It’s been a long year and many of us have put things on hold during 2020 waiting for life to get back to normal. Better times are ahead and there’s no better time than now to set some positive goals for your future. You can set healthy goals for anything that you want to change or improve on, including work, education, health, and relationships.
Setting short-term and long-term goals will help you be the person you want to be! Long-term goals are the ones that will take more than six months to achieve. For example, learning a new language, finishing your degree, saving for a home or training for a marathon.
Short-term goals will help you accomplish your long-term goals and can usually be reached within a few days or weeks. Take a look at your long-term goals and see if you can list some small steps that you can achieve in the short-term that bring you closer to reaching your long-term goals. For example, if your long-term goal is to save $1,000, a short-term goal would be packing a lunch 3 times per week instead of spending extra money to eat out on those days.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you strive to reach your goal.
Specific – Instead of setting a goal of losing weight, define what your goal weight is.
Measurable – When setting goals, be sure they are defined in such a way that you know when you’ve achieved them. Rather than saying, “I want to be successful,” set smaller goals that get you closer to your next promotion.
Attainable – Be sure you are setting realistic goals that are possible to achieve.
Relevant – Make your goal appropriate to the current time or circumstance. Take into account outside influences or factors that could make your goal harder to achieve and reset if necessary.
Time-bound – Set a target date for achieving your goal. Giving yourself a deadline upfront reduces the possibility of you negotiating with yourself or procrastinating.
Have your own reason – The reason behind your goal is just as important as the goal itself. Consider the reasons you are setting the goal and align them to your personal needs and beliefs. When you decide your goals for yourself, you have a much better chance of achieving them.
Prepare for setbacks – Even the most inspired goals are not always achieved in a linear fashion. Be prepared to have some setbacks and difficult days. Everyone experiences setbacks. How you react to those setbacks is what matters. It’s important to be kind to yourself and to not get discouraged. You will have a better day tomorrow.
Voice your goal – Talking about your goal with others may help you achieve it! Tapping into your network can give you support from those you trust most. Friends and family know you best and may know when you need a pat on the back or a little encouragement. Help others help you by letting them know what you are working toward and why it’s important to you.
Join a group – Depending on your goal, you may choose to join a community of people that are working toward the same goals. Support groups, fitness classes, even online communities will help you stay in touch with your goal and inspire you with new ways to stay on target. Seeing how others do it can be that push you need if a setback occurs.
Positive reinforcement and reward - When you feel like giving up, remember your reason for wanting to change and think about the progress you have already made. Track the things you have done already to achieve your goal and feel good about successfully doing them! Know that you can do them again and continue taking steps toward reaching your goal, whether it be big or small.