Over the years, it has become quite clear to me that the hype around becoming a better person, once we roll into the New Year, is a complete fallacy. It’s some unrealistic expectation that we put on ourselves to express that we weren’t good enough last year, so we’ll have to be better this year. Lose weight, work harder, eat less, exercise more, be kinder, have more focus, be smarter. Sound familiar?
My thoughts: let this year be a little bit different and a lot less intimidating
Setting goals is an important practice, don’t get me wrong. We need to set goals in order to feel as though we are getting somewhere, to stay focused on what we want, and to keep us on the right path. All good things. However, I’m pretty sure that we have lost sight of what it actually means to set a realistic goal and attain it. We’ve gotten pulled off track by 21-day fitness challenges, 3-day fasts, and “lose 10 pounds in 10 days” type promises. Realistic goal setting is not about climbing Mt. Everest (well, for most, average humans), nor is it a race to see who can get the healthiest, the quickest. It involves honestly thinking about something you could actually do; are willing to do; and want to do. AND accepting that if you don’t achieve it on the first try (or the second), that you would be willing to brush yourself off and try again, because you want it that bad.
Remembering to allow for set-backs and failures, disappointment and mistakes, ensures that you will take into consideration the X-factor: “Real Life”. Hey, we are real people, living real lives, with ups and downs, and a whole bunch of other unpredictable stuff. Relax and be real about what may or may not work for you. Most importantly, it is the tiny little bouts of improvement we make every single time we fail and pick ourselves back up, which enable true growth and better promise of success the next time around.
3 Areas To Set Realistic, Small Goals for The New Year
- Exercise: Start where you are now and step it up a notch. That’s it, that’s all. If you don’t exercise at all, set a goal to walk once a week; if you are a marathoner, add a strengthening class to your regime. Something small, something attainable.
- Diet: I often tell clients to just pick one thing to focus on and let that be their goal. That way it’s not too overwhelming and chances of success are much higher. A good example of this: drink 1 large glass of lemon water every morning upon waking. Once you’ve attained that goal, set another: reduce portion size at dinner/eat one vegan meal per week/reduce caffeine intake to 1 cup per day. Make it your own, something that works for YOU (not something some guy/gal/your Mother said you should do)!
- Self-Love: A big category, I know, and for many, the hardest, but this too can be a simple, small, does-not-have-to-overwhelm-you-or-make-you-quit-your-job thing! It goes something like this: Dear Self: for the month of January, I will write in my diary at least 2x per week/Dear Self: for the next two weeks, I will say 3 positive things to myself every day/Dear Self: I will buy a punch pass for yoga and aim to use it up by March. This is my favorite place to work with clients because it is the area that thwarts us into actual change. Where the real work and true growth take place, is where you will find the biggest catalyst for a healthier, happier YOU!
Looking for a place to start? Check out these posts: