Clarity is the key factor in finding success in reaching personal goals. When you know why a goal is important and are able to keep that picture in mind, it’s that much easier to stick to a plan and ultimately reach it.
Two weeks into the new year and those of you who set goals and resolutions are hopefully still going strong. Usually, at this point, you have the energy and willpower to push through obstacles and keep going. But, be warned, soon that energy and willpower will fail you. That’s when you need to understand why your goal was so important in the first place.
Vague goals such as “get healthier” don’t have clarity. You can’t look at the goal itself and know what you need to do each day to reach it. You don’t have a determined point to aim for to know when you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do. There’s no motivation there because there’s no vision.
A clear goal such as “I want to run a 5k in June” gives direction and a definite way to know whether you’ve reached it or not. Either you managed to work up to running a 5k by June or you didn’t. These types of goals are motivating as they apply pressure and a deadline.
As you create these clear goals, also keep in mind why they are important. Maybe it’s a life goal you want to achieve. Maybe it’s to get healthier. Maybe it’s a way to reconnect with yourself and something you used to love to do. Whatever it is, take time to write down all your reasons why, so when you are discouraged you have somewhere to turn.
If you’ve been meaning to set a goal or two for the new year, now’s a great time to start. In fact, you never need to wait to set a goal. If it’s important, you might as well start as soon as possible.
Your goal should be something you want to accomplish that you have control over. “Have a weed-free yard by June 1st” is something you can (mostly) control. “Get a promotion at work” is not.
You should be able to envision what ‘done’ looks like and thinking about it should excite you.
Put your goal into words and write it down somewhere that you’ll see it. If it’s a goal that will take more than a few weeks, break it down into smaller doable chunks that you can finish one at a time. If you want to run that 5k, your first goals are to find a program to follow, schedule your workout times, and show up that first week. See? Clarity. You know exactly what you need to do to be successful.
Years ago I was inspired by Oprah of all people to take up running. I made the goal of running a 5k. I figured it was something that would get me out of the house, get some fresh air, and help relieve the stress of being the stay-at-home mom to a baby and a toddler. That alone was really good motivation. I found a local 5k that was going to take place a few months in the future and committed to giving it a try. Using the couch to 5k program, I scheduled times where I could get a run in before the kiddos were awake and hubby was still home.
At first, it was really hard. I’d not done that kind of exercise before and didn’t have any stamina. But, after a few weeks, I found that I enjoyed the challenge and how I felt the rest of the day.
I did run that 5k and am super proud of myself. I kept running for about a year after that before a knee injury made it clear that it would be better to try other forms of exercise.