There’s something especially enchanting about the beginning of a new year. Starting with a clean slate, you tend to immediately start setting new goals for yourself. But once springtime hits and you realize you haven’t accomplished any of your goals, you end up feeling disheartened rather than inspired. Want to know how to set goals and keep them? Keep reading to learn how to make realistic, achievable goals for 2020!

1) Start Small

Biting off more than you can chew is a real and easy problem to run into when setting goals. Setting too many goals for yourself at once or taking off lofty tasks are likely to discourage you. Instead, start your year off by setting small, easily achievable goals. While it may seem like you’re not making substantial progress, in reality, achieving multiple small goals is a great way to build your goal-setting skills. For many people, seeing a checklist full of completed tasks makes them feel accomplished and inspired to accomplish even more. Have a task that you know you have to do this week? Set a goal to have it done within a certain time frame.

2) Be Specific

Setting vague goals can be more harmful than helpful. Writing goals like ‘get rich’ or ‘improve your time management’ may seem inspirational, but without any detail, it’s more wishful thinking than an actual goal. Be specific in what you want – think about each goal’s details as if you were talking to a genie about your three wishes. Instead of saying you want to improve your time management, for example, set a goal like ‘create a morning and night routine and stick to it for 7 consecutive days. Specific goals are easier to follow, and therefore easier to execute.

3) Make it Measurable

Similarly to making your goals more detailed, quantifying your goals can make them easier to achieve as well as help you maintain focus and commitment. Instead of using words like ‘more’, ‘soon’ or ‘some’, use measures to track your goals. A goal of losing more weight can become losing 5 more pounds by next month. Giving yourself a quantity of weight as well as a deadline helps you establish the necessary steps, and track where you are in regards to your goal as you go. While some people are highly motivated by deadlines, others become anxious around them and even fear disappointment. Use time frames to your advantage based on your personality – if you enjoy working with a tight deadline, give yourself 10% less time than you think you’ll need. If deadlines put you in a panic, add 20% more time than you think you will need, and set a daily reminder about your goal (this helps with procrastination too).

4) Keep it Realistic

Optimism is a beautiful and wonderful trait to have. Overoptimism, however, quickly leads to disaster and disappointment when it comes to setting goals. Being overly optimistic can lead to unrealistic goals, which is basically setting yourself up for failure. How can you create a more realistic goal? First, think about your strengths and limitations. If you want to learn how to play the violin in one year, but won’t be able to afford the instrument for another 6 months, your goal becomes more unrealistic. Consider all parties involved. You can set a goal to get a raise, but keep in mind you can’t control your boss, for example. It’s also important to consider the level of difficulty or obstacles you may face in reaching your goal. It’s okay to revise or even reconsider a goal because of its difficulty; It doesn’t make you a quitter, but a more realistic goal setter.

5) Make a Plan

Now that you know the best methods for setting goals, it’s time to make a plan and set it into action. Think about what steps you’ll need to take for each goal, starting with small and simple goals before setting more sizeable ones. This will help you stay inspired and keep your mental health in tip-top shape for the new year. Our team at Urgent Care of Mercer County will be glad to help you with your health goals for 2020: we offer wellness checks and physicals whenever you need us. Now you’re ready to take on 2020 and become your best self!