Set Goals, Not Resolutions

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Around this time last year we spoke about how to make your New Year’s resolutions more meaningful and more attainable. It was all about individualizing them, and giving yourself a fair, manageable goal. One that wasn’t laughably out of reach.

This year I want to do something a little different. This year I want you to know that you can reach for the stars and set a lofty goal for yourself. Much like your parents, and children’s movies told you, you can do almost anything you put your mind to, if you truly want to do it (except flying without mechanical help, that’s not going to happen).

As much of a cliché as it is, the new year is the perfect time to set the table for what you want to accomplish moving forward. It gives you a clean slate, and a clean calendar with which to work, and allows you to put a bow on the past year, regardless of how less-than-stellar it may have been.

Use this opportunity to do something you’ve been wanting to do for some time. Use it to do something you’re afraid of. Use it to do something someone has told you that you can’t do. Yes, even flying, just make sure you have a doctor with you, please.

SET LOFTY GOALS

A lofty goal doesn’t have to be specific, it just has to be challenging but possible to achieve. It can be something like running every day, or cooking more at home. Notice how neither of these goals have specifics attached to them. They don’t say “run five miles every day”, or “cook every meal at home,” but they have an inherent difficulty to them.

For example, one of the goals I’ve set for myself this year is to read more. Now, I didn’t specify what kind of reading I would like to do more of – it’s safe to say I would like to supplement my normal reading with more reading – but it’s already proven to be a difficult goal to follow through on. Were only four days into the new year and I’ve already gone two days without reading more than I normally do (i.e. reading something other than the four websites I “surf” every day). Which brings me to my next point:

DON’T BE AFRAID TO FAIL

We’re all human and we’re going to screw up every now and again. That’s part of the human experience. Don’t be afraid of it, accept it. Once you learn to accept that failure is inherent to success, you will be more willing to put yourself out there and to try to accomplish something you may have previously thought unattainable.

If you want to take better care of your body this year by eating better and going to the gym, having the knowledge that things aren’t going to change overnight, and that you’re not going to see immediate results, will help you in the quest toward reaching your goal. Most people stop working out because it’s hard and the results aren’t seen for a while, and why would anyone continue working really hard in the gym for seemingly no reward when they can get immediate enjoyment from Netflix and a pint of ice cream? Exactly.

Knowing that things aren’t going to be easy moving forward is an important step in actualizing your goal. Don’t be discouraged if it’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard.

NEED SOME MOTIVATION?

The first two weeks are the sweet spot for New Year’s resolutionists. The gyms are packed, the organic food aisles in the grocery stores are heavily trafficked, and the acting/writing/(insert desired skill here) classes are chock full of aspiring doers. What happens, though, is that over time, people start to either lose interest, or realize they aren’t as committed to achieving their resolutions as they thought they were.

To avoid this all-to-common outcome, give yourself a little motivation in the form of a goal that will fundamentally improve your life (following a passion hobby, improving your health, meeting new people, etc.), or in the form of someone else putting things into perspective.

Like what? Like “What does it mean to be successful?”, or “Don’t be afraid to take a chance on something you love”, or someone asking you “How bad do you really want it?”.

Whatever you hope to achieve this year. Don’t be afraid of setting the goals sky high. It’ll push you farther than you ever thought possible.

Until next time – see you at the finish line.

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Arye

When Arye isn't helping optimize your time, he is doing his part to ensure life is full of shenanigans.