Usually at the end of a year I take some time to reflect on my accomplishments and some time to look toward the New Year. I have always generated goals based on the accomplishments of the previous year and the achievements I desire for the year to come. I have learned from the field of psychology that goals are most likely to be achieved if they are specific and measurable. Making goals specific and measurable is one of the hardest parts of formulating goals because it really forces us to define and take responsibility for EXACTLY what we want our change to look like.
My goals list usually includes a couple goals that I have already achieved in terms of a change but I want to remind myself of their importance. The research says it takes about a year to make a change permanent. For some changes, it takes longer. If a change is new for me, I add it to the next year’s list to remind myself that this change has not yet become permanent and I need to continue monitoring to prevent relapse to old behavior.
I have always broken my goals list down into 3 categories, Health & Wellness, Professional, Emotional. In the professional list I write down what I would like to accomplish professionally and in the Emotional list I include the obstacles that I continue to struggle with emotionally. You may have different categories that you would like to work on. Some of my clients generate goals for their family, for their relationship, for their spiritual practice or financial goals. It depends on what you struggle with, how you want to shape your year and where you want to put your focus.
I always find it interesting that many people have the same basic health and wellness goals, sleep better, eat better, and lose weight. But I think there are goals that we can include on our list that will ASSIST us in feeling better so that we can tackle the bigger objectives. In other words, if you really think about it, what can you do throughout the day to ease your mind so that you can make better decisions about food and sleep and exercise? Are there other little goals that will help you stay calm or feel happier so that you will avoid larger unhealthy patterns? I will try to illustrate with my own list…
2012 Health & Wellness Goals (both already achieved/in need of monitoring, and brand new goals).
1. Continue eating clean (no preservatives/trans fats/processed) and healthy (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low fat dairy, nutrients) 85-90% of the time.
2. Continue taking in adequate water each day.
3. Continue avoiding cigarette smoking.
4. Continue maintaining quality and quantity of sleep (at least 7 hours uninterrupted).
5. Walk 2 X/week, Yoga Practice 2 X/week (strength training, breath work, meditation), Cardio 2 X/week (spinning, racquetball, boxing, swimming, the steps, run, b-ball, tennis, cycling, blading)
6. Increase vegetables.
7. Continue taking multi/fish oil/B/Calcium combined with D
8. Quit Coffee, replace with green tea
9. Take at least one vacation
10. Increase skin moisturizing
11. Increase massage to 1 X/month
12. Instead of putting clothes on chair in the bedroom after work, put them away immediately to avoid the week-long pile of clothes on Friday night.
13. Wear comfortable shoes at least 3 out of 7 days.
14. Buy and wear both an iphone & blackberry holder so I do not constantly set my phones down and have ongoing concern that I will forget them somewhere.
15. Fill gas tank to completely full each and every time I stop for gas so I don’t have to stop so many times during the week or worry I will run out of gas so often.
16. Better understand and achieve a balance between leisure and action.