It’s that time of year. Whether you choose to make resolutions, set some goals for the year, or focus on a word of the year, in some form or fashion most of us are taking stock of where we are and where we want to be. It’s an annual phenomenon caused by the “clean slate” feeling of a new year.
It’s been my experience that there are a few relatively simple concepts that can help you achieve your goals.
1. Be specific. It’s great that you want to eat healthier or get more exercise, but that’s too generic to promote lasting, measurable change. How are you going to eat healthier? When are you going to schedule your workouts?
Even though I’ve made great strides in improving my diet, there is always room for more improvement. One area in which I’ve let myself backslide is my fruit consumption. So, my current goal is to include fruit with two meals or a meal and a snack each day – an orange or an apple with lunch, blueberries in my oatmeal or yogurt, or an apple and a slice of string cheese for a snack.
I’m also currently behind in my training for my next half-marathon. I know I’m behind because I know how many miles per week I wanted to be running by now and how long my weekly long run should be. I’m a little annoyed with myself for being behind, but acknowledging where I am based on a measurable goal of where I should be will help me take the steps to get back on track.
2. Make small, consistent changes. A lot of times when we set goals, we want to make big, sweeping changes. That can be a recipe for failure because too many changes at once is usually very hard to maintain.
Instead of making huge changes, across the board, start with small changes that you can consistently maintain. Instead saying, “I’ll never drink sweet tea or sodas again,” say, “I’m going to replace sugary drinks between meals with water.”
Instead of overhauling your entire daily schedule, resolve to get up half an hour earlier every day this week, then half an hour earlier the next week until you’re at the time you’d like to be getting up. Then, move on to the next small, measurable change.
3. Pray. Finally, pray. God cares about you, your needs, and your goals. Prayer can help you to refine your goals and make sure that they are in line with God’s plans for you.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” – Proverbs 16:3
Have you set any goals for yourself at the start of this new year?