Setting and Maintaining Goals



By Elizabeth Jones, 2020-2021 SCS Advising Leader:

Millions of people make New Year’s resolutions each year, ranging from improving health and fitness to finding a better job or even something as simple as keeping a daily journal. We’re already two months into 2021 and the motivation to keep working on your resolutions may be starting to falter. Maybe you feel as if you’ve already fallen behind and are starting to give up on your resolutions, or maybe you’ve already accomplished them and are now working on maintaining them. Either way, it’s never too late for self-betterment and to keep the momentum going.

The great thing about making resolutions is that they aren’t limited to the New Year. Even if you didn’t set any goals in January, there’s always a way to find inspiration. Setting goals helps us to understand our direction in life, focus on the important things, and think about what we want to accomplish.

When you first start thinking about what you should have as your goals, ask yourself a few questions: “What is my vision- how do I see myself in the future? What’s my drive? And most importantly, why do I want this?” Find a goal that suits your purpose. You don’t need to have a clear-cut plan (I certainly don’t), but it needs to be specific enough so that you know what you’re working towards and can’t do it half-heartedly.

It’s also important to factor in the timeline: are you making a goal that you hope to accomplish in a month or five years? I always try to have my short-term goals align with my plan in the long run, even if they’re not directly related. Setting small goals can help serve as steppingstones to where you want to be in the future.

Staying motivated can be difficult, especially given the current circumstances. Tracking your progress can help you see the advancements you’re making, especially if your resolution is more arduous than most. Make sure that your goals are realistic for their given timeframe. Push yourself to strive for success while still being flexible. Expect to encounter challenges along the way, and brainstorm how you are going to handle them. Staying organized helps you to be on top of your goals, so make sure to manage your time and plan out far enough in advance. Remember to be patient and don’t overwork yourself; change takes time. You can’t be your best when you’re overstressed.

I’ve found that only having a few goals helps me focus my attention on them and notice where I need to improve. Aim to only be working on 1-3 goals at a time, otherwise, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and wholly give up on your goals. Try to finish one of your goals before taking on a new challenge, and likewise have plans for what you want to accomplish after reaching your goal.

Once you have reached one of the goals you set, the work doesn’t stop. Setting your goals and keeping up with them once accomplished is paramount to success. Continue to track your progress and keep going; you may even surpass what you initially hoped for! Most importantly, resolutions are what you make of them. There’s a saying that describes my thoughts on goal setting pretty well: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”- Norman Vincent Peale.