As we start 2022, it’s important to think about our goals. Many of us create lofty goals around diet or exercise, finances, or improving our interpersonal relationships. Establishing and following goals is a good way towards promoting accountability, and also helps towards clarifying our values.
Start with identifying your values by identifying what you are passionate about…
- What gets you out of bed?
- What do you tell your friends / family / partner that you enjoy doing?
- What gets you started on one assignment/project verses others?
- What are you early or on time for, while procrastinating or delaying?
- What could you see spending much more of your day / week / month / year doing?
Once you’ve identified your top values, identify a goal that aligns with it. For example, if a top value is physical health and wellness, an associated goal might be, “I’ll walk at least 3x per week.”
Next, accountability is key. Why do so many people have difficulty with behavior change? Research shows that on average, it takes at least 7 times or 30 days to change a behavior. How will you stay accountable to implement your behavior change?
- Track on a calendar
- Add phone reminders
- Ask a friend / loved one to remind you
- Write it down and check your list each day
Finally, provide yourself a reward for completing your goal. Start with frequent rewards if the goal is complex, or you’re lacking motivation. Make sure that the reward matches your effort. For example, don’t plan an exotic vacation every time that you go for a 30 minute power walk! Once the behavior is more routine, prolong the effort needed to reward yourself, and switch up the reward.
Happy New Year!