And why it's never too late for personal goal setting.
According to a YouGov poll, two of the top three most popular goals for 2018 were to eat healthier and get more exercise (the third was to save money). It's no surprise that health and fitness-related resolutions rank high among personal goal setting ambitions.
Just head to the gym in January and you'll notice nearly twice as many people as usual on the machines, in the weight room, or crowding the lap lanes. This trend tends to wane by mid-February, when many people's best intentions are replaced by busy schedules or fading motivation.
Maybe, though, some of the most popular goals are not specific enough. Maybe it takes a little more detail and direction to develop a new habit and achieve personal goal setting success. For example, let's say you're on a mission to eat better and improve your overall nutrition plan. That's an important goal, but it's also vague. Instead, hone in on how you can actually reach this popular goal by breaking it down even further. Here are some ideas:
- Eat salad every night with dinner
- Drink a green smoothie or high-quality protein shake every weekday morning
- Tackle meal prep every Sunday
- Make one new healthy recipe every week
- Eliminate soda and fast food
- No eating/snacking after 8:00 p.m.
- Meet the current Institute of Medicine recommendation for daily water intake
The same approach goes for the popular goal of exercising more. Some ideas for making this potentially overwhelming goal more attainable include:
- Exercise during lunch hour at least three times a week
- Commit to spin class on Tuesday and Thursday nights
- Join a weekend boot camp
- Train for and race a half marathon
- Walk for 30-60 minutes every morning
- Get up an hour earlier every morning to workout at the start of each day
- Create a home gym, then use it daily
Other popular goals that often go hand-in-hand with improving one's physical health and fitness are to practice better self-care and reduce stress. Again, these are admirable goals, and again, they're a bit too vague. Instead, try something more definitive:
- Go to bed an hour earlier each night
- Turn of electronics by 8:00 p.m.
- Read a book instead of watching TV before bed
- Take a relaxing bubble bath twice a week
- Unfollow people who are overly negative on social media
- Download a meditation app and use it for 10 minutes every morning
Defining clear-cut, precise goals is your best bet for personal goal setting success. Not only is it easier to work toward an objective that is straightforward, it's also easier to check the box of achievement each time you follow through with your plan.
What about you? What was your 2018 goal? Are you sticking with it so far? If you're struggling or if you've neglected your resolution entirely don't worry. It's never too late to get started, and with the approach we've outlined above, you should be able to identify, set, and succeed in your personal goal, anytime of year.
Want more information and advice on goal setting? You'll find it here.