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Healthy Goal Setting for 2020

By Kianna Cook ’21, applied nutrition

With the turn of the new year, many of us take the opportunity for a fresh start and a new beginning. While the new year is often associated with self-improvement and positive goals, the resolutions we make tend to be unrealistic and unattainable, causing us to become discouraged. 

If you think about it, how many of your resolutions have you made that you achieved throughout the year?

As the new semester begins, focus less on making an abundance of unrealistic resolutions and focus more on making a few focused, attainable goals.

Tips for Achieving Your Goals

Focus on 1-3 Goals

It’s tempting to make a long list of everything you want to achieve or fix this year, but it can delay your progress and leave you overwhelmed. Making a list of all your goals can help you prioritize and see which few you want to focus on.

Create a Vision Board

Visualizing your goal can help you achieve it. Creating a vision board, which is a collage or schematic of images and/or words associated with your goal, can keep you conscious of your goal and why it is important to you. You can hang your vision board in your bedroom or create one as your laptop screen saver. Seeing your goal daily keeps your goal in the forefront of your mind.

Find a Goal Buddy

Seek out a friend, family member, or teammate that may have a similar goal as you. Having another person who is working on the same goal can keep you motivated and accountable. For example, if your goal is to go to the gym twice a week, schedule set times throughout the week to workout with your friend. While it would be easy to bail on going to the gym if you were going alone, canceling on your friend is much more difficult.

Construct a Plan

Organizing your thoughts about your goals can help you progress and stay focused. One way to do this is by creating a S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goal.

So, what is a S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Goal? It is a framework that helps you provide clarity on your desired outcome to ensure you set realistic and meaningful goals for yourself. Here’s what that looks like:

SMARTER Goal Setting

Step 1: Write down your goal in as few words as possible.
Step 2: Make your goal SPECIFIC.
  • Answer who/what/when/where/why:
Step 3: Make your goal MEASURABLE.
  • I will measure/ track my goal using (numbers, methods, tools):
  • I know I’ve reached my goal when:
Step 4: Make your goal ATTAINABLE.
  • What I need to achieve my goal: 
  • How I will find the time:
Step 5: Make your goal REALISTIC.
  • List why you want to achieve this goal:
Step 6: Make your goal TIMELY.
  • I will reach my goal by: (date) ___/___/_____
  • My halfway measurement date will be__________________: (date) ___/___/_____
Step 7: EVALUATE your goal.
  • List how you will evaluate your goal:
Step 8: REWARD yourself.
  • How will you reward yourself along the way?

Hopefully, these tips can help you find success in your goals for the new year and new semester. If you find yourself struggling to organize your goals, there are free resources available to you such as wellness coaching, Student Ombuds Services, and the Counseling Center. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need it.