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Set -- And Achieve -- Goals

If happiness and health are what people want from life and setting goals has the benefit of increasing health and happiness, then why don’t more people set goals?

Some have low confidence, fearing failure, and others set goals but not in the right way, so they don’t follow through. Some researchers even acknowledge an 80 percent failure rate with New Years Resolutions. Why?

To be successful with goal setting, you need to have a good foundation before you take action and goals need to be written in the right way.  Here are some tips for reaching success with your goals.

  • Find internal motivation : Dig deep to find the heartfelt “why?” For example, what is it that you really want when you are healthier and more fit?  Connect what you want to your top five values. When you find the deep “why,” you could have the energy to make a new habit.
  • Set both behavioral and outcome goals : First, set the outcome goal/vision:  What do you dream to have at the end of the year? Example: “I will be exercising regularly four times per week, including cardio and strengthening. Then, make small, measurable, specific, behavioral steps to support your vision.  Example: “I will do 15 minutes on treadmill on Monday at 7 a.m.”
  • Brainstorm your top strengths: Do this with a friend or family member; they can see strengths that you don’t. Using your strengths can help you handle any challenges and it gives you confidence.
  • Create successful environments: If you want to eat more vegetables, put them on the counter or pre-cut them; you may be more likely to choose them for snack.  Who are the people that will support your success? Research shows if you have friends that eat healthy you will eat healthy. This is known as the “contagion effect.” Find the right people to support you and create the best physical environment to set yourself up for success.
  • Plan strategies in advance for challenging situations: If you know you veer toward chips when under stress, plan a relaxing alternative (a five-minute walk, stretching, meditation) that could produce the same calm.
  • Trial and correction: Setbacks happen. When they do, experiment with other strategies until you find one that works.
  • Commitment and accountability: Writing down your goals pre-commits you to a course of action, creating accountability to yourself.  When you share these goals with others, you add more accountability and increase the likelihood you will follow through.  People who made their New Years Resolutions public are ten times more likely to succeed then people who do not. Write your goals and place in an area where you will always see them.

New Canaan, Conn.-based Janeen Savini is a certified health and wellness coach. She is also a productivity consultant specializing in goal setting and helping women achieve control and perspective in their lives. Janeen can be heard on The "What's Up With Wendy Show" on Business Talk Radio.

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