Setting Goals

Around this time each year, we’re facing the fact that our New Year’s Resolutions may not be as achievable as we once thought. In fact, nearly 92% of people don’t achieve New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not because people aren’t motivated, and it’s not because the resolutions they set weren’t “good enough.” Most people believe they are motivated, and their resolutions are based in wonderful ideas of self-improvement. We genuinely want to work toward personal growth and to start building the life we want. So why is it so difficult to achieve goals?

The reason we find it so difficult to achieve goals stems from how we set them.

When we set goals, we often are focused on a few things:

  • What we’ve heard works for other people.
  •  An arbitrary threshold to meet.

Usually, we aren’t even aware that we’re doing this. Some examples are:

  • We decide we want to lose 15 pounds, although there is no basis for the number “15” – it’s just one we chose.
  • We set a goal to go to yoga three times a week, although we’re not sure if three times will be enough or too much/too few times to
    practice and gain benefits.
  • We’ve read an article, blog post, or book that’s inspired a goal – like running a certain distance, saying three things we like about our partner each day, etc.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these goals. They’re wonderful! However, if they do not resonate with you or hold meaning for you, then they’ll be significantly harder to achieve.

Focus on the Outcome You Want to Achieve – Then Set a Goal

Instead of setting difficult goals for yourself, and feeling deflated when you find they’re harder to work towards than you thought they’d be, let’s try something different. Focus on the outcome first, then set the goals you’d need to achieve to reach that desired outcome. The “outcome” you’re working toward likely isn’t tangible. Although your goal is to lose weight, the desired outcome is increased self-esteem and better physical and emotional health. Focusing on the life changes you want and setting goals that lead to those changes will help you to stick with them. Once you have decided upon an outcome, set goals that can be measured.

For example, you might want to feel more connected to your partner. A goal that could help you achieve that feeling would be to commit to a once-a-week coffee date outside of the home where you catch each other up on what’s going on in your lives. You may already have these conversations casually but setting aside dedicated time can help you feel connected.

Setting goals does not have to be a stressful process. By focusing on what you want your life to look like as a first step, the goals you want to stick to will fall naturally into place.



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