We’re usually thinking about making our New Year’s resolutions at this time of year, but there’s always one step that people forget! To move forward with new, realistic goals, we need to evaluate and reflect on what we’ve actually achieved and accomplished.
So, we wanted to share our framework for self-reflection and some key questions you can ask yourself to figure out realistic goals in the future.
To What Extent Did I Meet My Goals?
Notice that we don’t ask the question ‘did I meet my goals?’ There’s a great reason for that! Framing the question this way allows you to reflect on your progress. Including progress not only motivates you but is more accurate when you think about what you’ve actually achieved. And you should recognize your wins – both big and small!
For example, let’s say you set a weight loss goal of 20lbs. If you’ve “only” lost 10lbs but you overhauled your diet, workout regularly and feel much better mentally, does this mean you’ve failed to reach your goal? No! If anything, it means you’ve exceeded it. Your goal may have adapted, and there are many reasons the scales might not reflect the number you want to see. But seeing the progress you have made, as well as how you feel, can actually be a bigger achievement!
Are My Goals Realistic For Long-Term Change?
The biggest mistake people make with setting new goals is to make huge, life-altering changes that can be all-consuming but not long lasting. Pushing yourself and giving complete life commitment is great for achieving goals short-term. But this often results in a rebound or yo-yo effect. We’re not just talking about weight or body-related goals here either, this can happen with any goal. Burnout is real!
Consider how you feel about your goal now. Was your goal all-consuming, or could you fit it in around your life once you’d figured everything out? Do you feel able to keep up the changes you’ve made to achieve your goal, or are you worried about slipping back into old habits? Are you able to maintain this goal now while you look towards something new?
If you aren’t sure about the long-term viability of the changes you’ve made or the goal you’ve set, it’s really easy to fix. And it doesn’t mean you can’t achieve it! You simply need to adapt and work up to what you want in smaller chunks. Remember, long-term changes are a marathon, not a sprint!
Probably the biggest question of all that stumps people when they achieve their goals is what happens now? Well, that’s the beauty of life, you can keep going and achieve something new. Set a new goal and reach for something else!
With that in mind, we recommend that you consider the bigger picture when setting new goals. Ask yourself what you’re going to do once you achieve your goal, and where you picture yourself next. That way you’ll know exactly the journey you’re on and can motivate yourself every step of the way with the plan you see for yourself (which you can evaluate and adapt regularly too!). Plus, you won’t fall into the trap of staying still or freezing once you reach your goals.
Ultimately, sometimes we have to look at what we’ve achieved in order to truly appreciate ourselves and move forward. So, ask yourself these questions and you may just decide where you’re headed next!
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