A Goal, not a Resolution

If you’re anything like me, you’ve set so many goals in past years and have had so little to show for them come December that you’re flat out tired of hearing about “New Year’s Resolutions.” But what if there were actually a way to set a goal… and get this… HIT IT!!! Here are 3 quick tips that can help you to do just that.

1. Be Specific!

Let’s set a goal of getting in better physical shape this year (and let’s face it – who isn’t setting that goal at least silently??) If we leave the goal just as I’ve written it here, we’ll have a problem. We need to make it specific! Instead of setting vague goals like: “I will lose weight in 2016” or “I’ll be in better shape in 2016”, set a specific goal like: “I will decrease my weight from 150lbs to 135lbs by September 1st, 2016.”

It’s crucial to identify 3 specific details every time we set a goal:
Where we currently are, where we want to be, and when we want to be there.

We’ll be way ahead of the curve by making our goals specific, but if we leave it at that, odds are that we’ll join our 2013 selves, plopped on a couch in late December munching on some chips and wondering how we actually gained weight this year! Fortunately, there are two more steps to help us avoid the December 31st remorse club.

2. Write it Down!

Writing down our goals may seem like an obvious step, but let me take this a little deeper than just jotting our goals down on a piece of paper. Once we’ve written our specific goal down we need to keep it in front of our eyes; this makes ALL the difference! It’s no secret that the more time we allow a thought or idea to linger in our minds the more likely we are to act on it. This example may seem simple, but recently I’ve been trying to drink more water on a daily basis, so I’ve written down “drink 5 glasses of water today” on a to-do list that I keep with me throughout the day. I can’t say how many times I’ve glanced, even accidentally, at my to-do list over the past few days and thought, “Oh, yeah! I need to drink some water.” Would I have drunk water that day if I didn’t jot down that note and keep it with me? Probably, but I can guarantee that I would’ve drunk fewer glasses than I did, and I doubt that I would have achieved my goal. It may seem over the top, but I’m challenging you to post your specific, written-down goal in places around your house, car, cubicle, or wherever you spend a good deal of time each day. I promise that the more often you see your goal and read it, the more likely you’ll be to act on it!

3. Put Yourself in an Environment for Success!

There are plenty of ways to do this, but one of the most effective is this: associate with like-minded people who are seeking to accomplish the same goal that you’ve set for yourself.

Let’s keep rolling with the better physical shape goal as an example. Here’s the tip: don’t go at it alone! Join a gym. Better yet, sign up for classes at the gym. Even better yet, make friends with people in those classes who are there for the very same reason that you are! The friends you make can hold you accountable, even if they don’t come right out and ask why you’re slacking off today or why you didn’t show up last week. Have you ever been part of a team? There’s an air of accountability created when you’re a part of something bigger than yourself.

Sounds cliché? Try it! Who knows? Follow these steps, and you may end up being the person that makes the difference for someone else grasping to accomplish their goal.

Dan Belcher is the owner of Thriveworks Counseling in Charlottesville, VA. If you are in the area and need assistance of any kind, please feel free to give them a call at 434-812-4009.