Strategies for meeting your goals

Strategies for meeting your goals

If you have figured out your goals for the new year, how do you plan to implement them? Here are some possible ideas.

Try a streak. It’s a popular method with runners — no, not running without clothes. It’s running on consecutive days for a given time. The idea is to commit to a distance and a time period. For example, decide to run a mile every day for a month or a year or more. Once you get the streak going, you don’t want to miss a day or you have to start over. To keep my one-year streak going, I jogged a mile in a hotel room after an arrival just before midnight.

Although the idea is popular with runners, it can apply to lots of things. Try writing a set number of words each day for a month. Make sure all the dishes are washed, dried and put away before bed each night for two months. Eat only food prepared at home for three weeks. Whatever. Challenge yourself to do something every day until you make your time goal. Use the challenge to keep yourself motivated.

Stack habits. S.J. Scott’s book, “Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness,” explains the idea, although I wouldn’t personally endorse all the habits he suggests. Basically, you attach a new habit to one you already have.

It’s easiest if you start with something small and attach it to something you do every day like brushing your teeth. Because I don’t always have time to stretch and I have to dry my hair every day, I started doing leg stretches while I use the blow dryer. It makes the time seem to go faster, and I get in more stretching.

If you prepare your coffee pot at night, try adding the habit of packing your lunch then too. You could build on it by sitting out a thermos cup or letting the dog out.

Track your progress. Keep a regular log of what you do to get closer to your goal. It can be simple with just basic information or have paragraphs with additional details or a combination of the two.

Just being accountable to the record can help to keep you focused. And it can help you see what you may need to change to reach your goal. Often, we think we are eating better or working out more than we actually are. By keeping a record, we can see what we are actually doing.

Devise a deadline. Give yourself a reason to reach your goal by a given date.

Order chickens for a certain date so you will be forced to get a coop ready for them. Make reservations for a beach vacation and start working out so you look good for it. Plan a party so you have to get the house in good order before the guests arrive.

Tell other people your goal. If having other people know what you are attempting will keep you motivated, do it. When people know what you have in mind, they are likely to ask you about it. Knowing your truthful answer is you haven’t made any progress can get you moving forward, even on days you don’t feel like pursuing your goal. You’ll want to have a positive answer.

Along with deciding good goals with time limits, decide a strategy to keep yourself motivated. One method may work for a while and then fade, so you will want to have others in mind in case you need new inspiration.

Think ahead so you stick to and accomplish your goals for the year to come.

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