As the new year begins, often so do our thoughts on self-improvement and life changes. Goals, New Year’s Resolutions, whatever you call them, the pressure is on now to get some set. The most popular ones in January that we have all heard and perhaps set ourselves are, “lose weight, start exercising, and stop smoking and/or drinking”. The gyms in my small town are brimming full of people aiming to lose 10 pounds or ‘get in shape’. Of course, those same gyms will be much more quiet starting probably around early to mid-February!
While not all of us believe in setting New Years Resolutions, all humans strive for happiness and fulfilment. Sometimes we write these hopes and dreams down, making them goals. Sometimes, we just wish for them, but don’t take concrete actions towards these desires.
Whether it is a wish and a hope or actually a goal we are determined to meet can make a difference in whether we see the results manifest in our lives.
How do we set a goal and not just wish things were different? Goals are “SMART”, usually written down, have concrete actions to go with them and are very clear. Just setting the typical goals of weight loss, for example, might not be clear enough. Maybe you need to set the goal of “I will keep my added sugars to 5 grams or less per meal or snack”. This goal, or maybe it’s an action step of a bigger goal, can start you on the path to weight loss, and not only that, will improve your health, your skin and your mental focus! It’s really critical to reach for goals that match our passions and values, we will have a much higher chance of success if that alignment is there.
So what is a SMART goal?
So back to our sugar goal, eating less than 5 grams of sugar per meal or snack, how does it measure up? It is quite specific, it is measurable (because processed food has this information on the nutrition label), it is attainable and appropriate (We CAN do that!), it is realistic and will give results — all we need is a time. How long should we stick with that goal? Ideally for life. But you could say, until I have lost 10 lbs ( a measurable end) or a specific time, ie for 6 months. I personally am going to leave my sugar goal without a date and have an ideal weight that I would like to reach.
Getting to my ideal weight by the end of the year, or the summer, can be my large over-riding goal, and the “sugar goal” will be part of my action steps, along with my daily yoga practice and walking for 30 minutes, at least 4 days a week.
(BTW, This picture is a lovely dessert I recently had while in Dubai. Goodbye sugar! I’ll miss you!)
I also like to set personal improvement goals, such as beginning a meditation practice or reading from an inspirational, business or self-improvement book every day. I like reading books that stimulate my quest for growth. I guess you could call me a self-improvement junkie. I have many such books, some have helped me greatly while others maybe not so much!
This New Years season, I have been reading a great book by Tim Ferris, Tribe of Mentors (click on the image to go to Amazon.ca and read more about it). It has helped me find some focus, some interesting product recommendations and some life lessons. I have found some great quotes, some great products and met some great new people within its pages.
I find this book fascinating and inspiring. For those of us who just want a quick read before falling asleep or only have a few minutes to sit and relax, the short chapters in this book can be ideal. Also, I have learned so much! The people Tim interviews are all answering the same questions and some answers are repeated over and over. These repeats certainly make me think that maybe this is something truly of value and I should sit up and pay attention.
I love the book recommendations given by these mentors in Tim’s book. Why? Because I love to read and am always on the lookout for book recommendations. Secondly, what books do successful and talented people, who have obviously made something work in their lives, give as a gift most often to other people? Some of these are great philosophical books, business books, and just great fiction or great life story books. To me, a bookworm at heart, this alone is worth the price!
Perhaps reading this book will stimulate some more life goals or action steps for me!
I hope that our goals we set for ourselves truly matter to us and that we can stick to our goals, revise them if necessary and just aim to live life to its fullest in 2018! May it be the best year yet!
All my best,