With every New Year comes resolutions to live better. Somewhere along the way, those resolutions became predominantly negative. “I won’t eat junk food anymore.” “I will give up Netflix every night.” “No more this or that.”
And even when resolutions are positive—“I’ll go to the gym more,” for instance—they’re cloudy and unattainable. Let’s turn this convention on its head, and instead aim for something reachable and concrete. This year, opt for goals rather than resolutions.
But it’s not as simple as saying, “My goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables this year.” If you really want to meet the goals you aspire to, it’s best to follow a few guidelines.
Pro Tip #1: Make sure your goal is measurable.
Let’s use the fruits and vegetables example. Rather than making your goal abstract with a word like ‘more,’ use some sort of metric. For fruits and vegetables, the metric of servings works well. A measurable goal would be: Eat 3 servings of fruit or vegetables a day.
Pro Tip #2: Make sure your goal is realistic.
Optimism and eagerness are great, but don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you haven’t run in years and your goal is to run a 10K by the end of the month, you probably aren’t being honest with yourself which will only hurt you in the long run. Set your goal as something attainable for you. And remember, what’s right for someone else may not be right for you, so don’t compare your goals to someone else’s.
Pro Tip #3: Create short-term and long-term goals that work together.
Sometimes those big goals, even if they’re measurable and attainable, can seem far off and scary. Creating short-term goals that can help you reach your long-term goal makes it all that much more possible! Here’s an example:
Short-term goal: Run at least 1 mile a day.
Long-term goal: Complete a 5K Race in June!
Pro Tip #4: Reward yourself!
I like to set short-term goals on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. If I complete the goal, I reward myself with something I’ll enjoy—like a movie night out or a new pair of running shoes. Incentives aren’t just for the workplace!
Remember, you know yourself best so pick a reward that you know will push you to meet your goal!