We’ll just come out and say it. 2020 was a crappy year. And while we’re still in the midst of this pandemic, it’s easy to lose sight of what ‘normal’ looks like anymore. If you’re like a lot of people, your new normal may have you feeling a bit lethargic. It’s hard to feel motivated when you’re stuck inside all day long, unable to interact much with the outside world.
That’s why 2021 is the perfect time to set some new goals and start working towards them. Because let’s face it, bingeing on Netflix shows and eating frozen pizza isn’t really getting us anywhere.
Why set goals you ask? Here are 5 great ways that goals help us.
Setting goals helps us move forward. It’s easy for your life to get stuck on autopilot now and then. Goals can help us shake things up a bit and move us toward more of what we really want out of life. Whether it’s something like learning a new language, or getting that promotion at work.
Setting goals helps us create a path to achieve the things we want most. At their most basic, goals define what we want. But when properly executed, they help us map out the steps to get there.
Goals help us to stay focused. Ever feel like you’re wandering aimlessly through life, not sure of what your next move should be? Having a goal gives us direction and mapping out a path to achieve helps us stay focused.
Setting goals helps us to stay accountable to ourselves. When we properly set goals, it’s important to break them down into actionable steps that will help us achieve them. Doing this can help keep us accountable to ourselves, since if we miss those smaller steps, we know we won’t reach our original goal.
Goals provide us with motivation to keep going. By setting a goal and putting a plan into place, we’re motivated to continue taking the steps to achieve the goal. Once we start trying to accomplish something, the momentum can propel us forward.
Now that we know why we should set goals, let’s talk about the best way to do it. It’s easy to just think about something you want to do and consider the task done, but you’ll be much more successful if you put a little more effort and thought into creating and outlining your goals.
How to set and accomplish your goals
Think about the big picture first.
Setting a main goal is the first step in creating your overall plan. Think about what you really want to accomplish?
Think about the smaller steps that will take you there.
Once you have your larger goal in place, think about some of the things that need to happen for you to accomplish your goal. Say you’d like to lose 15 pounds in 3 months. Your smaller steps might include limiting calories consumed each day, committing to 30 minutes of physical activity several times a week, and omitting junk food. Breaking things up into smaller steps helps to make your goal feel more attainable, and gives you the action items to complete as you progress closer to your final achievement.
Put to-do items on your calendar.
Once you have all of the step you need to take to accomplish your goal, use a calendar to help keep you on track. Anything you see regularly will help – a written calendar, or even an app on your phone that can alert you to due dates and reminders.
Keep your goal in sight.
Write down your goal on pieces of paper and put them everywhere – in your car, on your mirror, next to your computer, on the fridge.The more you see your goal in writing, the more you’ll be reminded of it and will be more motivated to work on the steps needed to achieve it.
Create a mood board.
This takes writing your goal down a step further and allows you to actually visualize what completing the goal will be like. Training for a marathon? Find images that represent the work you’ll put in, and how it might feel to actually cross the finish line. Put this where you’ll see it every day and it will inspire you to forge on.
Tell other people about your goals.
Sharing your aspirations with others will help you stay accountable. Tell a close friend or partner about what you’re trying to accomplish. You can even ask them to check in on you regularly to see how you’re coming along. Knowing you have to answer to someone else can help ensure you’re sticking with it, even when things get tough.
Things may not always go as planned, but it doesn’t mean that you have to scrap all your hard work and progress up to this point. If you miss a deadline one week, just adjust your timeline and keep going.
Think realistically about what you can achieve in the time you’re giving yourself. Setting impossible to achieve goals is like setting yourself up for failure.
Tell us: What goals are you setting in the new year?