Tips for Goal Setting

It’s the optimal time for goal setting. January is here—let’s all rejoice! Here are some tips on how to streamline, organize, and obtain your goals to ensure a healthy and happy 2022.

Illustration by Matt Wood.

If you’re like me, you’re most likely relieved that 2022 has entered our lives. With all that everyone’s been through the past year or two—there’s no doubt most of us are shopping around for a fresh start. I know I am! After all, we all deserve to be healthy and happy, no matter what.

With that being said, the following goal setting insights are designed to inspire you to set realistic goals for positive change over the next 12 months. As something I certainly plan to do myself, these goal setting strategies can act as a guide to push you in the right direction no matter what area of your life you’re hoping to change or enhance.

How To Set Yourself up for Success

Without goals we lack focus and direction, so it’s the perfect time to sit down and re-evaluate where you are going. For those of you willing to take the time to plan accordingly and do a little internal evaluation—the following tips will help you recognize what it takes to push yourself towards your goals and remain accountable to yourself.

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Some questions to consider while you read along:

– Have you thought about what you want to do in five years?
– Are you clear about what your main objective at work is or at home?
– Do you know what you want to achieve by the end of today?

If you want to succeed, you need to set goals.

What Is Goal Setting?

Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction; it also provides a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding. To accomplish your goals, however, you need to know how to set them. You can’t simply say, “I want” and expect it to happen. Otherwise, we’d all be living our dreams, right? In other words, goal setting is pertinent to the outcome and how your life is going to change—it’s a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve and ends with a lot of hard work to actually achieve it. But, don’t worry, I’m confident that you’ve got this!

Here’s Where to Start

1. Motivation is Key

When you set goals for yourself, it’s important that they motivate you personally—even if they are work-related. This means making sure that they are important to your overall well-being, and that there is true value in achieving them. If you have little interest in the final outcome, or they are irrelevant given the larger picture, then the chances of you putting in the work to make them happen are slim to none.

2. Set “Smart Goals”

You’ve probably heard of “Smart Goals” and have probably even employed them into your day-to-day without even knowing. However, have you intentionally followed them? The simple fact is that for goals to be powerful, they should be designed to be SMART.

Your goals should be:

Specific: Your goal must be clear and well defined. For example, your goals should show you the way and define precisely where you want to end up.

Measurable: You should include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success.

Attainable: Make sure it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.

Relevant: Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life, health, or career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you’ll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want.

Time Sensitive: Your goals should have a deadline (one that you can stick to).

3. Write Down Everything

As a journalist who has been writing things down, well, let’s say all her life…, it’s easy for me to advocate that the physical act of writing things down makes it real and tangible. But, what about those of you who aren’t as pen dependent? Well, one important tidbit is that by writing your goals down on a piece of paper, in a journal, or okay, typing them on your computer or phone, means you’ll have no excuse for forgetting about them.

Some quick pointers:

– As you write, use the word “will” instead of “would like to” or “might.”
– Make your goals into “power statements” so they keep you accountable.
– Also, it’s a good idea to keep your goals positive—and create a “to-do” list to achieve them.

Tip: You can post your goals to a mirror in your bathroom, on the kitchen counter, the fridge, or the inside of your front door so you see them right before you step outside.

4. Create an Action Plan

By writing out the individual steps that are needed along the way, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you’ll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal. Little by little, you will notice a difference in your every day. For instance, an attainable action plan is especially important if your goal is big and demanding, or long-term. Note: It’s vital to consider “alternative” dates and timelines just in case something doesn’t go your way. But, don’t beat yourself up if your plans change—after all, change is inevitable (especially these days).

5. Stick with It

Lastly, goal setting is an ongoing activity—not just a means to an end. Don’t forget to build in reminders to keep yourself on track. Also, make time in your schedule to review your goals weekly or even daily depending on how you work. Remember, your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but your action plan may change significantly over the course of a month or two. So, make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high on your list of needs to reach your goals.

For more information on how to set (and keep) your 2022 goals, I have interviewed two local health and wellness experts who delve into the nitty-gritties and necessities of achieving real-life goals in our daily lives. Check out the January 2022 issue of Denver Life Magazine for some practical tips on how to advance your health and wellness aspirations as you move into the new year—particularly when it comes to eating better, sleeping better, and feeling better overall. Good luck!