How To Set Realistc New Year Goals

Want to make some changes in your life? Ready to take on a new challenge? The new year is traditionally a time to embrace positive changes. But with data showing that we rarely make it past 12th January (otherwise known as “Quitter’s Day”) without giving up on our resolutions, it seems they are harder to stick to than we may think.

So what’s the key to successfully achieving your New Year’s resolutions? We find out below…

Set a SMART goal

Whatever your goal is, it needs to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely – aka SMART. By having a clear and attainable result in mind, you can create a realistic plan to help you get there within a certain timeframe. This makes you much more likely to succeed. For example, if your New Year’s goal is to get fitter, don’t set a vague “I’m going to get fitter” objective; instead create a SMART goal such as “in 4 months, I want to be able to run 5k in 30 minutes” or “I want to lose five pounds by the beginning of March”.

Big goal? Break it down

If you want to achieve something huge this new year, it’s important to break it down into digestible, easy-to-accomplish sections. While a SMART goal should be challenging, it also needs to be achievable. So, going back to the fitness example above, if you would love to run your first marathon this year, break this goal down into small sections. If you’re not currently a runner, start by setting a goal to run 5k without stopping within 9 weeks, like the Couch to 5k challenge. Once you’ve achieved this, add on a new goal. Each time you successfully accomplish a ‘mini-goal’ you’ll get a great sense of achievement and it’ll build up to the big goal in the long term.

I completed the Couch to 5k Goal last April, and run a 5k Race in Milton Keynes, with a PB of 32 minutes! I’ll admit, that I’ve not ran since, so my NY resolution is to start running again. I feel silly for quitting, when I loved running so much. Next year, I’d love to run a 10k, or even a half marathon!

Don’t give up at hurdles

Changing habits is not always plain sailing and doesn’t happen overnight. It’s inevitable that you’ll face some hurdles along the way, but it’s how you deal with them that’s important. For example, if your aim is to improve your finances by paying off outstanding debts or better managing your credit card, you may have hurdles along the way. This could be accidentally overspending one week or impulse buying something while shopping. It’s important that you don’t let these setbacks completely knock you off track. Instead, accept that you had a blip and work hard to continue towards your goal going forward. At the end of the day, we’re human and we all lapse sometimes!

Achieving your New Year’s resolution is all about patience and realistic action planning. By creating a specific goal that’s achievable within a set time frame, you will give yourself the best chance of success. What’s your New Year’s goal this year?

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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