Goal Setting For the New Year

It happens every January.  New Year’s goal setting, otherwise knows as New Year’s resolutions.  It seems that most of us experience a burst of creative energy right after the holidays and begin to set lofty goals for ourselves.  We resolve to lose ten pounds, change jobs, or completely change our lives. 

What’s wrong with us?  Do we have some kind of weird masochistic tendencies that lies hidden in our DNA all year long until January comes around?  We must.  It’s a sad fact that New Year’s resolutions are usually short-lived if not completely forgotten by February.  Are we doomed to and endless circle of goal setting and failure?

Can we really make goal setting for the New Year successful?  Can we break the chain of miserable failure?  Yes, the good news is that we can be successful with our New Year goal setting.  We can succeed if we follow a few simple steps.

In goal setting, the first thing you must do is pick goals that are believable and achievable for you.  They have to be the right goals for the right reasons.  If you don’t believe that you can achieve them, then you are doomed from the start.  For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds this year and you don’t believe you can do it, then you have set yourself up for failure.

Effective goal setting has to include thought and deliberation.  Think long and hard about what you want to accomplish.  Decide that the goal you have chosen has meaning for you and you are willing to commit to achieving it. 

Make your goals achievable but not so low that they lose meaning for you.  On the other hand, don’t set them so high that you become discouraged.  This is a tricky area of goal setting.  The solution is to break your goals down into smaller chunks that you can reach.  For example, if you goal is to lose 10 pounds, then set a reachable goal of one or two pounds a week.  This will help keep you motivated.

Another strategy for goal setting is to be specific.  Set a date that you want to achieve a specific goal and then work backward, breaking it down in to smaller chunks.  If your New Year’s goal is to "lose weight," then you’re beaten before you start.  It is more effective to decide that you want to lose ten pounds by March 1st.  Stating it this way makes the goal concrete and believable to you.  You are much more likely to achieve a specific goal with a time frame than a vaguely stated goal.

Write your goals down and post them, so that you see them often.  This reinforces your goal setting.  You might try standing in front of a mirror and saying your goals out loud every day.  This also makes your goals a formal commitment.  Don’t give up.  Goal setting can help us make positive changes in our lives if we follow a few simple rules.

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