How to Stick to a Goal
With New Year’s fast approaching, we’re guessing you’ve been thinking about setting some goals for yourself in 2018.
Frustrated with past years’ efforts?
It may not just be about a lack of so-called “willpower.” Your goals themselves may be part of the issue.
Why Set a Goal in the First Place?
Before we get into how to set better goals, which will help you commit to and achieve them, let’s take a moment to highlight why goals are so important in the first place.
The short answer: people who set goals achieve more.
Research from places like the Harvard Business School has found that people with goals tend to have better health, make more money, and enjoy more quality relationships compared to people who don’t set goals. This is partly due to the neurochemical changes going on in your brain as a result of goal-setting, which includes increases in dopamine (a reward-driven neurotransmitter) and endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters which influence habit development, mood, and memory).
You read that right. The act of goal setting in itself can change your brain, and it’s these very changes which can help you stay committed and build the discipline necessary to develop new habits.
The Anatomy of a S.M.A.R.T Goal
Thanks to psychological research, it’s clear that having a good goal can keep you focused, inspire you to make action plans, and help you follow through.
But what does a “good” goal look like, exactly?
You don’t have to wait for a New Year’s Resolution, the first of the month, or the start of the week to begin working on a new goal. But even we’ll admit there’s something satisfying about waking up January 1st with a new goal in mind.
If this is your plan for 2018, we encourage you to make sure your goals follow the S.M.A.R.T protocol:
Simple and easy to describe. You’re clear on the What, Why, and How’s of your goals.
There is a clear way for you to determine whether you do or don’t achieve your goal. Possible metrics include pounds, minutes, dollars, etc.
Though challenging, a good goal is something you can reasonably expect yourself to accomplish, based on your current and developing skills, knowledge, and resources.
Your goal should measure outcomes, not activities.
You have a deadline that’s both realistic and practical yet creates a healthy sense of tension.
In addition to the above key features, we’d like to point out some additional aspects to quality goals:
- They are written in the present “I” tense. That is: “I am losing 15 pounds of body fat by June 1st, 2018.”
- They are genuinely meaningful to you, and not something that you think you “should” do.
- They are challenging, and force you to go outside your comfort zone a little.
At Texas FITT, we’re all about supporting our members who are working toward becoming the best versions of themselves possible. We believe wholeheartedly in the power of conscious goal-setting, and are here to help you maximize your potential in any way we can! Contact us today to find out about our comprehensive wellness and fitness services and start your New Year strong!