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How to Set Great Goals (and Actually Achieve Them)

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Setting goals is a great thing any time of year for health, relationships, and more. Get on track and with these tips for setting goals.

photo of fitness equipment with text overlay about how to meet goals.

I don’t generally make New Year’s Resolutions. I believe that setting goals is extremely important, but I tend to make goals and re-set them throughout the year and not just in January. I prefer the word goal to the word resolution: it has a better connotation! Goals are more flexible, resolutions are “resolute”.

Either way you want call them or however you choose to set them, goals are important in every person’s life because it gives us a sense of direction, intention, and purpose. You can set goals for anything, whether it has to do with relationships, parenting, housework, fitness, finances…

Whatever you choose to set goals for, we all have a need to plan our next steps. Here are a few tips for setting goals and staying motivated!

The Best Ways to Set (and Meet!) Your goals:

  • Break down big goals into smaller ones
  • Pick goals based on what they mean to you – not because everyone else is doing it
  • Pick a couple things to focus on each month to prevent being mentally overwhelmed
  • Goals should follow SAM (Specific, Achievable, and Measurable)
  • Create a vision board
  • Live each day with purpose!

Decide what you really want to achieve

You must decide what you really want for yourself. Losing weight is a common goal but it doesn’t have to be the only motivator. Do you want to run a 5K? Or a marathon? Do you want to have the energy to play with your kids?

One of my goals this year is participate in some fun runs with my husband. We want to participate in something that will help build our relationship and keep our family active (Muddy Buddy here we come!).

Setting a time frame can also keep you motivated because you have a specific date to look forward to. One of my other goals (or motivators – it works as both!) is to be a better mom and wife, and these are a bit easier when I take care of my health.

Create a vision board or notebook

Once you have decided what your goals are, write them down. Create a vision board or notebook filled with lists of your goals, how you want to achieve them, and what you will do for yourself when you get there (rewards are always nice!). I have a binder filled with my favorite motivational images and pages.

I also have a Pinterest board designated for fitness motivation! Whenever you get sidetracked or discouraged, you can look at your board or book and remember why you are doing what you are doing.

Break down larger goals into smaller goals

Decide what smaller steps need to be taken to reach your bigger goals. Is your goal to be able to complete 10 pull-ups by July? You could create a plan by doing modified or assisted pull-ups 2 times a week, then progressing to regular pull-ups until you are strong enough to complete your goal.

One idea to try: make a “New Month” Resolution to focus on each month throughout the year. If you make a broad goal of eating healthier, break it down: decide in January to drink more water, in February focus on less sugar, in March more veggies, etc. This makes things more manageable, both mentally and physically.

Trying to do too much at one time can be mentally daunting and your body may go through withdrawal if you change too much at once. Breaking down your goals into achievable bits will keep you (and your family) sane!

Track your progress

Keep track of your progress on your vision board or notebook. If you want weight loss, track your weight, measurements, and body fat percentage. You can also take photos, track mileage, track sets/reps for weight lifting, etc. This allows you to look back and see the kinds of progress you have made!

Give yourself a break

Literally and figuratively. Remember your body and your mind need breaks from time to time. It is normal to “fall off the wagon” sometimes, just get right back up and move forward! Schedule yourself some breaks so you don’t get mentally or physically burned out.

Stay motivated!

Find things to put on your vision board/book, such as photos and quotes. It is okay to find motivation online or in magazines, but be careful not to let popular media dictate how you feel about yourself.

If reading People magazine makes you feel crummy about yourself, then stop reading it! Find motivation in places that make you feel good.

My favorite photos in my vision book are ones of people being active outdoors: running mountain trails, surfing, rock climbing… These are the images that inspire me most; these images motivate me to be healthy so I can enjoy life all around!

Family, sports, cooking, travel, whatever…any of these things can provide inspiration. Find motivational images and quotes that speak to your life and your interests.

Set new goals

Once you have met your goals, don’t stop there! Make new goals and keep moving forward!

2 thoughts on “How to Set Great Goals (and Actually Achieve Them)”

  1. I like this post! It reminds me of the old adage: “Aim at nothing and you will surely hit it!”

    And your thoughts of breaking goals down into shorter segments is so practical; instead of saying, “I will lose 50 pounds this year”, one could say, “I will lose four to five pounds a month” – same results, but the latter seems more possible and probable:)


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