This past week I saw a meme that said, “When entering 2023, no one make any sudden movements, or declare this year will be your year.” In essence, don’t anger 2023. While the joke was funny and it made me laugh, I understand the fear and hesitancy of entering a new year after the past few have been rough for many.
The meme recognized the fear many have to set resolutions and to have the courage to make healthy changes in the new year. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that if the past few years have taught me anything, it’s that now is the time to seize what I want in life and become the best me possible.
This got me thinking about what goals I’d like to set in 2023. I started doing a little research and I wanted to share some of the wisdom I’ve found, learned, and been taught from fellow women to set, and achieve my goals for 2023.
Set Reasonable Goals
To set reasonable goals, first consider your obstacles.
I’m a busy working mom, with two school-aged children, two dogs, two cats, and a big, wonderful, crazy life. Most days I collapse into bed, knowing my to-do list wasn’t finished, which is why the thought of having a regular fitness routine makes me laugh comically. I want to share an example of how I set a reasonable goal for myself.
During the first pandemic lockdown, I was gifted a Pilates reformer, due to the studio being closed because of the pandemic. I’ve had the reformer for a few years now, and if I am being perfectly honest, I go through spurts where I work out every day on it, and then I don’t touch it for a month. My most common obstacle in achieving my goal is time, or at least that was the excuse that I told myself.
Pre-pandemic, I made time in my schedule to go to the Pilates class three times a week. Three times a week is reasonable for me, I know I can be successful in setting aside three hours per week for myself. My point is, I know my potential obstacles (time!) and I want to set myself up for success. Setting a reasonable goal means recognizing potential obstacles that could derail progress, so rather than working out every day, I’ll start with three days a week.
Be Consistent and Set Yourself Up for Success
I’m reminded of another funny meme I saw that said something like, “I want a gym that is all workouts for the month of January and then turns into a coffee house to relax at for the rest year instead of exercise”. Every year there is an onslaught of resolution seekers that fill gyms, start strong for the first few weeks, then for whatever reason fall short, and by October, they haven’t set foot in the gym in months. Set yourself up to be consistent and get what you need to be ready on day one.
I believe conventional wisdom says it takes 30 days to make or break a habit. It’s not the length of time, but the repetitive nature of doing the same thing, again and again, that makes it a habit. Consistency is key. In my experience, it is usually the days that you don’t want to follow through that become the most beneficial. Push yourself, be consistent, because if you are not, you’re only cheating yourself out of success.
Being consistent is key, but the second part is setting yourself up for success. Not taking the time to prepare for the work it will take to achieve your goal, is another common area where many stumble. For example, I have a friend who sets a reading goal every year. She sets a target of how many books she wants to read each year. A vital key to her success is that she has her first few books picked out and is ready to start reading on day one. She knows that if she must go to the bookstore to start towards her goal, she’s more likely to put off starting her reading for the year. This delay snowballs as she falls behind and is defeated that she’ll never catch up for the year. Before she knows it, her entire year is derailed because she didn’t set herself up for success.
So, whether it is a health-related goal, something for your mental well-being, or taking up a new hobby in the new year, set yourself up for consistency and success by being ready to start working towards your goal on day one.
Enlist Accountability Partners
Another important step in achieving a goal that has always worked for me is to have an accountability partner. This person keeps me on track when I don’t have the motivation to do it for myself. Having an accountability partner can also be a lot of fun too. They can keep you honest, challenge you, and in return you have the opportunity help each other with success.
The only time I ever ran a race in my life, I did it with a partner. It was the accountability and the competitive nature of training together that made it fun. Yes, running was fun, but it was because I had someone to hold me accountable, and I was able to hold her accountable too.
Celebrate your Successes and Embrace your Failures
The point of setting a goal or a resolution is to grow into the best version of yourself. This should not include beating yourself up over missing a day at the gym or missing your daily goal especially when it cannot be helped. Rather than give up or feel bad about not hitting your goal, take a step back and think about what you can learn from this situation.
When I work late, or am traveling and miss a workout, I remind myself this is a great opportunity to learn how I can make my goal more flexible. Perhaps a morning workout or a modified workout that is travel friendly can be worked into my routine. The point here is to learn from this situation and adapt. You might be surprised if you are open to learning from the situation, something new and fun may arise to help you along in achieving your goal.
Finally, learn to celebrate your successes. Taking a moment to recognize and celebrate your accomplishments is just as important as embracing your failures. Relish in the feeling of accomplishment and let it spur you on in the pursuit of your next goal. You’ll remember how good the feeling is and be able to pull from it in moments where motivation is needed.
In closing, I wish you all a very Happy New Year. Keep in mind, while the first is of the year is a logical starting point, anytime is the best time to work towards the best you. Set realistic, achievable goals, set yourself up for success, be consistent in working towards them, learn from your mistakes and celebrate your success. Now, let’s get moving toward those goals ladies!
Written by: Jacqueline Thomas