Well, we’re officially one week in! Hopefully by this point you’ve landed upon your “mantra words” for 2020 as referenced in last week’s post. (If not, go back and give her a looksie here if you’re interested!) Now that you’ve crafted your overall vision or purpose, it’s time to think of some goals to begin turning that vision into your new reality. Below I’ve offered three “Be’s” to keep in mind when setting your goals, followed by some great tips that will help you stay the course. Look, I get that this may seem like a lot of effort just to set some goals; however, I promise all this initial mental prep work is truly what will lay the foundation for you to act with intention; stay focused; and accomplish things that will have a lasting, meaningful impact on your life. Now, without further ado, let’s jump into this.
The Three “Be’s” of Goal Setting
Unfortunately, as I just alluded to, setting goals isn’t just jotting down dreams in a cute notebook with your favorite Bath and Body Works candle burning. While that may provide us with a lovely photo op, at the end of the day, transformation requires change and growth, and the only way you’re going to do that is by honestly reflecting on where you are right now and where you want to go. Those big, overarching life mantras from last week? Now’s the time to really define what they mean in the context of your life so you can focus your intentions. Think of this step as the link between your vision and your goals. To do this, you’re going to have to check your ego at the door and ask yourself some tough questions. Remember, the more you put into any of these exercises—that is, the more honest you are with yourself—the more beneficial they will be. I learned this tip from amazing life coach, author, and entrepreneur, Cara Alwill Leyba. On an episode of her Style Your Mind podcast (original air date October 7, 2019), she was generous enough to share some questions she asks her personal coaching clients (and herself) to reflect on before the start of any new year or life phase. Take some time to write down your answers to these to get those introspective juices flowing!
- Who do I want to be next year/in this new phase?
- What are the habits that have held me back in the past?
- What new habits can help move me forward?
- What can I let go of?
- What can I be excited about/what do I have to look forward to?
One of the biggest mistakes people make when setting goals is not being specific enough. While it’s great to start with broader ideas in order to focus your thoughts (see above), its best to set goals that are (a) short term—say…days, weeks, or 1–2 months—and (b) targeted. Why? Well, quite simply, it’s much easier to stay motivated and determined when you’re thinking short term and can consistently track progress. Instead of “I want to lose weight,” try “I want to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.” Instead of “I want to be more present,” try “I want to commit to no electronics after 8 p.m. every day” or “I want to commit to three distraction-free dinners with my partner each week.” Having an actionable metric that you can objectively achieve is your best bet for implementing noticeable changes.
Here’s a little personal anecdote for you: I’ve been wanting to “build a booty” since I started this whole wellness journey about three years ago. I’ve read countless articles outlining the ins and outs of how to achieve this, from the exercises I should be performing to the grams of protein I should be consuming. Spoiler alert: my bum is no bigger now than it was then. Is this because I didn’t put in the work? No, it’s because of the way my body is composed physiologically. It’s not my fault I have a small gluteus maximus muscle and am extremely quad dominant—my version of the Mean Girls “Jumbo Tampon” issue (LOL). I’ve got a small bum and it’s going to stay that way even if I squatted and lunged my little heart out. Once I let those unrealistic expectations go, I was able to accept my tiny butt and stop beating myself up over my inability to change it. My point in sharing all this with you is that you want to set yourself up for success. Recognize and accept what’s truly achievable and sustainable for you in this moment—remember, this marker can, and will, change as you get better, bigger, faster, stronger, etc. Unless of course you’re me and my little bum (OK, OK, I’m done I promise). If you don’t currently work out at all, vowing to hit the gym five times per week probably isn’t sustainable. Three times per week, however? Much less daunting and way more reasonable. Then, once you’ve successfully gotten into that routine, up your goal. You don’t have to think small, but you do have to start small.
Plus A Few Tips…
Alright, so you’ve narrowed your focus, kept it 100 with yourself, and set some specific, realistic goals. Now what? The five tips below will help get you going and keep you on track!
- Do your research and create a plan. I know it’s cliché, but if you fail to plan, plan to fail. Physically write out the action steps you need to take to hit your targets. Guys, it is scientifically proven that if your write out your goals, you are more likely to stick with them. If you need help, direction, or more information to get started on a plan, do some research! The internet is for more than just posting pretty pics. A Google search is your friend, friend.
- Regularly document and reflect on your progress. Again, we want to manually reflect on your progress. Killing it? Journal how proud you are of yourself and how good you feel. Struggling a bit? Honestly analyze why that might be. Maybe you need to revise your original goal to take it down a notch or tighten up your action plan. Applaud yourself for committing to making the necessary changes and then get right back at it.
- Go back to your purpose. Feeling unmotivated or lost? Going back to your big picture “why” and reaffirming how this all ties back to your 2020 words is a great way to see the bigger picture. Sometimes we can get so overwhelmed trying to slay the day to day that we forget to remember why we’re doing all of this in the first place.
- Build a community/find accountability. I’m not saying you need to have a constant workout buddy or track every calorie, but you do need to find an honest way to hold yourself accountable, and unfortunately, that usually means involving someone or something else. Whether its simply sharing your goal with a motivating friend or family member and asking them to follow up with you, checking in on Instagram (hello #tiucommunity), or using an app to track data, it really does help if you find an external resource to serve as your mirror so to speak.
- Remember…progression, not perfection. Say it over, and over, and over again. There will be bad days, setbacks, and plateaus. This. Is. A. Fact. Recognizing ahead of time that those are all just a part of the journey will help you avoid getting too discouraged and make it easier to bounce back when they eventually do happen.
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I know this one was a longy guys, but I think it’s packed with some really helpful information. Depending on what your focus is, some pieces of advice may be more relevant than others, though I truly believe that all of these points can serve as healthy reminders/behaviors that we can incorporate into our growth at one point or another. Now go get to work, girl!