it off for good.  Based on my own personal experience, I can promise you that past failures by no means dictate your future.  However, they can get in the way when it comes to believing you can achieve your goals.

This is why it’s recommended that you pursue your goals one step at a time and keep them realistic.  With any new goal you’re going to have to step into some unchartered territory.  If you start with activities you believe you can implement right away and stick to, it’s going to be much easier to believe you can reach the finish line.  For every small step forward you take, additional confidence and belief is being built and the goal begins to seem less overwhelming.

While belief is one of the most critical components of success, belief alone, without action, will not take you very far.  Achieving goals requires taking the necessary steps to reach your goal along with staying consistent with the activities that will contribute to positive results.  This is why it’s very important that you set realistic goals based on your ability and  the time you can commit.

Fortunately time and ability are flexible.  You can always learn new skills and improve your ability.  And, you can always reevaluate how you are spending your time and make adjustments based on your current priorities.  I recommend getting started with one to two things you know you can implement right away and as you progress you will figure out what works with your schedule and which activities are giving you the best results .  What’s most important is that you are moving forward toward the goal.  Your journey is personal so avoid comparing yourself to others and their pace.  Focus on your own personal success.

When you believe you can succeed and make time to take the necessary steps to get you closer to your goal, you will be amazed with your results.

Here’s to total success in every area of your life!

With love,
Jennifer Ledford