I cannot even believe my own two marbles when I check the calendar to find that we have already arrived at the end of the year. 2017 seemed so distant at a time and now it is nearly over. With the closing of each year, comes the unraveling of another. The new year for many of us means a new load of unfulfilled dreams and goals of losing weight, making more money, traveling, etc. I have grown tired of disappointing myself year after year, so today I present to you a few tips and ideas to assist us in accomplishing our goals for the new year without failure. (These are not fool-proof, so if you don’t TRY, expect to fail.)
When building anything from a house to a family, applying makeup, or cooking a meal, you need a base or a foundation. This same concept is necessary for the successful completion of a goal.
1. Evaluate and Reflect
It is obvious the first step to setting a goal is to identify what it is you are unhappy with or seek to improve upon and then create a goal that will satisfy your desires. When actually constructing the goal itself, restrain from using the internet or even being AROUND OTHER PEOPLE. Find a quiet place and ask yourself what it is you WANT to do. Do not feel like your goals should be about changing your diet or losing weight because that is what others imply you SHOULD do.
2. Prioritize (If you have more than one goal)
If you want to start a business while hitting the gym daily and starting a garden, I hope you are well aware you will have your hands full. Many of us tend to forget about or give up on our goals because they become too overwhelming. If we try to incorporate things into our lives with the intentions of IMPROVING our lives, then we do not expect to be stressed out while we are in the process of achieving our goals. So, when that garden cuts into gym time and when the gym forces you to grow too fatigued to spend an adequate amount of time on jump-starting your business, you might just end up becoming frustrated and eventually, just give up on all three. Physically list your goals according to the amount of time they require and which is more important to you. Start one goal sooner or later than another and adjust your schedule accordingly. Putting more food on your plate than you can eat results in throwing away and wasting that food. Do not be that person.
3.Envision, then put it in range of your ACTUAL VISION
When you first decided you wanted to lose weight, you had probably just seen some light-weight bikini model or tried on an outfit that came in every size besides yours. Dreams and aspirations are usually sparked when we see things we want, and sometimes we need to be reminded of why we began our journey in the first place. To reduce the chances of forgetting and neglecting our goals, it is helpful to create a visual representation such as a VISION BOARD. Whether they be drawings, printed images, or magazine cutouts, incorporating a physical portrayal of your goals allows you to literally keep them in sight during the process.
4. Have someone hold you ACCOUNTABLE
If you are the only one who knows about your plans, it is much easier for you to convince yourself your goal is more trouble than it is worth, or just plain easy to forget about it as your everyday life piles up on top of your dreams and aspirations. Have someone you trust to remind you that you want to work on reaching this goal and make sure this person is encouraging. Choosing someone who is too judgmental or does not even believe you are capable may just discourage you. Maybe you do not feel as though you can rely on a specific person, so try to rely on your conscious.
By posting online that I wanted to go vegan, I felt as though I almost could not go back. I would post some of my vegan meals and even encouraged others to try some. Now that people are aware that I am a vegan, they come to me with questions and show an interest in my diet. When I was first starting out and giving up my favorite foods, I almost wanted to retreat back to being a vegetarian, but having others come to me to discuss my new diet, encouraged me to continue being vegan.
5. Creating S.M.A.R.T goals
Kids in school today are taught to use this acronym to help them reach their academic and physical goals.
In the past, saying “I want to lose weight” seemed fairly specific, but after losing a pound, were you satisfied? Probably not. A specific goal would be saying ” I want to lose 10 lbs.” or ” I want to be able to wear size X again”.
Any goal you set for yourself should be one you can track the progress of. If you wanted to make an extra $500 a month, you can track that. If you wanted to be “more artistic”, you would need to ask yourself what that means to you and how you are going to track your progress.
Set a goal for yourself that is in reach, but still creates a bit of a challenge for you. Do not underestimate your abilities, but also be aware of your strengths, weaknesses, budget, and circumstances to formulate a goal that is reachable for you.
