It’s that special time of year once again: a shiny new 365-day slate awaits us to be filled with exciting events, people and successes. You can shed the old year along with those cool shoes that were actually terribly uncomfortable and buy a new pair of fresh comfy kicks, but let’s be real. This new year also poses new opportunities for challenges, setbacks and even failures.
I have a few tips for setting new year’s goals that both challenge you, yet also keep your life in perspective. I have a lot of different types of goals: I want to learn more about how to be a wife and also cook two dinners a week. I want to make nutritional breakfasts every morning, reach 500,000 subscribers on YouTube (help!) and volunteer at least once a month.
But figuring out how to be a wife isn’t as easy as making a stir-fry. Some goals, especially ones to better your inner self, can take years to develop. Most of us can barely even keep a plant alive for six months. If your only goals are huge, and you don’t meet them immediately, it can be disheartening. Thus, it’s helpful to have a number of simultaneous goals to keep you well rounded. Make goals to have some fun, but also make more serious goals, such as spiritual, familial or career oriented.
Reachable goals involve being straight up with yourself, but also being determined. When setting any type of goal, give yourself a realistic timeline. Getting in shape is going to take more than a few weeks. If you do too much too early, restrict calories and workout too hard, you’ll burn yourself out before you reach your full potential. But you also won’t go anywhere if you skip too many days or treat your body poorly, perpetually saying “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Apply your determination somewhere in the middle.
This is where one more key to goal setting comes in: reflection. Take some time every so often to sit down and ask yourself “am I happy with what I’m doing, or is that just the coffee kicking in?” A goal is something you want, but the process to reaching a goal can often involve things you don’t want: discomfort, fatigue and sacrifice. If the process consumes your vision of the goal, take a step back, evaluate and readjust your goals. Yes, you are allowed to change your mind!
So if I want to read one book a month or find ways to connect to fans more often and in new and better ways, I’m not going to pick up from scratch and abandon my 2016 self just to reach these new goals as soon as possible. I’m going to slowly and naturally build into the goals that become the most meaningful for me.
Someone, somewhere, once said, “listen to the advice you would give to others.” When your friends and family struggle to reach their goals, you give them the advice you genuinely believe will help them. But it’s all too easy to criticize yourself for the same slip-ups. Take a step back and ask yourself “what would I do?” and do it.
Happy New Year!