It’s January 22nd, 2017, and according to statistics, approximately 8% of you that brought in the New Year with empowering declarations that 2017 was in fact ‘your year’, have actually stuck to your resolutions. The rest of us that stood there by you confetti laden and champagne soaked have not.

So why bother?

Goals setting is imperative if you truly want to live out your dreams and aspirations. It gives you direction, provides a challenge, it energizes you and can turn the seemingly impossible into the possible. It teaches you to think outside the box.

So I’ll start by saying do not abandon your goals. You’ve had a setback. It’s not the end of the world. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and let’s take a look at how we can adjust your mindset.

Set realistic goals. Make sure they are SuPeR SMART, (self-controllable, public, rewards, specific, measurable, adjustable, realistic, and time-based).

Self-Controllable: The goals you set must be within your control, something that you can take action on. It can be quite dispiriting if you don’t achieve the desired income due to something beyond your control. Goals based on personal performance allows for direct manipulation over achievement and draws personal satisfaction from them.

Public: Accountability keeps us honest. If you make your goals visible for others to see it is a constant reminder of what you are trying to achieve. Don’t shame those who post their progress on social media. It takes courage to make yourself vulnerable to the masses. I myself have a great deal of respect for such individuals.

Rewards: Rewarding both your short and long term accomplishments keeps you motivated. Make sure your reward does not contradict your accomplishment. If you reach a weight loss goal, don’t reward yourself with food. Buy that pair of jeans you know you more than deserve.

Specific: Your goals should be well defined. It they are too ambiguous it’s difficult to track your progress. If your goal is to increase your physical activity, refine it by committing to cycling for 30 minutes twice a week for example.

Measurable: You need to make your goals quantifiable according to your desired outcome. ’30 minutes twice a week’ can be measured and recorded in order to determine if your physical activity goal has been met.

Adjustable: To set yourself up for success, short and long term goals need to be adjustable. Who doesn’t have a multitude of stressors to contend with on a daily basis? Don’t let lack of flexibility be the reason you abandon your commitment to change.

Realistic: Evaluate all facets of your life honestly to set realistic goals. If you have a family of five, a mortgage, and no savings, perhaps climbing Mt. Everest this year is beyond your reach. I’m not advocating that you abandon your dreams. Set short term goals in place and maybe that becomes part of your 5 or 10 year plan. It is also worthwhile to mention that in setting these goals make sure they are realistic in the sense that they bring balance to your life. If all your goals are career focused you will sacrifice other areas that bring you happiness and well being.

Time Based: Again, your goals should be quantifiable. A definitive end point provides a challenge and fuels motivation. Be mindful of underestimating completion time. If you don’t set realistic timelines you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Life gets busy and we have to expect that there will be setbacks and delays when planning your goals.

Behavior change is a lifelong journey. It is a dynamic process that will constantly challenge you and expose your personal potential in all dimensions. Follow these guidelines, be kind to yourself and above all…don’t forget to breathe! You’ve got this! The most solid piece of advice I can give you is keep your head up and press on. Life is full of challenges and it all depends on how you rise up to face them.

Roberta J Gizen, BHK, CPT, PN1