We’re already almost two full weeks into 2023… can you believe it??
The Christmas holiday flew by and New Year’s festivities and celebrations went by even quicker.
That said, the new year usually entails a time of reflection for most people on the previous year as well as provides an opportunity to set new goals, intentions, or even themes heading into the new one.
For some, this even looks like setting new year’s resolutions. Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for using the hype and excitement behind new year’s resolutions to get the ball rolling on certain goals and/or habits. However, the “hype” usually wears off a few weeks into the new year and/or the resolutions people tend to set aren't specific enough or adaptable enough to allow some room for versatility because let’s face it…life happens.
Maybe your new year’s resolution is to eat better.
But what does that ACTUALLY mean to you?
Does it mean eating “clean” 24/7?
Does it mean learning how to build a better relationship with food?
Does it mean learning how to eat enough food to support your needs?
Does it mean eating to fuel your performance in the gym?
You can see how not having specific goals and just having vague resolutions can mean many different things thus making it harder for you to execute your goals or even know if you achieved those goals in the first place by the time December 31st rolls around.
We encourage our clients to set new year’s goals or intentions if you will, that are very specific.
In our professional experience and how we approach goal setting with our own clients here at Clar-e-ty is, the more specific and realistic you can be, the better off you’ll be on the execution front when it comes to achieving both your goals long and short-term.
So we thought it was only fitting that our first blog post of the new year be tips for how you may set, redirect, and execute your 2023 goals.
If you’re someone who feels like you struggle with the “follow through” portion of setting goals, keep reading! We’re going to walk through four areas related to goal setting and give you specific tips within each area to hopefully help you achieve or work towards your goals more effectively in 2023.
So let’s get into it!
Setting realistic goals
Setting goals is super exciting.
We love it when our clients “dream big” and think about both long and short-term goals for what they want to achieve within a few weeks, months, or even within the span of a year.
We do support big goals, but also want to emphasize the importance of setting realistic goals. Meaning, goals that the rest of your lifestyle supports.
For example, think about the goal of losing 50 lbs in a year or snatching 300 lbs before the end of the year. Both, although, completely viable in some cases, may not be realistic for everyone.
For someone trying to lose 50 lbs in one year, sure it’s doable, BUT we need to ask if this person is willing to be in an aggressive calorie deficit for a decent portion of the year, and does their environment support this goal?
Do they have nutrition and lifestyle habits in place to set them up for success in working toward this goal?
Do they have a support system in place (family, friends, significant other, coach, etc.) to push them toward this goal?
Does this person have 50 lbs to lose?
For someone trying to snatch 300lbs before the end of the year, again, sure it’s *possible*, but we need to ask if this person has a knowledgeable coach programming for them to help them work towards their goal of improving their snatch?
Is this coach having a conversation with them about realistic expectations for improving their snatch over the course of the year?
Does their lifestyle support the training required to achieve their goal (are they eating enough, sleeping enough, managing stress, dedicating enough time to training, etc.)?
If the answers to the questions above are no, then it may be more advantageous for this person to set a more realistic goal. Maybe the person wanting to lose 50lbs in a year still has a goal of losing 50lbs, BUT their expectations for the timeline at which they want to achieve this goal are adjusted and they set more manageable expectations for themselves based on their mental and physical capacity as well as the resources provided to them.
The same goes for the person wanting to snatch 300 lbs. Maybe they talk with their coach (or hire a coach) about their goals and devise a plan for how they will go about improving their snatch this year via means of technique work, building strength, or whatever will help push them towards a realistic expectation of their goal and when they may achieve it.
Get specific with the HOW
Having specific goals is important, yes, but so is being specific with the HOW behind the actions you’re going to take to achieve those goals. In being specific with the HOW behind the WHAT, you’ll have measurable and actionable steps you can take to work towards your goals.
It’s one thing to set a goal and another to know how you plan to follow through on achieving that goal. Not being specific with your goals and how you’re going to get there can lead to frustration and lack of execution if you’re not laying out that roadmap for habits or actions you can work at daily that can push you towards those Northstar goals.
For instance, you may set the goal of getting more sleep this year. Well, what does this actually look like? HOW are you going to prioritize sleep this year?
Just setting the goal of getting more sleep can mean a lot of different things, so breaking this down further into actionable steps you can take daily towards the goal of getting more sleep is generally what we’re looking for to help on the execution front.
A more specific way to go about setting the goal of getting more sleep could look like setting an alarm 30 minutes prior to you getting into bed to start your wind-down routine or being specific with the time that you want to turn the lights out and go to bed. This may even look like starting a wind-down routine that doesn’t involve a phone or a way you can unwind for the day to promote more optimal sleep quality.
From there, you’ll be able to determine and assess if you’re actively pursuing this goal by following through on getting up and starting your wind-down routine once your alarm goes off versus just having the arbitrary goal of getting more sleep without a clear direction to go.
In having the more specific HOW, you’ll also be able to figure out what areas seem to be more challenging for you to follow through on and you’ll be more equipped to make adjustments based on what’s working and what’s not.
Identify and assess how you may work through barriers or challenging circumstances or situations if/when they arise.
We all know that life happens from time to time.
There may be a family emergency.
You may be running late and skip a meal.
You may have unexpected traveling to do.
Your significant other may make you a meal that you haven’t planned out for the day accordingly.
You may have to go through the drive-through one evening with the kids after practice.
And knowing that some situations are pretty much unavoidable, just being able to identify and assess what potential barriers could stand in the way of you achieving your goals, or certain circumstances that may make it harder for you to achieve those goals can mitigate the feelings of panic or how to navigate the unknown.
In identifying those potential barriers and/or challenging circumstances, you’ll be able to come up with a course of action for what you may do when faced with those barriers, circumstances, or situations which can be helpful in keeping your goals the priority even when "life happens."
For example, if you’re trying to build better, nutrition habits, but your partner/significant other does most of the cooking in your house, being able to communicate openly with them some of the changes you’re making ahead of time so that you both can sit down and come up with meals together or additions you can make to your specific meals to take action in working towards your goals could be helpful to think about navigating.
Or if you’re someone who travels frequently for work and has specific body composition goals, being able to identify traveling as a potential barrier given the amount of eating out and stress this may cause so being able to plan ahead of time to bring snacks productive in working towards your protein goals, looking up restaurants with options that are macro-friendly, or just being conscious of the decisions you’re making when going out to eat could be how you navigate this potential barrier. This way, you’re not just going into the travel week/weekend just “winging it.”
Check-in with yourself and your goals periodically
This is a huge takeaway when it comes to setting and executing goals!
January 1st is a time when many people set goals, however, by the time December 31st rolls around most people aren’t still actively pursuing the goals that they set for themselves back at the beginning of the year.
Having periodic check-ins with yourself and assessing, if you are, in fact, making progress in working towards your goals is a great way to keep those goals at the forefront of your mind throughout the year, but also gives you the opportunity to make changes if needed or adjust those goals altogether.
The frequency at which you check in with yourself may be specific to you, but generally, a bi-monthly check-in or a check-in every quarter is a great place to start for more long-term goals. Depending on your short-term goals, you may even check in with yourself or, even better, a coach weekly!
In those periodic ch