As the Holidays get closer some people may be thinking about what their 2021 will look like. While 2020 was the “Year of the Vision,” some of us cannot wait to see what 2021 has to hold and how we can make it better than this year (actually, ANYTHING would be better than this year). Before you start setting your New Year resolution, check out these goal setting tips. It is important to remember that not only do we need to set goals (direction), but we will also need a system (process) to reach those goals. 

Focus on One Goal at A Time

When you have multiple goals, your energy is being pulled in multiple directions. Prioritize the goals that are most important to you so that you can be fully committed to that goal. For more tips on prioritizing your goals check out The Ivy Lee Method.

Develop A System for Reaching Your Goals

Research shows that when you set a when, where, and how for your goals, you are 2 to 3 times more likely to follow through. Try completing this sentence when developing your goals: “Every week, I will engage in at least 20 minutes of exercise on (DAY) at (TIME OF DAY) at/in (PLACE).”  You can also use this method to establish new health habits: After/Before (CURRENT HABIT), I will (NEW HABIT). For example, “After I eat breakfast, I will meditate for two minutes.” Now you try!

Set an Upper Limit

When we set goals, we know what we want our minimum to be, but what about maximums? When we set upper limits, we push ourselves enough to move toward reaching our goals, but not so much that we cannot sustain. Check out Do Things You Can Sustain to learn about the magical zone of long-term growth.

Adjust Your Environment to Your Goals

Our default decisions are shaped by our environments. For example, if you keep a bottle of water with you, drinking more water throughout the day is likely to be your default decision, rather than soda. If you keep your kitchen stocked with junk food, you are more likely to eat junk food as a default decision. The best thing to do is to eliminate negative default decisions. Take a look at  How to Stick With Good Habits Every Day by Using the “Paper Clip Strategy” for tips on using visual cues that will shape an environment that will help you reach your goals.

Measure your goals

I don’t know about you, but I love to see evidence that I am progressing toward my goals. Measuring is not just about how many, how far, or how much. Measuring can be about if you are doing what you said you would, to understand, and make adjustments if needed. Measure Backward, Not Forward provides techniques on how to set measurable goals.

I hope you find these tips useful. And remember, reaching goals is a process, not a race. Take your time. If you fail to reach your goal the first time, do like my girl Aaliyah says: “Dust yourself off and try again.”

-Sybil Austin-McDowell