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December brings thoughts about many things for many people. Things like holiday celebrations, preparations for dealing with winter weather and what they are going to do differently in the coming year. Indeed, between sipping glasses of eggnog and baking holiday treats we start to think about the goals we intend to set in the next year. 

When it comes to setting goals, there are very few rules. Goals can be large or small, short term or long term. They can be specific or they can be vague. In fact, goal setting has only one rule: Your goals should be attainable. Even if you’re unsure exactly how you intend to attain the goals, they should be things you feel capable of reaching in the amount of time you set for yourself. Time, in fact, is the second element of goal-setting that should be considered. Bill Gates once said, “most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” Being careful not to overestimate what you can accomplish means that you will be much less likely to fail to meet your goals and grow discouraged as a result.

Once you’ve given some thought to what your attainable goals will be and how long it will take to reach them, the next step is to write them down. You can make a list in a journal, write goals down on post-it notes or use P4LF’s goal setting worksheet. One study found that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals by simply writing them down.

So what will you write down? One helpful strategy is to break goals down into categories. You can set goals related to health and fitness, such as trying to cook one more meal at home per week or to take one of P4LF’s virtual fitness classes at least once a month. You can set professional goals, such as working towards taking on at least one new project or task or applying to at least five new jobs in the first quarter of the year. Or maybe your goals are more personal, like trying to call your parents once a week or learning how to speak a new language by the end of the year. 

The more specific your goals are, the better. But does that mean that vague goals are useless? Not quite. The key is in how you choose to incorporate them into your life. Say one of your goals is to make your family feel more loved and appreciated. While it is ambiguous, if you keep it present in your daily life (by writing it on a post-it that you keep on your desk or making a reminder the lock screen on your phone, for example) you’ll be more inclined to act in ways that will help you work toward it.

Another way to hold yourself accountable: Go public with your goals! Share your intentions on social media and post updates on how you’re doing. And make sure you tag Power for Life Fitness—we will always be there to provide support!