It’s that time of year again, time to start goal setting and reevaluating where we are and where we want to be in the new year. We set goals throughout the year but with the start of a fresh new year, it is a perfect time to regain focus and reignite that inner fire to tackle our goals! Maybe it is the same goal we have been striving for all year or maybe its a new gaol. Regardless, goal setting is an essential part of the process to ensure success! Goal setting helps you gain focus and maintain focus throughout the year so you don’t get distracted or lose sight of what it was you were after! I am sure you have heard of “SMART” goals. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely). That is a great foundation to go by, when creating your goals, however there are some key components I like to add to “SMART” to ensure for even greater chances of success in the new year!

Consider my top Tips to help you map out your plan of attack and create strong, concrete goals to ensure you tackle and accomplish your goals in 2017!

SPECIFIC. Be as specific as you can. Rather than saying you want to do more cardio, specify, how many days, what days and how much each day will you do? The clearer and more specific your plan, the more likely you will be to stick to it because you know what expectations you have set for yourself.

MEASURABLE. In order to know when you have achieved your goal, you have to be able to measure it. If your goal is to decrease your LDL (bad cholesterol levels), that isn’t enough. You need to have a set measurable goal so when you have your cholesterol tested you know if you reached your goal and lowered your levels. If you want to lose weight, you should specify a certain pair of jeans you want to fit in or how much weight you want to lose. Once you get yourself in those special jeans or see that number on the scale, whallaaa, you reached your goal. Set guidelines for yourself so that you know when you have hit your target.

ATTAINABLE & REALISTIC. Set yourself up for success. Set goals that are realistic and attainable for you, your life and everything you have going on. If you set your goal to start your fitness routine the day you leave for vacation, now is that really realistic? NO! You want to set yourself up for success. Think throughly about your goals and life before you set them up and plan on going for them. As a mom with a new baby on the way, it wouldn’t be too realistic nor attainable for me to set a goal to get in the best shape by Spring! I need to be realistic and set a more realistic time frame such as Summer or Fall 2015. That would be more realistic for my life and where I am. You want to set big goals but be sure they are realistic and attainable for where you are in your life!

TIMELY. To stay motivated, your goal needs to have a deadline. When do you want to reach your goal by? Once you set up that timeframe, you also have mini goals to reach along the way. This will keep you motivated and continuing on your journey. If you have a goal weight to lose 30 pounds, doesn’t that seem like a lot!? If you break it down to 2 pounds a week or 5 pounds a month, see how that appears so much more reasonable!?

PATIENCE. It is only common, in our society, that we want to reach the goals we set out for ourselves today, yesterday! When we decide we want something, we want it NOW! This is completely unrealistic and setting yourself up for temporary results, if results at all. If you want permanent results, you have to be patient and trust in your journey. Consistency and small changes will add up to big results but they do take time! Changing habits and making smart choices will get you where you are going, little by little. It is your patience and trust in yourself and where you are going that will transform you forever. It is the habits you create along your journey that will become a way of life and your lifestyle! As hard as it is, patience is #1.

YOU. Your goal has to be for you! A goal that you create has to be a goal that is something you want and not what someone else wants for you. There will be challenging times along your journey and if your goal isn’t for you, you are less likely to push through those times. In order to stay motivated and determined you have to do things for you. You need to know what it is you want and why you want it. Once you understand the basis of your goals, you will be your own motivation and you WILL reach your goals. When you are doing things for you, your own inner fire will carry you along your journey.

CREATIVITY. When you go after your goals, be creative with your approach. There is not a one size fits all approach. If your goal is to do cardio x amount of times per week and for x minutes each time, don’t get stuck in the same cardio, day in and day out. How boring will that be? Have fun and be creative with how you do your cardio. There are many ways to do cardio and get your heart rate up. Have fun with it and be creative. In order for you to stick to your goal and make your efforts long lasting, they have to be enjoyable. We are talking about making lifelong changes. WIth this, this means being creative and finding ways that you can carry out your habits for the rest of your life. Step out of your box and use your creativity to have fun with your goals!

ASSOCIATION. You are who you hang around. It is so true that if you want to reach your goals, you have to surround yourself around people that are like minded, into the same things you are into and those that believe in you and your efforts. Surround yourself around those that motivate and inspire you. Those that are on the same page as you. If you have weigh loss goals, it is important to be around those that A. believe in you, B. help motivate you and C. those that are into living a healthy lifestyle. If you surround yourself around people that like to eat pizza, drink beer and watch movies all day long, is that going to be beneficial to you and your weight loss goals? Even if you have the upmost self-control, that is going to be a much more challenging journey than being with those that you can eat healthy and do active things with. Find people that are on the same page. If you surround yourself with people who live the way you want to live, it will make reaching your goals much easier and more enjoyable.

WRITE. You need to be able to put on paper what it is you want and see those things daily. Commit to yourself by writing down your goals. This simple inking can make your goals a reality rather than just thoughts and wishes.

I hope these tips help you as you create your path for 2017! Anything is possible if you go into it with a plan! Use these tips to help you map out your game plan and regain your focus for the new year! Every month or so, reevaluate these tips and check in with yourself to see how you are doing! Be sure you go down the list and see if you are on track and adjust as you need to, to ensure you maintain your focus and drive to keep digging deep and tackling your goals! If you don’t check in with yourself from time tot time, to see how you are doing, you can easily lose track and fall of the wagon! A personal monthly check in is highly recommended to ensure greater success in accomplishing your goals!

I have full confidence in you that if you follow these key tips, you will set yourself up for success and enjoy the journey to getting there!!