This all comes down to establishing the boundary between “should” goals and “want” goals. Is being a size 5 relevant to you or have you been happy with your current size? Is getting into that school something you “want” to do or something your parents are telling you that you “should” do? Make your goals relevant to YOU.
Too often many of us set up a goal for ourselves and forget that we should make the goal a priority instead of a chore. Laundry, for example, is usually done when we feel like it…whenever we get to it. This is not how one should be treating their goals.
Set up a time limit, and a reasonable one at that. Nothing major will happen overnight, and this is crucial to remember. If you want something bad enough, you will make time for it.
One of my goals, for example, is to not just “eat healthier”, but to fill my body with more organic and nutritious home-cooked, unprocessed meals. By when will I start doing this? How long will I continue to do this?
Let me help you clarify how you should organize your goals by using the tips I just provided and applying them to some goals of my own.
1. Evaluate and Reflect:
Issue:I am not happy with my diet. I do not feel energized after loading up on potato chips and hummus every day after school. I want to gain weight, but binge eating and not exercising as I should does not seem to be effective for me.
Goals: I WILL start being more mindful of what I put into my body by limiting the amount of junk/processed/sugary items I allow myself to indulge in. I WILL have soda only when I eat out, eat potato chips once every other day (for now) instead of multiple times in one day. I WILL rearrange my schedule to make more time to precook my meals, and I WILL exercise at least 3 times out of a 7 day week to ensure my weight gain is a healthy gain.
I know that it is easier for me to cook my food and drink more water than it is for me to find the will to exercise, so I will start slowly bettering my diet before I jump into exercising. The improved diet will give me the necessary energy to proceed with my workouts.
This step is so intriguing to me and I hope to complete and share my board with you soon. Here are some examples of some vision boards( 1, 2, 3).
My board will probably have vegan recipes that I want to try, images of the body type I am striving for with my weight gain, quick and effective exercises I can do throughout my hectic week, maybe even before and after pictures of myself, a note about how I feel right now on my current diet and other images/quotes to remind myself I am doing this to be the BEST ME I can be and WANT to be.
I personally do not want to rely on one person, as everyone I know has a fairly busy life of their own, but I will post about my progress on my social media and discuss my goals with those around me in hopes of applying further pressure on myself to continue working towards my goals.
I specifically want to eat at least 3 meals a day. I want to have a fruit and vegetable at every meal. I want to cook/prepare 80-90% of what I put into my body in place of processed/ junk food. I do not want to track my calories or limit how much I can eat. I want to fill myself up with things that can only do me good. I also want to formulate a simple, yet effective exercise routine I can do AT LEAST 3 times a week to help me gain weight healthily. This is relevant to me because this is something that affects me on a daily basis. How I feel and perform in my everyday life depends heavily on my diet and exercise. I want to start improving my diet RIGHT NOW and I would like to start exercising weekly after Christmas. This is something I hope to continue for the rest of my life.
Some Other Words of Advice
A quote from C.S Lewis I felt was surely worth sharing:
“It’s funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different.”
This is important to remember when setting any goal. It takes time,effort, you have to want it bad enough. You may not see results in a week, month, or even in the first year depending on what your goal is, but pay careful attention to where you are now and watch how far you’ll get. The only thing stopping you from getting where you want to be is yourself. If you choose to stop because you hit a pothole, that is on YOU and no one else.
“Let’s get back to hard work and discipline, that feeling of accomplishment.”
Hold yourself accountable. Put in the literal blood, sweat, and tears if your dreams mean that much to you. This generation is so quick to turn to Google for answers before we pick up our shoes and walk outside to find answers for ourselves. As technology evolves, we evolve too… into mere couchpotatoes with no drive expect to continue making life easier. Let’s get back to hard work and discipline, that feeling of accomplishment.
Take it little by little, day by day. Every goal, should it be one within the possibilities of our realm, is achievable. Set goals that are going to make you happy and ones that are only going to make you better. Happy holidays and Happy New Year to everyone! Let’s treat every day like a new start. Set goals and turn your dreams into your reality.
*no images belong to me