Create Achievable Goals to Win in the Long Run

As we begin to reflect on this last year and prepare for a new year, it’s a good time to also evaluate our personal and business goals. Whether we need to eat healthier, exercise more, kick up our career or consider a business that provides work flexibility, December is the ideal time to begin planning for a new launch.  Setting goals and aiming our energy in the right direction will keep us focused to make progress towards our vision. Below are three points to achieving your goals:

Determine what really matters and then write down your goals. One well-known system is to use the SMART goal setting guide which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results, and Time-bound. A goal might be to walk a minimum of five times a week for 40 minutes by April 2018.  Setting a goal and pledging to take the needed steps over a set time period will make it easier to achieve the desired results and make it a consistent part of your lifestyle. Not only do you need to set the goal, you should know why it is beneficial. For instance, by walking regularly you can maintain or lose weight, slash your risk for a chronic disease like high blood pressure, heart disease or type 2 diabetes, improve your mood and possibly eliminate Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), especially in the winter months when daylight is limited.

Create a plan of action for that goal. By creating steps using a calendar, excel sheet or just making a list, you can review specific, measurable, actionable steps regularly and monitor achievements. For example you will want to build in gradual changes so you can reach the goal. You can start by walking twice a week for 40 minutes for the first month. By the second month you might increase walking to three times a week and by the third month you would add an extra day of walking. As a result of following your action plan, by the fourth month, you will have reached your goal of walking five times a week. Build action steps around what works for you so you can measure achievements along the way and ultimately reach your desired goal. Every new endeavor requires time and we need to prioritize so we can give something up to gain something new. This could mean eliminating a TV show or surfing the internet. Sticking to a designated deadline will ensure you are making progress and owning the steps to accomplish the end result.

Evaluate yourself regularly. A goal should be measurable and you should see progress if you stick with a realistic plan of action. Once you begin to see the benefits of sticking to a plan of action you will feel better about yourself and can begin focusing on other goals on your bucket list. Making progress in the beginning may seem intangible, but once you reach some milestones you will be thrilled with having challenged yourself to go for it. Know that no matter what happens; never give up because taking the first steps to step out of our comfort zone to achieve something positive makes us winners. And, on occasion we might need to make adjustments to stay on course, and that’s OK because we are learning and fulfilling our personal vision.

Janet Cannata

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