Goal Getters: How to Set Goals You Are Sure to Smash

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So everyone is familiar with the New Year’s Resolution, which has a reputation for showing up, demanding all of your attention and energy, and then like the cute guy you met at The Wharf, he is suddenly gone by the end of the month, only to show up again, randomly, when you would rather not be reminded that you had him around in the first place. So how do you make a goal more like the guy you want to bring home to the parents? Stable, committed, always on your mind. See if these tips help get you closer.

Ditch the January 1st/Monday Mentality

You can start goals and end goals whenever it is convenient, be it tomorrow or next week, or your birthday or anniversary. You can start on a Wednesday, on a Saturday, or December 15th. The idea that goals are reserved for specific times, limits our ability to keep progressing. That being said, while the topic is on your mind - New Year, New Decade - are opportune moments to reflect and decide what we want to achieve for ourselves.

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Pick Things You Really Want For Yourself

Start by picking a few things that you really want for yourself. Things that have real deep emotional connections. Picking things, like training for a half marathon, just because your pals are doing it, can lose their appeal fast because there is no real emotional anchor for you. Start with what you hold most dear and aim for two-to-five goals to work on.

Identify Goals That Are Actually Attainable

Make sure you are picking goals that are attainable. If you are 250 lbs and your ultimate goal weight is 150, it may be possible to lose 100 lbs in a year, but make sure to work with a professional to ensure you are working in a sustainable way, not just the fastest way. Or there might be some certification you are working toward that would be recommended to do over the course of two or three years. Don’t kill yourself to try to do it in one. Follow the guidelines that work for most people and make concrete deadlines for the steps required to work toward the goal, even if it is not completely smashed by January 2021. Progress is progress, it all counts.

Go Big As You Can Within Reason

Don’t go too small though, go as big as you can within reason. A miserly goal will instill laziness and won’t hit your emotion the same way. The idea is to pick something big enough that you know you have to put in a consistent ongoing effort to achieve, in order to keep momentum.

Think about it: If you set the goal far too big 100-pound weight loss and get overwhelmed in the first month because you couldn’t meet the first month’s weight loss goal of 8.3 lbs (which is very hard to do!) you might give up and not even keep trying like the old resolutions in your past.

If you aim too small, 10-pound weight loss you might procrastinate, forget or put in less effort than you really need in order to reach it because it just does not inspire anything.

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Not All Goals Should Be Treated Equal

Prioritize. Know the goals that can be pushed to the back burner if you have an emergency, and know the goals that are absolutely non-negotiable. We say life is unpredictable, but it is very predictable that some other obligation you did not factor in will come up in the middle of the year and derail some of your plans. Allow for this by being as flexible as you can. Try not to throw your hands up and give up. Instead, figure out what parts of your non-negotiable goals can be reworked and which secondary goals can be delayed. Don’t just delay inevitably, though, pick a date in the future to revisit and restart your delayed goals so they don’t just evaporate over time.

If You Fail to Plan, Then You Plan to Fail

Plan it out! If a goal sounds very large, break it down into reasonable steps, and aim to get those steps done fast. If you think a goal has three steps, and each step would likely take about 1-3 months to complete, schedule it out with time for maybe 1.5 months for each step. Don’t give yourself a full three months if you don’t really need it, that allows too much time to lose steam, but factor in extra time in case of emergencies. If this is something that requires portions you need appointments for, go ahead and call or go online and make the appointments while you make the plan. Put reminders in your phone for different steps throughout the process, or use an old school pen and paper planner to keep your steps organized.

Write Your Goals Down

Write out your goals often. If you start your day by scribbling down your top five goals for the year it will keep those things at the front of your awareness. If opportunities come up to help you along toward those goals you will be more aware of how they might connect and help you. Also, if you are being diligent with your plans, you might find that you start to write something you have already completed, which is an amazing feeling.

Maintain Positive Self-Talk With Yourself and Others

Talk to positive people about your goals. Find a workout buddy, a mastermind group, an alumni event, something where other goal smashers are happy to hear what you are trying to do and help you achieve it. You do not have to share your goals with those who will not respond well. Those that do respond well, however, will give you little bursts of energy along the way to keep you moving. Try any tips that others give to you about your goals that resonate with you. Unless it’s something dangerous or illegal, it can’t hurt to try different methods to get to the same goal or even integrate a few ideas together.

Celebrate Wins and Show Gratitude

Lastlycelebrate the completion and show gratitude for each and every completed step.This will remind you of your progress, confirm your capability to complete thenext steps, and create space for soaking in the accomplishment. Go smash 2020,Miami!

For time management when scheduling the steps to your goals, I recommend anything by Laura Vanderkam https://lauravanderkam.com/.

Sarah Russ, LCSW is a mental health professional in Miami focused on practical, actionable therapeutic strategies for mental well-being in a world of overstimulation and misconceptions about what constitutes true self-care. Sarah received her Master of Social Work from NYU and has been working in mental health for seven years. She specializes in healthy coping strategies and crisis management for those with chronic illnesses, substance use, and anxiety. You can follow her @mentalhealthformillenials or schedule a session with her at Arvon & Associates in Aventura, Doral, or Virtually by calling 305-936-8000.

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