Goal Setting and A Happy New Year!
Not only is it a new year but we’re also beginning a new decade!
Since this time of year offers us the chance to reflect on our lives, what’s going well, what isn’t, what we want for our future and what we don’t, etc., I thought I’d give you some information to help you in setting and achieving your New Year’s goals or resolutions. (By the way, this info is useful any time of year).
First of all…did you know your brain loves a good goal? When left to it’s own devices, your brain is kind of like a 2 year old running around in a grocery store. It gets easily distracted by bright and shiny things, and all of the different choices or options in view. It has trouble focusing on one thing.
Having a goal is like giving your brain a roadmap. It can focus on a destination (which is your goal) instead of bouncing around all over the place. And once your brain has the destination…it will work to find possibilities, solutions, identify obstacles, etc., so that you can reach your goal. It’s an amazing process really. 😊
The brain actually rewards us for having goals by giving us hits of dopamine (the feel good neurochemical) whenever we set a goal and accomplish it. It doesn’t have to be a large goal… it can be something as simple as checking off an item on your to do list. No matter the size of your goal…when you take action to accomplish it, your brain floods your system with dopamine. This process of goal setting -> taking action -> dopamine reward provides us with natural motivation. If something makes us feel good, we will continue to do it.
In addition, having goals subconsciously increases our level of happiness because it gives us a sense of purpose.
So having goals is good for our mental health, wellbeing, happiness and satisfaction with life.
Setting goals seems easy enough…but why do a lot of people have trouble actually accomplishing their goals? Good question.
If you find this has been your experience, here are some bits of advice:
- Get Specific & Strategic
Many people set goals with good intentions…but if the goals are unclear or too broad the chances of accomplishment are greatly diminished.
For example, a goal of a lot of people is to travel more. That’s a terrific goal to have…but in this form it is very broad and also vague.
I recommend you break it down. 1st…how much is ‘more travel’? 2 times a year? 3 times a year? 3 months of the year? What specifically do you mean by travel more?
Once you know what your definition is, then break it down again. If for example, you want to travel 3 times in the next year…you need to figure out when you will travel, how much time you’ve got for each time you travel, and of course you need to know the destination.
Hawaii – Feb for 2 weeks
Prince Edward Island – July – 2 weeks
Las Vegas – November for 4 days
Once you have these details figured out…on to the next steps. Budgeting for the trips (how much will each trip cost, will you need to save $$ for the trips?, if so, how much?, what do you need to do to save the money? (get a second job, reduce expenses, etc.) Do you need to request time off from work? When will you book flights & hotels?
Plan out all of the details on a timeline. What do you need to do first? And when? What do you need to do next? And when? And so on.
No matter what the goal is…the important thing is to get really specific and have a strategy or a plan.
If you want to:
Lose weight. How much? By when? Diet, exercise or a combination of both?
Reduce debt. What is current debt amount? How much will you reduce it by? How or where will you find the extra money needed to pay off debt? Will you make payments weekly, bi-weekly, monthly? In what amount?
Find the love of your life. How will you get yourself out there? Will you use a dating app? Will you ask friends to set you up? Will you take a class to meet new people, join a group, talk to strangers at the supermarket? How will you make room in your calendar for additional or new activities?
- If you have a big or long-term goal…set yourself up for small wins.
Big goals can be exciting…and overwhelming. Remember the old joke ‘What’s the best way to eat an Elephant?” … one bite at a time. Help yourself success by breaking the big goal down into a series of smaller goals. Challenge yourself to think of 1 thing can you do each day or each week that will get you closer to your goal and do it. As I mentioned before, every time you check something off your To Do list, you’ll get a wonderful dopamine hit which will help to keep you motivated and moving forward. A series of small successes will add up to big rewards.
3. Just Keep Going.
If you promised yourself that you’d hit the gym everyday for the next month…but you missed a day or more…don’t spend time beating yourself up or worse yet giving up. Just get back to it. Try again tomorrow. Think about the reason you want to achieve your goal. What will it mean to you to be successful or to achieve it? Focus on the end result and how great you’ll feel when you’ve accomplished your goal, what it will mean to you or the difference that it will make in your life. And try, try again. It’s all about taking action. Be as consistent and persistent as you can.
If you’re serious about setting and achieving your goals and you’d like some help in making your goals or your dreams come true…why not book a session with me? I’d be really pleased to help you. Just give our office a call at (306) 242-1010 to book your appointment.
Cheers to a wonderful 2020,