Setting Goals for 2021

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Happy New Year!

The year 2020 was a definite challenge for most of us. Who would have thought the world could have changed so much in such a short space of time, turning our lives upside down as we had to adapt to a way of life that was totally different to anything we were used to before.

2020 taught me that life is unpredictable and I shouldn’t take anything for granted, because it’s true that you really don’t know what’s around the corner. I’ve also learnt how to have more gratitude and be humble during the pandemic, as having both my health and happiness throughout has made me feel like one of the lucky ones.

On a personal level, I feel I’ve improved and grown a lot in 2020 and I believe that manifesting my goals and dreams every single day really contributed to helping me achieve them. I like to set new goals and challenges all year round, but with the chaotic year of 2020 coming to a close, I believe now is also the perfect opportunity to set some New Year’s goals or resolutions to help us combat our bad habits and make positive changes to our lives. 

The reason I prefer to set goals rather than resolutions is because I feel resolutions are too often focused on things we should be doing less of, e.g. “Spend less money”, “Eat less chocolate” and “Drink less alcohol”. Even though these are all healthy choices (and things I should probably do myself!), I want to set goals of things I can do more of, e.g. “Exercise more”, “Give to charity more” and “Eat healthier food more”. I believe in order to constantly improve ourselves, we shouldn’t always focus on our weaknesses and the things we don’t like about ourselves, as this will only lead us to beating ourselves up when we don’t strictly stick to our resolutions every single day. 

Here are my tips on how you can set your goals for 2021 … 

Make your goals realistic and achievable

If you set a goal that you know is unrealistic, you’re unlikely to get that feeling of pride and satisfaction that you’d get from achieving smaller and more attainable goals. Two or three goals for the year is plenty, as setting too many might overwhelm you. Less is more when it comes to goal setting. 

SMART goal setting is a really helpful tool when creating goals. Consider if your goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound when setting them, and if your goals aren’t all of these things, then it’s less likely that you’ll actually achieve them and you may be left disappointed. Carefully consider and plan your goals, thinking about how you will actually achieve them and not just why you want to. 

Set your goals for you 

When setting new goals, make sure it’s yourself that you’re putting first in the making of them. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others and be influenced by what others want in their life, and we let this heavily influence our own decisions. Comparing ourselves too much can distract us from our own vision. Everyone’s path in life is different, and that’s what makes us all individuals and unique. There are over 8 billion people on the planet, so we can’t all follow the same path at the same time – life just wouldn’t be interesting! 

Write them down

If your brain is anything like mine, then you’ll find it’s full of your creative dreams, visions and ideas, but they’re nothing but a blurry mess until you write them down on paper. Creating a physical list will help your goals seem so much clearer, and will help you decide if they’re realistic and achievable. You can also stick your list of goals above your desk or somewhere in your room so that you have a daily reminder of them and don’t lose sight of your vision. 

Love the process 

Our goals should become part of our ongoing personal journey and shouldn’t necessarily be about reaching a specific destination. There is no point setting a goal which you know you’re going to hate and will make you miserable. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, consider how you can utilise SMART for this goal and make it achievable. Going on a crazy diet and manic exercise regime that’s unsustainable will only increase your chances of quitting and make you more likely to give up on the goal within weeks of setting it. 

Make sure the things you’re planning to do to achieve your goals are things you will find enjoyable. If your goal is to lose weight, then activities like going to Zumba classes, eating more of your favourite fruits and vegetables, and walking to university rather than taking the car could be some simple changes that you’ll enjoy as well as reap the benefits from. 

“Enjoy the difficulty. Love the process” 

Journal your progress 

It’s far easier to set the goals than stick to the journey of achieving them. With everything we have to do, achieve and remember on an average day, it’s easy to forget about our own personal goals, so we put them to one side whilst we try to balance everything else going on in our life. 

Keeping a journal and regularly updating your progress on how you’ve achieved that goal will keep yourself accountable and keep it fresher in your mind. If you really want something you’ve got to commit to working towards it day in and day out. The biggest judge of your own success is you. 

Keep reviewing and resetting your goals

Life never stops moving forward, so neither should we. With the help of your journal, I suggest you review your goals weekly and monthly in order to track your progress. If your progress is feeling too slow, review your goals and see how you can amend your actions to make them feel more realistic. If you’ve achieved the goal you originally set, see how you could expand it further or set a new challenge. 

“Never stop moving forward” 

Don’t beat yourself up 

Your goals should be there to give you a sense of pride and accomplishment when you achieve them, not be there as something to beat yourself up over when you have a day or week where you slip up and don’t progress as much as you’d have liked too. Even if you don’t achieve all your goals in the time you’d hoped for, don’t give up on them. 

“A little progress each day adds up to big results”

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Treasurer | 20-21 Lifestyle Editor | 20-21 Social Editor | 19-20

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