It’s February, sadly most resolutions have been abandoned in these first couple months of the new year. No one wants to be one of these statistics, so let’s rethink resolutions and start setting goals instead. Resolutions and goals are similar, yet there is a reason goal setting is more successful. Resolutions are an expression of intention, whereas goals are an intention that have a desired endpoint. A properly set goal allows you to focus and plan on how you can achieve it. Think of it as a road map for your life. Setting goals isn’t a difficult task. All you need is a piece of paper, a pen and a few minutes of  thoughtful planning and self reflection.

Goals can be set to any aspect of your life: professional, personal, financial, etc. Your goals don’t all need to be long term. You can set goals monthly, bi-annually, and annually, in fact you should have some in each time frame. You can even see weekly goal setting being used amongst high achieving professionals in the workplace. It works just as effectively on a short term basis. Keep in mind that goals do not need to be large and life altering, smaller goals are as important as the larger ones.

When I am writing goals I make sure they are S.M.A.R.T. goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound. Each goal should be written to fit into each of these requirements. You want goals that make sense for you and that are achievable. Achieving a goal is a tremendous feeling so make sure to not set yourself up for failure. Many small achievable goals can add up to one big end goal. Who wouldn’t rather celebrate at the end of every week, vs. feel lousy you missed a goal week over week. At times, some goals may not get accomplished, and that is ok. Remember that! If you miss a goal, take some time to think about it. Ask yourself, “What can I do differently to achieve this?” and then set your goal again and go for it! You might surprise yourself with what a little re-focusing and determination can do.

My most important tip for keeping your goals is to write them down. Put all your goals on paper, break them down by category and by timeframe. One of my favorite things to do throughout the year is to reflect on my goals. Having them on paper, posted somewhere I can see them helps keep them top of mind. I like to see what I have already accomplished and what goals I still need to work towards. It can assist with scheduling and how I invest my time.

Another goal setting opportunity is to create and record your goals with a friend or partner. Over time, you can check in with each other, support each other, and help keep each other accountable. Who doesn’t need a personal cheerleader every once in awhile? Don’t be shy to share your goals with friends, family, or even announce them on social media. It’s just another way to have something or someone hold you accountable. Telling your social media world you want to run a half marathon can help you strive towards that goal. Friends will even post tips or articles to assist. So go ahead, post on social media, check in at the gym and don’t worry about annoying people with your posts. There is a chance you can be motivating someone else to achieve their goals too!

And remember, according to Zig Ziglar, “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” So go make some time for yourself, sit down, breathe in the moment and set your goals… you will already have won half the battle.

Cheers!