5 Tips for Setting Sustainable Goals in the New Year

It’s the beginning of a new year, and the excitement of a fresh start has you setting new goals with the hopes of accomplishing great things this year. It’s common to start the year off with great anticipation, and then get bogged down shortly thereafter by the slog of everyday life and quickly lose steam. Here are 5 tips for setting goals in the new year that you’ll be able to sustain for the long haul.

Be specific with your goal setting

When setting your goal, it’s imperative to be specific about what you want to achieve. Then, set a simple and clear path to get there. Instead of saying, I want to eat healthier this year, set a clear objective. I want to eat dinner at home every night, and incorporate fruits and vegetables into every homemade dinner. You have a specific goal in mind, so nothing is left to chance. Write out a simple plan for yourself. On Saturdays, I will meal plan and do the grocery shopping. On Sundays, I will take care of any meal prep for the week. Set a specific and measurable goal, and a clear path to achieve it.

Make it appealing

If you have nothing to look forward to, you will quickly forget about your new goal and slip back into old habits. Often, it’s not just the fulfillment of the goal, but the anticipation of the goal that excites us. If your goal is to take your family on a big vacation, often the months leading up to the vacation are just as exciting as the actual vacation. Having something to look forward to will keep you striving for that goal. Also, it’s important to surround yourself with people that will keep you motivated. If your goal is to become a runner this year, join a group of runners. Joining a community of like-minded individuals will make it easier for you to achieve your goal.

Set yourself up for success

If running a 5K is your goal, make it easier to achieve that goal by ensuring that everything is ready to go when you wake up every morning to train. Lay out your workout clothes the night before. Have the appropriate shoes picked out ahead of time. Have a premade breakfast ready to quickly eat. Set everything up so that all you have to do when you wake up in the morning is get dressed, eat a quick bite, and head out the door. And in fact, seeing the workout clothes laid out will ensure that you don’t lose sight of the goal.

Stay motivated

Use reinforcement to achieve your new goals. If your goal is to save up for a big vacation, have a specific savings fund for the vacation. Every time you pass on buying your usual morning coffee, put that money in the vacation fund. Seeing that build up over time is inherently motivating and you’ll be more likely to pass on other frivolous purchases in order to add more to the vacation fund. Some days you’ll be tired and will feel like quitting, and it’s important to look forward and remember why you wanted this goal in the first place. Celebrate small victories along the way to keep you motivated!

Have an accountability partner

Having someone that knows your goal and will help hold you to it is an important step in achieving new goals. Knowing that someone is watching your progress will be a strong motivator. Be specific with your accountability partner about what you want and need from them. Having someone to celebrate with you along the way will also encourage you to keep pushing forward.

Ensure that your goals are sustainable by following these 5 simple steps, and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish this year!

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