Updated: Mar 25
One of the most common things to see on the social media right now are all the goals that people are setting for the New Year. It is a good thing to post it out there for all to see, it sets an air of accountability, which is one of the crucial steps in keeping goals. If you have set new goals for the forthcoming year, then this post is for you. If you have not set goals and do not plan too, this post is for you as well. Setting goals is not a long list of things you want to accomplish that seem far beyond the reach of your everyday normal routine, they can be simple. The simple goals are usually the most effective in changing you for the better as well. It is the little wins that we accomplish in life that set us up for the big wins later down the road.
One of my favorite goals that I recommend everyone start with is this; make your bed every morning. You would be surprised how this simple act will change your outlook and day. Most people do not do this and think it is pointless. By making your bed first thing when you wake up, you instantly accomplish something. When you get home at the end of the day and walk into your room to sleep, and are welcomed by a clean and well made bed, it will brighten up your mood. No matter how bad a day it is you can always tell yourself that you did accomplish one thing. This simple act will lead to others as well. Little simple goals like this are the little wins that snowball into bigger wins.
Naturally, there is a science to all this goal setting. Fewer than 10% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them. If you are going to be serious, you have to plan, keep records, and you might need outside help. With that being said here are seven key steps to keeping your goals/New Year’s Resolutions.
1. Pick only one goal.
If you are new to goal setting or have had bad luck in the past keeping the list you’ve made for yourself, then start off simple. The example of making your bed every morning is a good one, but if you’re goal is stop doing bad habits, then only stick with quitting one bad habit.
2. Keep it specific.
Make to goal exactly what you want it too be. Leave no wiggle room for interpretation. Also, make it challenging. You need to be able to do something that motivates you to the next level. If making you bed every morning seems to mundane and dumb, then pick something that will excite you if you actually get it done. Once this goal is picked, find a way to measure your progress, this adds to the challenging part of it.
3. Are you learning or doing?
This is important to understand, because you might just need to get back to a healthy habit that you already know how to do or you have set a goal to acquire a new skill. Either way you need to understand which it is and be able to track your progress. If it is making the bed every morning you probably think you already know how to do this, which makes the goal a doing task and tracking it is for the purpose of you keeping a record of following through with it. Maybe you start to actually make your bed only to realize it looks awful when you are done, this has now become a learning goal. Research different ways to make a bed and try them out. Find which method you like, stick to it and keep it up.
4. Break the goal into smaller short term goals.
How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time. The making your bed everyday example might seem hard to use as an example here, but there is almost always a way to break down goals into small manageable bites. If your goal is to lose weight, say 60 lbs by the end of the year, break that down into 12 parts. That would be 5 lbs a month. That seems simple enough, and each month you lose 5 lbs gets you closer to that larger 60 lbs goal. Some months you might struggle to meet it, others you might blow right past it and lose more. Either way you need to take those large goals and break them down into smaller manageable steps to keep yourself on pace, and track your progress well.
5. Check your friends.
Who you hang out with can have a huge effect on whether or not you are going to keep your goals. If it is your goal to lose weight and everyone you hang out with is eating fast food all the time and have no desire to ever work out in any sense, then you need to not hang around these people anymore. This does not mean you need to ditch your life long friend and companions for new ones, but it does mean you should surround yourself with those people who have similar goals as you do. Find people who help you towards your goals they can be the catalyst that help you take that next step.
6. Check your surroundings.
Making your bed every morning might not be as easy as it sounds, especially if you can not get to your bed easily. Keeping your room picked up a little will help you keep this small goal. Throwing all the clothes on the bed to be folded only to push them to the side when you want to go to bed will be a big roadblock come morning time. Keeping junk food in the house when you are trying to lose weight will be too much of a tempter when that urge to snack simply because you are bored comes along. Leave yourself notes reminding you of why you are trying to do what it is you set out to do. Write it down and look at it daily. Make it the background on your phone. Whatever you need to constantly keep you mind focused on the goal set before you, then do it. Only having it in one spot will not get the job done, especially if you have set backs, and you will. That is the time you need your environment around you set up to keep you on track the most. If all you have is that one daily reminder, it is easy to turn it off and forget as soon as things get tough.
Keeping some form of metrics to track what your goal is can be essential. Write down everything. You can use a notebook or your phone, but whatever it is do it. Also, have someone you can count on to help motivate you to keep you on track. Meet once a week with this person for 5 to 10 minutes. Show them your notes and be honest. If you fudge the numbers so that your partner will not get mad at you and try to steer you back to the correct path, they will figure it out. Keep an honest account of how you are doing and you will get good honest results.
These seven steps are backed by a good amount of science, and if followed will help you keep your goals and set new ones when you complete and surpass the first goals you set to begin with. Happy goal setting and I know that you will complete what it is you have set out to to.