Setting Realistic Goals For 2018


Lake Mead National Recreation Area offers miles of developed trails for running. (NPS Photo by Andrew Cattoir)



The season of rest starts is upon us, and every you go on social media an in life you will see people talking about what they want to achieve in the new year. Most people will start off well with their resolutions, it is something which we all try our best to do for the first couple of weeks- but by the middle of January 80% of us will have given up.


Why do we give up? Because we set ourselves goals which we simply cannot complete. If you think about what you want to achieve, the first thing to consider is whether or not you CAN do it or not.


Willpower is a great thing, but if your goal is to become an astronaut by the end of the year, no amount of wishing is going to make that happen. Of course, that is a rather extreme example, but you get the point. New Year’s resolutions are becoming more of a fad than what they should be, and it’s because every year we set ourselves something which is either incredibly difficult or incredibly vaguel simply saying ‘I want to lose weight’ isn’t good enough. How much weight. 1 pound? 1 stone? 5 stone? Without a clear goal you will never succeed, which is why you need to read these tips…


Write Your Goals Down

Enforce you start thinking about starting your resolution, you need to write down EXACTLY what you want to achieve. For example, your goal might be to lose 5 pounds in the next few months. What you need to do at this point is set yourself an end date- a deadline. Give yourself a date to work towards. It could be the day you are going on holiday, to a wedding or even just your birthday. Setting a deadline and writing it down will help you work out your plan of action.


Set Milestones

Aside from your main deadline, you will also want to set yourself some milestones. A milestone is a small step towards your end goal, so for the example above it could be losing 1 pound towards the 5. If you set yourself 2 weeks to lose 1 pound, then in 10 weeks you could reach your goal. Make sure that you track your progress all the time and when you reach a small milestone, praise yourself. Treat yourself to something to encourage you to keep working at it.


Be Realistic


As we mentioned above, if you want to become an astronaut, a year is not a realistic timeframe to go by. It could be that you have seen bodybuilding women and become inspired to try and become one yourself. You need to really think about how much work you need to put into your body and diet to achieve this. You can’t expect yourself to become a bodybuilder in a few months, because depending on your fitness level it could take a few years. Instead, set yourself goals with your weight and body fat percentage. Monitor yourself and take your time. Most of the time people overface themselves with too many goals and they end up giving in because it is too difficult. By breaking down a large long term goal into smaller portions, you will be more likely to succeed.


One at a time


One of the biggest mistakes people seem to make when they are looking at New Year’s resolutions is writing a huge list of things to do at once. This is never going to work because your mind will not adapt. Instead, you can still write down everything you want to achieve, but rate how important they are to you. Once you have picked the most important goal, you can work on starting this one FIRST. Only when you have started to make headway on this goal or introduced a new healthy habit should you look at your next goal. Changing one thing a time gives your mind and body chance to get used to it and it will be much easier for you.


Schedule Time For Your Goals

A mistake many of us make is to pick a huge goal and then never make time to complete it. You cannot expect to write a novel if you never put pen to paper. If you want to lose weight you need to take time to exercise and eat healthily, or if you want to start a business you need to work at it. You cannot expect things to happen without you dedicating time to it. Try and take some time each week for whatever your goal is. Treat it like you are going to a class or you have an appointment. Never cancel this time and keep it constant to form a habit.

Set Goals You Want To Achieve

This is a strange thing to say, you might think, but it is surprising how many of us set goals we feel like we HAVE to achieve, but that we don’t want to. You might feel as if you HAVE to save up for a house, but you might be happy enough renting. Don’t set yourself a goal to do something which you don’t want to do in the first place, because it will never work out. If you don’t have the innate motivation to go out and do something, you will dread every time it comes along and you’ll avoid it like the plague. Save yourself the stress and pick a different goal instead.


Remember you are human


The most important thing to bear in mind when you do set yourself goals for the new year is to understand that it won’t always go to plan. Some days you may wake up and not be able to do that yoga session or eat kale, but you shouldn’t be hard on yourself. Listen to your body and your mind, and understand that if you are craving something, it’s because you need it. Let yourself enjoy life and achieve those goals in your own time

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