5 Tips to Setting Goals in the New Year

Create, track and meet your goals using five simple tips.

1 – Identify your goal and the motivation behind it.

It’s not as simple as just putting a goal out there, but you need to make it personal and figure out what the motivation is behind that goal. Tapping into that motivation will help keep your goal front and center and keep you focused.

For example:

Goal #1: I want to do a 52 hike challenge this year. Why? I want to be able to explore new trails, build up to longer hikes and make a weekly commitment to being on the trail.

2 – Break your goal down into smaller objectives or tasks

Just saying that I want to do something doesn’t just make it happen. So I’m going to break down my goal of hiking 52 weeks in 2020 by setting up some smaller goals. Setting smaller goals will make it less daunting and not put too much pressure on me at once to figure out how I will achieve it. It’s easier to take my bigger goal and look at it in four parts. I’m going to break it into 13 week chunks of time

For example if I’m using the 52 hike challenge goal:

In the next 13 weeks, I am going to identify at least 6 new trails I want to hike and schedule out four weeks of hiking at a time. The best day and time for me to hike is on the weekends – early mornings.

3 – Visualize all of it

I’m a strong believer that visualizing each step along the way. I think visualizing things are a big part of being successful in meeting goals. There’s a lot of information out there about using this technique and the science behind it.

So in this scenario, I’m going to visualize my weekend morning ritual of getting up early, packing my daypack and grabbing a coffee as I head to the trail. I’m going to picture how good it feels to get there early with the dew still on the grass and in many cases the trail all to myself. I’ll think of the smells of pine trees, the sounds of leaves under my feet and the coolness of the crisp air on my skin.

I will picture writing in my journal about the hike and then ticking off the box of another hike finished.

4 – Be accountable

Saying your goal out loud to someone, writing it down and and sharing it in a public forum are ways to help you be accountable. Finding at least one person to share your goal with is in my opinion going to help you make that goal. I think it is because when you give your word or make a promise, you don’t want to break that.

Also it provides a way for others to support you in what you’re looking to achieve. Thousands of other people might be doing the same goal as you are – like in the example of the 52 hiking challenge. Using a common hashtag or participating in a forum or group gives you a built in support system.

5 – Track progress and reassess regularly

You can do it on a spreadsheet, an app, spiral notebook or whatever makes sense to you. But make sure you are tracking your progress. Being able to track your progress and then on a monthly basis reflect on what you’ve done allows you to:

  • See your accomplishments
  • Know when you might be off track
  • Make any changes needed to realign goals and action plans

For example:

If I look back at my prior four weeks and realize that I only put in 2 hikes, I know that I won’t be able to get in a weekly hike, but I might still be able to meet my goal of 52 hikes in a calendar year.

Remember to do what works for you, including reassessing and modifying goals. Life happens and being flexible is important.

What are your tips for meeting goals? Leave me a comment below.