Keep your resolution by setting realistic goals

By BECKY WYLIE

Goals. Everyone has at least one or two of them. The trick is how to achieve them.

With the passing of New Year’s, many of us have set new ones or have vowed to achieve the resolution from last year. Again and again however, we fail. So the question becomes how do we set goals that are achievable.

To begin, classify your goals in terms of length. Are your goals long-term goals or short-term goals? Also, how many goals are you trying to achieve? You may find that you have several, but they fall into different categories such as fitness, business and personal.

After classifying your goals, the next step is finding a way to stay motivated, determined and of course achieve your goal.

If you have a long-term goal such as losing a specific amount of weight, it will help to break that goal down into small attainable goals. If your goal is to lose 50 pounds by the end of the year, then break it down into several smaller amounts of time. Your first small goal may be to lose 10 pounds by the end of March.  You could then increase the amount you want to lose, say 15 pounds by the end of June and another 15 pounds by the end of September.  This breakdown would then allow you to set your last goal at losing the final 10 pounds by December. By allowing yourself a smaller amount of weight to lose at the end, this would also let you splurge a little during the holidays.

Another way to stay motivated is to get your family and friends involved.

By letting them know what your goals are they can then hold you accountable. Friends and family are great at helping to keep you on top of your plan. You might also find that someone is trying to achieve the same goal as you. The more people that know about your specific goals, the more you will be asked about your progress.

Research also suggests using visualization techniques such as a vision board complete with pictures or phrases.

Assistant Professor of Marketing at Virginia Tech Rajesh Bagchi, found that “The easier a goal is to see, the closer it seems.”

One visualization tool is a vision boards. Vision boards are usually made by attaching pictures or phrases of your goals to a poster board. The more specific the pictures and terms, the more likely you are to achieve them. For example, instead of writing “run a race,” be specific and find a flyer of a particular race that you would like to run. The idea is to then hang your vision board in an area where you will see it daily.  You can also cut out pictures or phrases and post them in areas that you frequent daily.  If you are trying to lose weight, then you may want to post your images on the refrigerator, the microwave, the bathroom mirror and the television.

Technology is also a great way to keep track of your goals. There are many free websites and mobile apps that will allow you to set up your goals and track them. Some, such as lifetick.com and stickk.com offer a free version as well as a paid version. Livestrong.com offers both a mobile phone application as well as a computer version.

The most important thing to remember when setting your goals is that you are human. We all have bad days, weeks, months and some of us may even have bad years. There will be days when you are just not motivated. The trick to succeeding is knowing that it is okay for you to miss a workout or to indulge in birthday cake. In these situations it is not about feeling guilty. Instead enjoy your time off and tell yourself that you deserve it.

As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”