So, we’re full-on into February and I’m talking about goal setting…am I too late? Wasn’t this the trending topic on January 1st? Do goals only count if you make them for the New Year? And if you did set goals over a month ago, are you still working on them? Or have they been forgotten like that bag of wilted kale at the back of your fridge? Be honest.
For me, the idea of setting goals and resolutions at the beginning of the year is counterintuitive. For one, it’s right on the heels of an extremely busy season. From the start of school through the winter holidays, it’s a rush of activity — and I need some time to breathe before settling into a plan for how I want the next year to look. Plus, about 80-90% of people abandon their New Year resolutions, so it seems like a quaint but ineffective practice.
I prefer to ease into the year and start looking at goals more in February. Not only is it a little quieter, but it also just feels more like a fresh start. The ground may still be cold in most of the country, but it’s also apparent that Spring is actually on its way. There’s an energy that’s undeniable — one that lends itself to new beginnings and fresh starts. And it’s a lot easier to think about what you want without the chants of ‘new year, new you’ and gym membership sales flooding your inbox.
Basically, spring is the perfect time to start thinking about goal setting.
What’s more, I like to think of goals in a more fluid and flexible way. Trying to say what you want the whole entire year to look like can be a bit daunting. I like to mix things up and take a less conventional approach.
Here are my 3 steps for creating goals you actually want to stick to — at any time of the year.
Write Down Your Goals
The first step in creating goals you actually want to stick to is to get writing. Research suggests you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. Messy journaling works as a start here. Just let your mind flow and don’t self-edit at this point.
Think about big picture things, things that will matter to you when you’re old and grey. Think about little things, too if they come up. Don’t judge, just write.
Sometimes it helps to divide your thoughts into categories, like health, personal relationships, spiritual practices, or finances. Set aside some time to really dig deep into your thoughts and how you want each area of your life to look and feel.
Once you’re confident you’ve gotten most everything on to paper — and don’t be afraid to let this process take several days or more — you can start whittling down and editing.
Choose to move forward with only a few of those goals that feel aligned with where you are at this moment and prioritize those first. Anything that feels too big or heavy can be put on a waitlist for a later goal planning session. Just because you’re not ready to move forward now doesn’t mean you won’t be ready in 90 days or next year. Give yourself space and grace to move forward on the goals that feel attainable. Challenging, but attainable.
Making your goal specific, measureable, and time-bound is a great way to ensure success, too. Instead of making your goal “get healthy” try “lose 15 pounds in one year” or “lower blood pressure by 10 points in 6 months” instead. Getting healthy is too vague and you won’t really know when you’ve gotten to “healthy.”
Break Down Your Goals
Once you have your short list of goals ready, it’s time to break them down into smaller, even more attainable pieces.
For example, if you decided your goal is to lose 15 pounds over the next year, figure out exactly what needs to happen for that to goal to be accomplished.
You could start with things like:
- Research the anti-inflammatory diet
- Create meal plan for one month of meals
- Make shopping list for week 1 of diet
- Clean out pantry of junk food
- Walk every other day for 1 mile
Basically, break the task down into much smaller tasks. This makes it so much easier for your brain to focus. And, when you check off the list that you’ve done the first item, the dopamine hit is unmistakable and you’ll want more — making the next task on the list look that much more attractive.
This method and the consistency it invites naturally is the key to achieving pretty much any goal in life.
Reassess Your Goals
Don’t forget, your goals aren’t permanent. I suggest assessing your progress and readjusting as necessary every 30-90 days.
You can do anything for 90 days, right? It’s a whole lot less intimidating than setting a goal for an entire year. Try something out for a month or three, and then see how it’s working. If it’s not working, maybe it’s time to change the goal or even decide you don’t want to pursue it any more.
You will gain much more satisfaction from pivoting your priorities to ones that feel right than you will forcing yourself into the same old tired goals you’ve failed to achieve year after year.
Is Vibrant Health On Your 2021 Goal List?
Did you start the year off strong but already settled back into old poor habits?
Wondering where the heck to start when your goals feel so out of reach because you’re exhausted all the time and packing on weight but you’re not even sure why?
I know how frustrating that can feel — but you don’t have to keep going alone.
In just 15 minutes, I can help point you in the right direction. I’ve been helping people get back on the road to vibrant health for many years now, and it doesn’t take me long to pinpoint ways to help.
It’s completely free to chat with me and of course, there’s no obligation whatsoever. Let’s get you back to feeling like yourself and crushing those goals — you deserve to live a life free from digestive issues, fatigue, and frustration.
Why Are New Year’s Resolutions So Easy to Break? | HowStuffWorks.” 15 Dec. 2020, https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays-other/new-year-resolutions-easy-to-break.htm.
“Making Your New Year’s Resolution Stick.” 10 Nov. 2019, https://www.apa.org/topics/behavioral-health/new-year-resolutions.
“This Is the Way You Need to Write Down Your Goals for Faster ….” 28 Feb. 2018, https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/this-is-way-you-need-to-write-down-your-goals-for-faster-success.html.
“Using SMART Goals to Make Scientific Progress | NIH Intramural ….” 14 Jul. 2016, https://irp.nih.gov/blog/post/2016/07/using-smart-goals-to-make-scientific-progress.