We’re all for setting goals for the New Year, but the reality is that many people lose motivation and don’t end up following through on those goals. In order to help you set goals that you will actually achieve, here are a few goal-setting strategies to help you stay on course.
Pick a specific, realistic goal: Research has found that setting a narrowly-defined goal can help you clarify the tasks needed for reaching that goal. When the steps to achieving your goal are clear and realistic, you’ll find it easier to stay on course and keep yourself accountable. Zander Fryer, the founder of the coaching company High Impact Coaching, is a fan of the Goldilocks-sized goal. “If it’s too big, it will scare you off; too small, and it won’t motivate you,” he says. “Each individual must figure out the goal that gets them moving.”
Create a plan of attack: To give yourself the best chances of succeeding, write down a plan for how you’ll go about achieving your end goal. For instance, if you want to achieve better stamina as a runner, identity specific strategies that will help you build up that endurance, such as slowly increasing the distance of your daily runs.
Be accountable to yourself and others: While setting a goal is easy, sticking to it can be difficult. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose someone who can help keep you accountable. As Fryer puts it, “Having a mentor, a partner or social accountability will help when you reach a sticking point.” When it comes to choosing a person who will make sure you follow through on your goal, go for someone who you don’t want to disappoint or someone with a similar goal. You could also consider paying for a personal mentor who will make it their job to keep you on track.
Find joy in the process: Visualize the process of achieving your goal and see how it makes you feel. If it makes you feel dread, maybe it’s not the right goal for you. However, if it makes you “feel open and curious, that’s a good sign.” One way to make the process more enjoyable is by celebrating the little achievements on your way to the ultimate goal. If you run that extra mile, for instance, mark it on a calendar so you can see how you’re progressing over time. When you finally reach your end goal, you might just find the process was actually more rewarding than crossing the finish line.
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