New year, new beginnings: how to set the best goals and commit to them
Sometimes, we spend longer planning a holiday than we do our lives. Whether, deep down, we desperately wish to lose weight, increase energy levels, or boost our confidence - many of us simply don’t devote enough time to planning our goal and planning to live life the way we want it.
Would you set out on a huge coast-to-coast journey without any defined idea of your destination? It’s not likely. Here’s how to plan, set and achieve the goals you dream about - so you don’t find yourself in the same position next New Year’s Eve.
1. Get your goal
Lose weight, tone up, get healthy, be happier, have more energy. These are all goals you might want to achieve. But in order to reach them, you need to be smart about getting there. And how will you get there if you don’t know where ‘there’ is? How will you measure your goal or goals? Can you set a time-limit? Write everything down and you’ll immediately make them feel tangible - giving you long-term vision for sharp, clearly defined goals.
2. Visualise your goal
Picture the scene. You walk into your kitchen and take a big, yellow, juicy lemon from your fridge. Now imagine cutting it in half and biting right into it. If you’ve imagined the scene properly, it’s likely you’ll feel saliva on your tongue - as if you’ve actually tasted the lemon. The same happens when we imagine ourselves doing the positive goals we set in the future. Picture yourself in your ideal situation and really devote yourself to getting there, and you’ll do it.
3. Break goals down
Once you’ve created your ‘big picture’, whether that’s a year, five-year, or 10-year plan, you need to break this goal down into smaller, realistic targets. Don’t forget, the tortoise wins the race. If you’re trying to lose weight, you won’t get there by hitting the gym rampantly for the next eight weeks, losing half a stone, and then falling back into your old routine. Create a daily to-do list of things you can start now to work towards you goal - this might be reading books on the subject matter during your lunch break, squeezing in a 30-minute session at the gym, or prepping meals for the week ahead.
4. Stop getting distracted
The hardest part of achieving your goals is actually getting started. You’ll put back the gym until Monday. You’ll cut down your alcohol intake in January, because Christmas is coming. You don’t have the time for that language class this evening. But short-term motivation really is the key in reaching those goals - the main reason we fail in achieving them is because we get distracted. Next time you don’t feel like working out, trick yourself. Tell yourself you’re only going to do a few sets of 10 reps, or a speedy 10-minute workout. You’ll usually find a blast of energy after the warm-up, leading to a full-blown workout. Even if it doesn’t, it’s better than doing nothing.