If you’re like me, working towards new year’s goals over the last month has been challenging. How could it not be? We’re human, life is incredibly busy, and sometimes we create goals that are difficult to make continuous progress towards.
Starting February reminds me that the year is young, and it’s okay to revisit my goals. In fact, it makes sense to do this every once in a while.
One of my biggest goals for this year was to work out more. Unfortunately, this has not happened on a regular basis. I started off strong in January, had a week where I did nothing, regrouped and seemed to be making progress, and then strayed from the plan once again. At the end of the month I was left feeling a little deflated, and honestly ready to throw the goal out the window and just focus on other things and hope the workouts would magically happen on their own.
Instead of giving up on my goal entirely, it occurred to me that I should first re-evaluate the goal. Research tells us that goals should be meaningful and specific. While my goal to work out is definitely meaningful to me, it's not at all specific. Defining the parameters of my goal, such as deciding on the number of times I should work out per week or the number of minutes I want to work out, could help.
Sometimes we also need to be flexible enough to adapt our goals. As I was driving home yesterday and reflecting on how I missed my "window" to work out for the day and, again, didn’t make progress towards my goal, I suddenly had an idea of how to slightly adapt it. I realized I need to make the goal specific—to get to the gym at least 3 times per week. Then, I need to make a contingency plan for the days I don’t make it to the gym. On those nights, I’m going to try and stretch before bed for at least 5 minutes. This way I will feel like I’ve had the chance to get my body moving in some way every day of the week, even if I can’t get in a full workout. Importantly, I can keep up my motivation for my goal.
Are you ready to give up on any goals?
Before you abandon them spend some time revisiting your goals:
*Ask yourself if your goals are meaningful and specific.
*See if your goals need a little tweaking so you can maximize your chance of making progress on them.
*Give your adapted goals a shot, and see how it goes. Remember, you can always revisit them again if you need to!
I'm Lisa, a mother and psychologist dedicated to supporting moms. Read more here.
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