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7 Tips to Help You Set and Keep Your Goals

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smart goal setting conceptIt’s that time of the year again, when we reflect on the past 12 months, and look forward to what’s ahead. January 1st brings with it the anticipation of the unknown, excitement for what could be, opportunity for new hope, and the chance to hit the restart button.

While goals can be set any time of the year, it appears that many people use January as a jumping off point. Sadly, all the excitement and hope that people have at the stroke of midnight, seems to fade by the time February rolls around. And most goals that people so joyfully set will soon be forgotten.

Up until last year, I fell into the camp of quickly putting aside all my good intentions. I decided I wanted to make changes, and made an effort to do so. Below are some tips that I used that can help you not just set your goals, but also keep them. I took advice from people around me who seem to have success with goal setting and follow through, and added some of my own practices.

1. Make specific goals that are measurable

When making a goal, it’s much easier to stay on track when what you are working towards is something concrete. Maybe you want to try and save more money. Instead of vaguely saying I want to save money, decide to put 10% from each paycheck into a retirement fund. Go a step further and have it automatically transfer.

2. Pick a few goals rather than a lot

Don’t overwhelm yourself with tons of things you feel you need to accomplish. You’ll feel defeated before you ever begin. Instead, pick a few goals that you truly want to work on and enjoy more success. Once you’ve met your goal, embrace the feeling of achievement. If you’re up for it, add a new one.

3. Make realistic goals

When choosing goals for yourself, it’s important to make sure they are ones you know you can achieve. Challenge yourself, just in a realistic way. It can be discouraging if you don’t feel you are succeeding. If exercise is on your list, and it’s something new to you, aiming for 7 days a week may be too high. Going from 0 to 7 is a huge jump. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Start with 3 days a week for 30 minutes each time, and go up from there.

4. Write goals out

I’ve learned that once I write something down, it’s a bit more permanent. It’s more than an idea that’s been tossed around in your head. It seems more real on paper. And writing your goals down will help to remind you what you are working towards. Place them somewhere so you don’t forget about them, like your vision board, a corkboard, or on a sticky note on your computer. You don’t want to fall into the out of site out of mind trap.

5. Set goals throughout the year

The beginning of a new year is definitely a popular time for people to make and set goals. But haven’t you heard that September is the new January? Goals will propel you forward, so it’s wise to continually set them for yourself. I have learned I get way more done when I give myself goals, even if they are little ones. There is power in feeling like you have accomplished something. And I love crossing things off my list. You also may need to revamp your goals, as life is ever changing.

6. Don’t get discouraged – Be positive

It is easy to get excited when thinking about goals. You set expectations and hope to meet them. But things may not happen as quickly as you would like, or in the same manner you had hoped for. That doesn’t mean things aren’t happening and that you aren’t trying. Stay positive and give yourself kudos for trying.

7. You have to truly want it

This may sound obvious, but really think about the goals you are setting. Are they things you want and are willing to work towards. If not, you’re wasting your time. If you truly want something, you will work that much harder to achieve it. Just thinking you want something is not the same as truly wanting something. You can’t just wish for it, you have to focus on the results. Things may or may not end up the way you planned, but knowing that you tried is sometimes enough.

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