Tips for Effective New Year’s Goal Setting
Goooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaalllllls! (pronounce like South American soccer announcer)
I am not personally someone who likes to make New Year resolutions as I feel you should be setting goals throughout the year and not wait until the New Year to get started on something you can do now. Plus most resolutions peter out in the first couple weeks and if you’re lucky, may last a month. Remember CONSISTENCY is ALWAYS more important than extremes!
That being said, if it works for you please do it. Also, it gives a great excuse to implement goal setting practices in a consistent way. Maybe your first goal is a resolution to practice getting better at setting and achieving goals throughout the year…? Have a goal for having a better goal system.
Here are some best practices to get you going. First learn how to set reasonable, easily attainable goals to start, then build on that by monitoring progress and adjusting as necessary to stay on track. Remember that the most effective goal setting meets the following criteria:
A: Written down – Put it where you can see it daily as a constant reminder. It’s easy to get side-tracked or conveniently forget when its not in your face. Put the vacation spot you have a goal to visit on your phone screen saver, write your daily calorie goal down and stick it on your fridge, hang the clothes you want to fit into on your closet door, all as constant reminders. If these become commonplace and you start to look past them, change the location so it’s back in your face!
B: Specific and measurable – Abstract goals stay abstract and don’t coalesce. Instead of saying “I want to lose weight this year” decide how much and by when. Then you can check in and see if you are on track or not. Make it clear and undeniable so you can check the box “yes” or “no” so you know where you are at with your adherence and progress. If you’re off, make a change to get back on.
C: On a deadline – Open ended goals are always in future, never in the now. If you can put it off for next week, you most likely will.
D: REALISTIC – Start simple. Choose a goal that is 100% achievable and build on it. You want to be able to build on accomplishments no matter how small. If you say “I want to lose 10lbs this month” and you only lose 8 it may feel like a failure. If you say I want to lose 5lbs this month (much more reasonable and healthier) and by the 3 weeks you have lost 8lb, then you are not only successfully hitting your goal, you have overachieved! Then you reset your goal for the next month because you know 5lbs was doable. Remember, small hinges swing big doors!
E: Personal SIGNIFICANCE – The more it means to you the better chance you have of success. If you set an exercise goal to make it to the gym 3 times a week because the doctor said you had to, you are less likely to do it then if your motivation is to stay strong and healthy to be able to keep up with your kids for that family fun run.
Now that we understand these goal for goals we can form a plan and pick our targets! First understand the difference between outcome goals and behavioral goals.
Outcome goals:The main outcome you wish to achieve.
“I want to run a marathon this year”
“I want to lose 10 lbs and 2 inches off my waist by the next birthday”
“I want make $100,000 in investments over the next 3 years”.
These are all things you cannot directly control but are a result of the actions you take.
Behavioral goals: The actions you take to get results! These represent the steps you CONSISTENTLY take to achieve your outcome goal.
“I commit to running X miles 3 times a week”
“I commit to eating vegetables at every meal (including breakfast!)”
“I commit to putting away $500/month to my retirement fund”
Also remember SIMPLE is always best. Start with one goal and make it a HABIT. Think about building a bunch of small habits, one at a time, so your changes become lifestyle changes and not fads that you get frustrated with and quit after 30 days. Once it sticks move to the next habit that takes you to your goal. There are studies that show the more habits you try to adopt at one time the less chance you will adhere to ANY of them. Imagine if you added one habit (no matter how small) a month the amount of permanent change and success you will have over a year’s time. It also makes big challenges easier and far less daunting to tackle in small, manageable bits.
So get a pen and paper and think about what you really want to do. Envision the person you want to be and the things you want to achieve. Be critical of these things. Are they things you want or need? How important is it? Can you COMMIT to it? Is it REASONABLE? Make long-term and short-term goals, paint the picture first, then work backwards to what you will need to do to make them happen (behavioral goals)
Don’t forget to ask for help too. You may know what your outcome goal is but not know how to get there. If it has anything to do with body transformation, nutrition, fitness, muscle building, athletic performance… you are in luck, Cypress Fitness can help! Please ask, it’s sorta our job and passion and we’ve been doing it for a bit!
Notice keywords in this blog:
CONSISTENCY. SIMPLE. COMMIT. REASONABLE. HABIT. SIGNIFICANCE.