So, it’s January 2021. We have all been looking forward to the new year after a tumultuous 2020. Time to start fresh. New Year. New Outlook. And it’s the traditional time when we decide to make a resolution — that little promise to ourselves of what we are in fact, going to do in the new year. Well, I don’t know about you, but 2020 sort of shattered that idea around expectations and planning. This year taught me that anything can change at any time. So rather than “go big”, I thought we should start small. Baby steps.
Goal setting is an important and valuable tool. For any of you who aren’t familiar with the myriad of benefits this practice offers, let’s review. Goal setting builds self-confidence, helps you increase productivity, focuses your attention, sustains momentum (by releasing dopamine when you attain your goals) and perhaps most importantly—builds character. (Boss, 2017) This list alone is confirmation enough that we should be setting goals every year, every month—every day! The problem arises when we don’t achieve the outcome we intended. Now, what was once an exciting undertaking has quickly devolved into a failure and we simply feel bad about ourselves. The confusion lies in our approach.
Goals should be based on your core-principles and values. If your goal lies outside of what you believe in or contradicts a philosophy that you adhere to, you will struggle to accomplish it. When our goals lie within our value system, they connect us to a greater purpose in life, drive us in a positive direction, and allow us to live a dynamic and vital existence. (Farber, 2012)
Goals should also be specific and challenging, but not overly challenging. Studies have shown that this approach leads to higher performance levels when compared to goals that are either too easy or too broad. (Riopel, 2020) For example, I want to lose weight…as opposed to I want to lose 7 pounds. Just the narrowing of the focus brings the goal into reach.
Goal setting helps us achieve our own personal definition of success, manifesting the life we desire via a detailed “To Do List”. So, rather than setting one lofty goal for the year that alters who we are or how we want to appear to the rest of the world, our January monthly wellness challenge is to set a goal. Make it specific. Make it relative to who you are--just a little better version of yourself. Choose to set one goal every day, or one goal every week or one goal by the end of the month. If you choose the end of the month, create smaller goals that you can achieve daily or weekly towards that one long-term goal. Enjoy the process. Reap the benefits. One goal at a time.
Boss, J. (2017, January 19). 5 Reasons Why Goal Setting Will Improve Your Focus. Retrieved from www.forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffboss/2017/01/19/5-reasons-why-goal-setting-will-improve-your-focus/?sh=63fb6ed0534a
Farber, N. (2012, April 19). The Value of Goals. Retrieved from psychologytoday.com: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-blame-game/201204/the-value-goals
Riopel, L. (2020, December). The Importance, Benefits, and Value of Goal Setting. Retrieved from positivepsychology.com: https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-goal-setting/