How To Set Goals (And Smash Them)
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It’s the start of a new year, and the perfect time to think about what you want to achieve. But thinking about goals for an entire year is pretty daunting...so, we’re breaking it down, and giving you some tips on how to set manageable monthly goals, and then smash ‘em (because we know you can)! Here’s what you need to do…
Make it positive
It’s sometimes easy to look at or think about goals and immediately think “ugh, I’ll never actually do it”, and that’s a normal thing to think. But thankfully, there’s a pretty simple way to switch it around, and it all comes with a positive spin.
It’s obvious that if you’re working towards a goal that you actually don’t care about, you’re unlikely to put in the work. So, take your time when thinking about what you want to achieve and pick something that will positively benefit your life. Is it something to do with your career dreams? Friendships? Family? Is it a physical goal or a mental goal? Will it help you learn? Or is it just for fun?
When you’ve thought of what it is, think of the outcome. Instead of saying ‘I want to stop messing up on this piano piece” say “I want to confidently play this piece”. Instead of saying ‘I shouldn’t eat so many sweets’ say ‘I want to introduce healthier foods into my diet’. When you look at it in a positive light, the work you have to do to get there will feel easier (and more fun!)
Think big and break it down
It’s not a bad plan to have future goals - whether that’s for six months away, a year away, or even five years away. But you have to understand the work that goes into making those goals happen. Which is why the most important thing to do is break down your goal into actionable, bite size chunks.
Take a look at what you want to accomplish, and then think about what you need to do every day in the month to make that happen.
For example, let’s look at something (relatively) simple. Say you want to read a book a month for the year, but reading sometimes feels overwhelming. There’s a simple solution. Take your book, and see how many pages it has in total. We’ll say it has 310. Next, divide 310 by the days of the month - 31 in this case. That means, to finish reading this book by the end of the month, you just have to read ten pages a day. Mark the pages up (sticky notes work well here!) and then all of a sudden, 10 pages a day seems manageable, and by the end of the month, the whole book is done!
And this method can be used for lots of different goals. Want to get better at budgeting and save some money? Set yourself a monthly goal, and then weigh out what that means for every day, or every week, and how much money you’ll have to put aside.
Want to learn a new yoga pose? Set yourself daily goals that lead up to it. Follow instructional videos that will show you small stretches and guide you into it day by day. Want to run a 10k by the end of the month? Take a look at things like running guides that break down the final run length week by week, and day by day, so that you have a plan to stick to, and a gentle way in.
Make it tangible
One of the easiest ways to fall off track when trying to achieve your goals is by keeping them in your head. If they’re just thoughts, there’s no tangible way to see your progression. That’s why it’s important to write your overall goal down, and the steps you're going to take to get there. When you can see what’s ahead of you in easy bite size chunks, it often takes away the intimidation. And hey, you then get the satisfaction of being able to cross something off the list every time you do it!
So, set up a plan, whether it’s in a notepad or on your computer and make sure it’s visible to you every day. It will act like a reminder and also your own personal cheerleader. You’ll literally see yourself getting closer to your end goal every day, which will give you the extra motivation to keep going! And, if you really want to stay accountable, you can always ask someone else (your parents, your pals, your siblings) to check in on you and your plan to make sure you’re sticking to it.
What goals are you setting for yourself this month? Let us know over at @NCS!