Six Steps to Goal-Setting for 2015

December 29, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

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I've always admired those who set New Year's resolutions. They come bursting out of the corners, still covered in leftover Christmas decorations, ready to dedicate their precious time to drastically improving an area of their lives they feel is lacking. And what better time? The holiday season madness is over, the weather will start improving (eventually), it just feels like a prime opportunity to start something new. 

However, we all know the track records for resolutions: by February gym memberships are sitting unused or cancelled, blood pressure is still too high, and savings accounts aren't any larger. So what are the hurdles to these resolutions and how can we overcome them? 

1). "2015 Goals" Not "New Year's Resolutions" 

Resolutions tend to be broad and at least slightly vague. According to this list, the most commonly broken resolutions are large and do not detail how the resolution will be reached. Also, the words "New Year's" refer to the year being new even though it eventually won't. We typically don't hear folks talking about their resolutions in September right? Instead of making resolutions, create goals. Then, print or write these goals out and place them where your eyes have to glance over them frequently. The fridge, your desk, a bathroom mirror or a bulletin board are good candidates. This will ensure that you revisit these goals throughout the year. 

2). Make It Measurable

Just before 2014 began, I hiked a popular local hike with my cousin and had a wonderful and uplifting experience. While it was cloudy and chilly in the city, it was fresh and sunny at the top of of the butte and I loved how accomplished I felt when reaching the summit. I told my cousin, "I'd like to hike this thing 100 times this year" and suddenly, my goal was born. This goal would help me with the broad things I wanted to achieve: lose weight, improve my health, spend more time outdoors, and spend less money. By specifying how many times I wanted to do something and an end date, I had something I could easily keep track of and measure. 

3). Create Smaller Goals

Small goals provide milestones that can help guide you to your larger goal. If your main goal is to learn a new instrument by 2016 you could set smaller goals that include learning a song on the instrument every three months. You could make the songs more difficult each time and if you complete them all, you'll know you've completed your overall goal. Just make sure these are also measurable and have a deadline. Some of the smaller goals for my 100 hikes in 2014 goal were: 

-Hike Spencer Butte bare foot by October. 
-Hike in the redwood forest in August. 
-Discover five new hikes by 2015. 
-Hike Mt. McLoughlin in the summer (I did not complete this goal in 2014 but I will in 2015).

4). Get Others Involved 

For my hiking goal, I found that getting others involved was the biggest motivation to keep going and complete my goal. Initially, I told those closest to me about my goal. Then I used the hashtag #100hikesin2014 on social media and documented each of my hikes with a photo. Soon people were asking me which hike number I was on or suggesting other hikes to try. These comments, whether large or small, kept me going when I was ready to give up. Getting others involved kept me honest and helped me push myself to keep going especially when I didn't want to. 

5). Don't Sweat It

If you don't reach all of your smaller goals or your main goal, THAT'S OKAY. Take advantage of falling short to find out why you weren't able to reach this goal and reflect on the reason. Create a similar goal for the next time frame or complete it after the time frame. You'll be glad you did. Most importantly, don't beat yourself up over it. Accept that you were daring enough to set the goal in the first place and and will learn from the experience. 

6). Reward Yourself

Go away for a weekend, get a massage, or buy something you've been wanting. Whatever it is, give yourself a reward for completing your goal. You earned it!  

Some resources to help you with your 2015 goal-setting: 

-FREE Goal-setting worksheet from Money Saving Mom 
-Goal-setting phone apps. to keep you on track such as Lift.
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Getting and using a planner or journal will be a lifesaver.

So, what are your goals for 2015? I'll be posting mine in the next few weeks! 

"Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt."

 


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