Goal Setting for the New Year
Stop thinking about the past and start thinking in the present! You’ve set goals before only to watch them fall by the wayside and your passion for change dissipate in a fury of disappointment.
It’s time we envision a “Manifesto for Change”! A document so powerful it will influence the decisions you make in everyday life. A document that manifests itself in the context of your life. Finally, a document so powerful that you derive daily and weekly motivation from visual objects that are constantly reminding you of that relentless passion within. It is time that the New Year finally produces a “New You.”
First, make sure that you adhere to the S.M.A.R.T principle. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Rather than setting the typical weight goal let’s try to focus on something that is behaviorally oriented. For example, things like your endurance (the time it takes you to walk a mile), flexibility (can you reach and get those fingers past those toes?), exercise consistency, portion control, adherence to multiple small meals per day or number of new culinary additions. We all thoroughly understand that if we cumulatively change those habits weight loss will inevitably follow. Secondly, your goal must generate a moment of intense enthusiasm. The split-second that you are willing to brag about for years. It might mean completing your first 5k or graduating from that ballroom dancing class.
Attainable/Realistic – In a crippling world of Black and White we must create a personal Gray area. As Malcolm Gladwell clearly illustrates in the book The Tipping Point, “small changes lead to something larger.” Ancient philosophers may have described it as a sum of the parts. It doesn’t take a genius to know that an unrealistic goal will be destined for failure. Would you be happy losing 25-50 lbs in the next six months? If your answer is yes, then you must be satisfied by a rate seemingly subdued 1-2 lbs per week average rate of weight loss. Small changes do add up!
Timely – As humans we recognize that: more > less and sooner is better than later. Those simple equations give rise to the phenomenon we term instant gratification. Therefore, I encourage you to set 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 1 year goals. However, the key is reassessing their progress as they are completed and more importantly understanding that failure is an option. WHAT? That’s right, FAILURE IS AN OPTION! The success we view commonly in society is a product of failure and the innate ability to learn from it. As your mother may have once told you, “learn from your mistakes.”
By now your brain is completely resisting the notion of picking up the pen and writing down what goals will ignite this change. But, as Parkinson’s Law describes, we are much more efficient when given a shorter period of time. Consequently, I challenge you to take the next hour to write down your goals.
Once you have created an empowering document I want you to post it in places you see multiple times per day; the background/screensaver on your computer, the nightstand, refrigerator, and bathroom mirror. Let’s create an environment that becomes life-altering. An atmosphere that influences every second of every day. Your goals sheet may then begin manifesting itself in the form of clothing you dream to fit into, quotes that are plastered on the bulletin board or pictures of yourself from the years you spent neglecting life.
The “New You” is ready for a journey into self-discovery. Get to work!