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Friday, 3 January 2020

How to set goals for 2020: 7 quick tips

It's that time of the year a lot of us begin to think about what we want to achieve in the next 12 months, I know I certainly do. Research has shown that writing your goals properly means you're more likely to achieve them so here are my 7 tips to writing and setting your goals for 2020.

Reflect on 2019

Before you start thinking about this year, think back to the last 12 months. Take some time to acknowledge the amazing things you've done over the year and give yourself a big pat on the back. Sometimes, it's easy to dwell on things that haven't gone right and even easier to forget all the little things that went well.

It can also be hard sometimes to just think about the last 12 months and pick out things so I find it easier to go month by month. Start with January and think about anything great you did or achieved in that month. I usually look at my camera roll, Instagram story archive and my personal calendar to trigger my mind. Doing this month by month, I actually realised that 2019 was much more positive than I first thought, and I also remembered a lot of things that I totally forgot about. This will put you in a much better mindset to start thinking about the future.

Think about the bigger picture and work backwards

When you start to think about the next year, start by thinking about the bigger picture. Think about it like a vision for 2020 and what you want to achieve my the end of the year, then when you have that, you can think about what steps/goals you need to make to get there. Thinking about the bigger picture means thinking more generally, then you get more specific when you write your goals. For example, your vision could be to 'get fitter in 2020' then you write goals that will help you achieve that, for example, I will run at least 20 minutes per week and by September 2020 I will complete a 5k fun run'. This way you are setting realistic goals to achieve your overall vision.

The cliche SMART goals

This is super cliche, and I sound like a school teacher (trust me, I cringe inside when I even say this), but the goals should be SMART (there are some variations on what each letter stands for but they're all thereabouts the same!):

Specific - keep your goals short, to the point and ensure you fully understand them and what you need to do the achieve them

Measurable - In order to check if you've achieved your goals, you need to be able to measure them in some way

Achievable - Of course we want to push ourselves, otherwise what's the point in goal setting, but the goals need to achievable. There's a fine balance between goals that are so easy it's almost pointless as you don't feel any accomplishment having achieved them, and then the other end of the spectrum where goals are so unattainable that you feel rubbish because there's no way you could ever achieve them. Be fair to yourself and make sure they're achievable

Realistic and Relevant - Will your goals help you achieve your vision? Do you have the resources to be able to achieve them? If your goals aren't relevant, you're likely to lose the motivation to complete them

Timely - Within your goal, hold yourself accountable to a time frame. It doesn't mean you need to beat yourself up if you don't achieve it by that date, but it will help with motivation and make you feel more accountable if you set time frames up front. You can always amend these throughout the year

Be flexible

One thing I rarely see mentioned in any books or articles about goal setting is about flexibility. Someone once told me,

"Be sure of your vision but flexible about your path"

and it's a quote that has always stayed with me. I actually apply this to literally everything in life. It means we should always have a vision in mind, but understand that our goals may need to be flexible to achieve this and our path to the vision may change. I think being flexible in goal setting is a good way to not feel disheartened if you don't achieve something exactly when/how you thought you would.

Understand from the outset you may need to change the time frame for your goal, or may need to change the specifics of it, but that's okay, as long as your vision is still in mind and your updated goal reflects that.

Using the same example as earlier, if your vision is to "become fitter in 2020" but you have a knee injury mid way through the year, that's okay. You haven't failed, you just amend your goal. Instead of having a goal to run a 5k in September, maybe change it to January, or change run to walk. Flexibility is key, and don't beat yourself up about it!

Use positive language

Using positive language in your goals will subconsciously make you feel more positive about them. Instead of saying "I won't have a takeaway more than once a month", flip it round to something more positive like "I will make a fakeaway meal once a week and research healthier alternatives to takeaways". You're removing the I will not, to I will.  It automatically sounds more positive.

Write them down

This is an obvious one but apparently it's statistically proven if you right down your goals you're more likely to achieve them. I don't necessarily write them down for that reason, but I write down my goals to hold myself accountable. It means that you don't just write them in January and forget all about them but you revisit them say once a month and check your progress, which then means you can think about if they need adjusting - flexibility!

Celebrate them

Writing down your goals and regularly revisiting them means it's much easier to recognise when you achieve them, or are close to. When you've achieved a goal make sure you celebrate. Do something nice for yourself and shout it from the rooftops! Tell others about the great goal you've just achieved. Giving yourself recognition will help you feel more motivated to achieve other goals.

I hope these tips help when you're setting your 2020 goals for the year. Don't forget to not be hard on yourself if they haven't all been achieved, it's okay!

Love Lauren xx


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