What ever your goals are this year, there are some easy ways to make sure you can achieve them.
To make a goal easier to hit, they should be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant or realistic and Timely.
To set a goal effectively, firstly, you should be specific.
This means making sure that your goal is clear and definable, with a specific end-point. What do you want to accomplish? Where do you want to get to? And why is it important? Being specific makes it is easier to focus your efforts and stay motivated.
For example, rather than simply saying "I want to learn to meditate" a more specific goal would be "I want to be able to meditate for 5 minutes a day, 5 days per week, by the end of this month."
Just saying that you want to achieve your goal isn’t enough. Having a goal you can measure means you can track your progress towards your goal and gives you something to aim for.
Making your goal measurable should answer questions like how much, how many, or for how long?
For example, rather than setting a goal of "I want to start running", a better example is "I want to be able to run for 30 minutes without stopping."
Setting a measurable goal also means you get the satisfaction of knowing when you have achieved it.
You should set a goal that will push you, but you should also make it realistic given your own circumstances. Make sure it is within your reach. If your goal is to do sit-ups, but you’ve never done any, you're unlikely to be able to do 200 sit-ups straight away.
Divide your goal into smaller bitesize challenges to make it achievable. For example, make your goal to do 10 sit-ups in a row; then increase this to 20 sit ups, and so on. Don’t forget, when you achieve your goal, you can always set another one!
If you set a goal that you are highly unlikely to achieve, it can be demoralising, and you will likely give up.
Your goals should be for you. It is you that sets them, you that work towards them, and you who completes them. Think about how you can achieve your goals. What is the benefit to you achieving your goal? Are time, money or health a factor in being able to achieve them?
If you set a goal of running 5 days a week, but you have a busy work and home life, it may not be relevant or realistic to set that goal. Aiming to run 1 day a week at first, may be more realistic.
Set yourself a schedule and a deadline. When will you start and finish your goal? Can it be broken down into daily or weekly milestones?
Again, think about your own life and work out when you can realistically achieve the goal to make it challenging but enjoyable - not stressful.
Don’t set a deadline that is impossible to reach, but do challenge yourself.
Setting up goals should help you reach your targets. But don't forget, if life gets in the way, and you need to reset at any point, do. It is much better to evaluate and change, than give up completely.