Some of us are inclined to believe that setting goals is a clichéd tradition, opting to constantly improving oneself throughout the year. While it’s true that goal-setting doesn’t need to be confined to the threshold of each year, there are powerful reasons as to the importance of formally establishing goals and achieving them.
For one, goals turn our wider, lifelong aspirations into bite-sized chunks, where each success provides a boost of confidence, and can contribute to greater happiness. The journey of goal-setting also makes us accountable to failure, which although difficult, is an indispensable part of personal growth, and helps to keep us motivated, focused, and understand what makes for a full life.
That being said, let’s start the new year on the right foot, set smart goals, and make the most of this fruitful process!
While goals should be attainable, they should also always be challenging enough to facilitate fulfilling personal growth. Making a positive, permanent change in our lives is never easy, so setting up ways to motivate ourselves is important to get us through rough patches. To avoid losing sight of why you’re working towards certain goals, the first thing is to understand and write down why we want to set the goals. For instance, if you want to dissect why you want to cut out junk food in the New Year it would be to > be healthier > have more energy > make more out of the day > accomplish more > make the most out of life, etc.
Secondly, sharing our goals with those we trust not only motivates us to follow through, it also creates avenues for encouragement and a support system. Better yet, find a friend or family member to discuss each other’s goals, and check in with each other throughout the year.
Goal-setting is a deeply personal process, or one that forces us to reflect on our life both past and present. This means that before we sit down and consider our future, it’s important to be in a positive emotional state. Only when we feel good about ourselves, are we able to approach achieving our goals with confidence and determination.
Similarly, it’s also helpful to frame our goals in a positive way, as to not constantly remind ourselves of the areas where we’re lacking. For instance, instead of setting the popular goal of losing a certain amount of weight, try setting a goal to get healthier or exercise. Studies state that our brain chemistry associates avoidance with inhibition, so depriving ourselves of something will only make us less inclined to follow through.
We’re all familiar with the idea of setting specific and measurable goals, and for good reason. Studies have shown that the more frequently you track the progress of your goals, the more likely you will achieve them. Remember, it’s the process that will get you there, so don’t just focus on the outcome.
We suggest establishing a timeline with specific, desired outcomes at every step, and check-in weekly on your progress. By rewarding yourself with the satisfaction of making progress, you're also able to better understand your own capacity, and adjust the goal accordingly. In fact, writing your goals down triggers something in the brain to push us to take ownership of the goal, and furthering our commitment to it.
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