If you find the ‘new year, new me’ craze difficult to navigate, you feel the pressure to make new year's resolutions but find sticking to them near impossible - no matter how low-key the goal is - read on, because we’ve got some gossip for you about the seasonal changes and how this can make goal setting and meeting almost breezy!
Those first months of the year are hard, we’re financially recovering from festivities, back to work, still feeling Jack Frost’s bite. And did you know, our thinking abilities aren’t at their best?! No wonder winter feels so hard! But as the seasons change, we feel a boost of energy, motivation and even joy. Thanks to those daylight hours becoming longer, warmer, and more glorious to soak up! And so, why not use that reboost to set your goals for the year?
Seasonal goal setting can be a powerful tool to make improvements in any area of your life - exercise, eating, professional development, relationships, wellbeing. The process of goal setting can adapt with the seasons to fit with how we are feeling, which can be helpful for setting realistic and attainable goals.
Now, if you read our piece on seasonal changes in the brain you’ll have the extra low-down on how our brain functioning can make those winter goals more difficult to think of, nevermind achieve! But as our brain’s are coming out of hibernation, this time of year might be the best time for you to set goals, especially if you’ve been left feeling deflated and defeated by the ‘new you’ you set out for at New Year.
When it comes to goal setting we do need to consider goals that we actually have control over to ensure a good chance of succeeding - so aiming to control the weather or never feel down again ain’t gonna happen (sorry).
8 tips for effective goal setting:
Include a positive statement
Work towards what you want, not for what you want to leave behind, or feel you should do. It helps us stay motivated when we’re working towards something positive - and you’ll still likely leave behind what you didn’t want anyway!
With dates, times, amounts so you can measure the outcome and take satisfaction from fully accomplishing it. But remember, we can always adapt timingss, these are your goals on your schedule.
Prioritise your goals
If you have a few lined up, prioritising which are most important or urgent can prevent us feeling overwhelmed and help us keep our focus. Making a ‘master’ list of goals might help you to identify the ones you want to prioritise.
Make a note of them in the present tense
This is based on the notion that the mind will choose to complete something with least resistance. Basically, the present tense keeps us grounded and clear-sighted, instead of worrying about the future or ruminating on the past - so write them down in the present tense.
Keep it small
Big goals can seem daunting, compared to small steps that feel more easily achievable. You may feel like there’s little progress when things are small but keeping a note and watching them add up helps keep us on track.
Don’t listen to S Club 7 right now. Reach, but not all the way to the stars. We don’t want to set ourselves up for failure before we’ve even started.
Think them through
Take some time to consider how you might achieve your goals, what steps can you take, what resources might you need, might you need anyone’s help? Jot your ideas down and formulate a plan to meet these - it might change as you go along, but we can be flexible here, that’s ok.
Give yourself some credit
When you do achieve your goals, revel in the satisfaction, blow your own trumpet a little, reward yourself. Take time to notice what this means for you now, and recognise the progress you’ve made towards other goals. Always celebrate the small wins even if it feels daft.
Final thoughts: finding the motivation to pursue, stick to and endure the process of setting and getting goals won’t always come easy to us, even with the benefits of spring and summer upon us. It’s important to still make time to rest and recover - even if your goals aren’t becoming a top board diver by July. Allocate time to rest and switch off regularly (little n often) in order to maintain your motivation towards goals!