Setting goals is a great way to grow as a person. Right now many people are setting New Year’s resolutions which is a good way to start the year off right. A common challenge we face with our goals is sticking with them long term. Here are some tips to help you keep on track and motivated.

Setting Goals

It is important for all of us to set new goals in our lives.  This keeps us growing, learning and moving forward in a positive manner.  Most of us have really good intentions and work hard at our new goals, at least initially.  The problem is keeping motivated when other distractions come up in our lives.  Luckily there are tips and tools that can help us stay on track and be successful.

Tips

We are creatures of habit and sometimes it is hard to change.  Here are some tips that may help keep you motivated.

Really want change 

Only set a resolution or goal if you genuinely want a change.  Think about why you are doing this.  Is it because other people are doing it? Or are you really tired of something and genuinely want to change it?  You should only try something if it is really important to you personally.

Be self-motivated and positive

Long-lasting change will only come if you are self-motivated.  If you just kind of want to do something, then there is a good chance you will lose focus.  Focusing on the positive outcome of a goal and visualizing yourself attaining that goal are great ways to stay on track.

Pick a specific goal

Don’t just make a general goal such as losing weight.  It is better to set attainable smaller goals.  Maybe start with “I want to lose 5 lbs in 2 months by eating more vegetables” or “I will walk 2 miles 3 times a week”.  Those are concrete goals that you can meet.  Once you meet them, then you can always expand the goal.

Stay consistent

It is important to keep at your new goal for at least a month.  What you are doing is getting yourself in the habit of doing this new thing.  Once you are used to doing it, it is easier for your brain to pick up this new routine.  Basically, you are giving your goal a real “chance” by promising to do it for a set period of time.

Replace bad with good

Think of this as a way to distract yourself.  You know something is bad for you, but you are used to it.  Your mind and body need a replacement to ease yourself away from the bad habit. Smokers will often use hard candy as a replacement for having the cigarette in their mouth.  If you love junk food, possibly start with some snacks that are a bit healthier and ease into the really healthy stuff.  This gives your mind and body a chance to get used to the new things.

Plan ahead

This is important if you have a change in your routine. Maybe you are going to be at a party with unhealthy food. You can eat something healthy before you leave to keep yourself on track.  If you are traveling, ask the hotel if they have a gym so you can meet your exercise goals even on the road.  Planning ahead makes it convenient to meet the goal and doesn’t give you an excuse to not do it.

reaching your goals

Keeping Track 

Sometimes we feel like we are trying but not really seeing progress. If you look back a few months and compare it to where you are now, you may be surprised at the amount of progress.  Keeping track of your success is a great motivator.  Some tracking ideas include:

Journal

Write a list of your key achievements each month, or record health information.  If you are trying to lose weight, record your stats when you first start.  If healthy eating is the goal, keep track of the foods you eat.  This is helpful not only to see progress but to give you an idea of what things worked for you each month.

Apps/Tools

There are many apps that can help you with your goals.  Check out your app store for the ones that best matches your goals.  A few ideas: Way of Life, Strides, and GoalsOnTrack are great for helping you with tasks.  If your goal is getting fit then an activity tracker like a Fitbit or similar device can help.  Remember, you don’t need an app to succeed.  You can use simple things like post-it notes to motivate you.  The calendar in your mail program can be used to set reminders to exercise or stay on track with your goal.  Putting things on your calendar makes it harder to forget about them.

Support

It is very important to get support and encouragement as you are working on your goals.  Make sure you are surrounded by people that are positive and helpful.  Even better is to get a friend to work on the goals with you.  If you are both eating healthier and exercising, it is easier to succeed.  Look for local groups to find others with your same goals to get and give support.

Have fun

This is the most important tip for your success.  If you are not having fun or not enjoying the goal, then the chance of success is greatly reduced.  Try to find ways to make it an enjoyable experience.  Instead of thinking how much you dread exercising, focus on how great the music sounds or how pretty the nature around you appears.  Keeping a positive attitude is crucial for anything in your life to succeed. Remember to keep it positive, fun and manageable and you will be on the right track to succeed.  I wish you much success with your goals!

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible

– Anthony Robbins