How many ways can you finish this sentence: “I really need to start _________”. Or, “I should really stop __________”. If you’re like most people, you can think of a hundred things you could do to improve yourself. You keep a mental list of relationship goals, diet plans, financial intentions, and your ideal exercise routine. And, oh, if we could only see your bookshelf, or the apps on your screen, or the articles you’ve bookmarked to save; some of you have more self-help information at your disposal than Dr. Phil.
And, like most people, we’re guessing that the great vast majority of your grand aspirations get lost in the shuffle of work, appointments, family, errands, emails, and meetings. And sometimes even the ones you’re pretty serious about tend to fade away and die out.
On this sticky topic of personal growth, we thought you ought to know that September is National Self-Improvement month. But before you take this as an excuse to run out and buy yet another book on how to clean out your closets, we thought you could use some REAL advice on REAL goal-setting to meet the goals you REALLY care about.
- Determine their worth. No goal is too small. If it’s worth your energy to worry about it and wish it were different, then it’s worthy of goal-setting. Making a goal to cut back on your salt intake is as justifiable a goal as losing 25 pounds by New Year’s Eve.
- Determine your ability. Does your goal line up with your ability to complete it? Take into consideration the time and resources you have available. If your goal is to exercise more regularly, and between all of your other life obligations the most you can commit to is 45 minutes, 3 times per week, then start there.
- Determine the details. Real action often gets lost in vagueness, so be concrete and detailed. Saying, “I will have all of my unwanted items out of my closets and drawers by November 1st” goes a lot further than, “I really need to get more organized.”
If your goal is exercise-related, be specific about where you’ll exercise, and for how long. Because accountability can make a big difference, we suggest scheduling sessions with your Fitness Together trainer for several weeks, or months, in advance.
- Determine your cheerleading squad. Have you ever noticed how, in a shockingly short amount of time, you can successfully talk yourself out of doing just about anything? You can be trying to cut back on sugar, and 5 minutes later find yourself in line for an ice cream cone, thanks to the flawed rationalization in your head. Luckily, our friends, family, and trainer are not so easily convinced. Share your goals with those around you, and ask them to call you out on your anti-goal actions.
We think it’s fitting that September is National Self-Improvement month. After all, if the kids are starting a new school year and nature is getting ready for a major change. You can have a fall-inspired transformation, too, as long as you follow the right steps to follow through with your goal.