Sitting down with a blank sheet of paper towards the end of the year can feel exciting, exhilarating, scary, and daunting. If you don’t know where to start or how to select goals that are truly meaningful to you, I have a few tips for you today.
If you read this post, you know that some goals require pivoting, and that if we’re checking in with our goals weekly, we know how and when to remove the goal, revise the deadline, or revise the goal itself. One thing I mentioned in that post was retaining the feeling or motivation behind the goal, even if the tactics or outcome has to change. So, as we go through the goal setting process, try to frequently tap into that feeling. Why do you want to achieve this particular thing? How will you feel when you do achieve it? These questions will help guide you to stay motivated throughout the year!
And let’s be honest, 2021 is likely to bring us some more uncertainty. If your goals involve travel, seeing people, group events, or anything like that, it’s easy to throw your hands up in the air and declare them impossible. But that is not helpful! Instead, let’s think about the feelings we want to achieve, and set goals that allow us some flexibility on the tactics.
Here are 3 steps for setting goals in uncertain times (which, honestly, are ALL times!):
- Select 3 main areas. As my PEPPER Planner guides readers through, I like to set goals in the following areas. If these aren’t relevant to you, no problem; you can choose your own. What’s important is to spend a few moments thinking about how you want to feel in EACH area, then select just THREE that will be your focus areas for the year. Here are my categories:
- Health & Fitness
- Personal & Social
- Once you have your three main areas, set a DREAM goal in each. DREAM is my acronym (which you’ll see below) that is a twist off of SMART goals, the widely used acronym to guide people towards effective goal setting. My issue with SMART is that it doesn’t include excitement, engagement, or passion! DREAM does. Here’s how each applies to uncertain times:
- Dated: OK, this one is a little tough when we don’t know exactly when certain facets of “normal” life will be available to us. But I believe it is reasonable to take small, measured action each week, despite most circumstances. So maybe, your goal is “I will do ___ once per week.” The “dated” refers to the process, not necessarily the outcome.
- Realistic: You are your only limit! Stretch yourself! Of course, set goals that are feasible, but throw in some elbow grease and dedication. The truth is, no one knows what is exactly realistic and what is not. But if it feels just outside of your comfort zone, you’re probably right there.
- Energizing: the most important! A goal that includes “should” or “have to” is NOT energizing. Set something you’re excited to work towards, that will keep you passionate and motivated along the way!
- Action-focused: The difference between a hope (e.g., “I hope it’s sunny tomorrow”) and a goal (e.g., “I will exercise tomorrow regardless of the weather”) is the Make sure your goal is something you can DO something about!
- Measurable: Remember that those weekly check-ins are critical, so be sure you can measure your progress, whether that’s with actual numerical data, an effort scale to rate how hard you tried, a measuring tool, or any other means!
- Break those 3 big goals down into mini steps. If you want to pay off your credit card, figure out how much you need to pay off each week. If you want to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water, figure out how to gradually ease up your weekly intake until you hit your target. Whatever your goal is, break it down into mini steps, and then set a weekly calendar reminder to check in on your progress!
If you’re interested in going further, here are a few more resources for you to check out (I told you I love goals!):
- 3 important things to do before setting your goals
- One major thing holding you back from achieving your goals
- 10 ways to make your health goals fun
- How to stay motivated to reach your health goals
- My thoughts on New Year’s resolutions and 7 Lyons’ Share approved resolutions
- 7 resolutions for your mental health
- Goal setting webinar
Want more? In my Revitalize Health Accelerator, I walk you through every step of what it takes to be a well-rounded healthy person. The information, motivation, and accountability in this program is simply unmatched! You’ll learn everything from inflammation to emotional eating, from supplements to sleep quality, from macronutrient balance to meal planning – I’ll walk you through my proven system to teach you how to implement it. If you’re curious, set up a free call with me here to discuss!
Now it’s your turn … What is one goal that you met in 2020? What’s one goal that you didn’t, and how will you handle it after reading this?