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Personal goals for the New Year – Aim for progress over perfection

by Laura Palmer

Happy New Year! Did you make any resolutions, or have you got some personal goals in mind to make 2022 your best year yet? According to research by YouGov, around 25% of the UK came up with resolutions in 2019. Most of these New Year goals were focused on exercise (47%), diet (41%), saving money (31%), and even cutting down on social media scrolling (21%). All perfectly achievable, sensible stuff. However, when YouGov polled the same group of people a year later, only a quarter had managed to stick to those resolutions and achieve their goals.

Is setting personal goals a good idea?

You’ll find thousands of self-help books, YouTube motivational gurus, and websites telling you setting goals is the key to success. And there’s no denying goal setting makes sense. By coming up with personal goals, you’re creating a road map of where you want your life to go. Drawing up a list of things you’d like to achieve provides you with a focus and can help motivate you.

However, many people fail to meet their goals, which can dent self-confidence and lead to abandoning the whole plan – sigh. So, is there a foolproof way to set goals? Not exactly. But there are different approaches you can take that will help you build your confidence and move forwards.

Understanding the goal setting process:

Lots of us think of goal-setting as writing a goal down, setting a date for completion, and then ticking it off. Easy peasy. Except it really isn’t, because often personal goals aren’t short-term, quick-fix things. And by approaching them in this way, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

As an example, your goal might be to run a marathon. So you download a training plan, stick it to your fridge, and imagine yourself ticking off the runs each week. You can see yourself running through the finish line and almost feel that winner’s medal around your neck – go you!

But then three weeks in, you get the flu. On week 7 you get an injury. The week after, you need to work late. More and more of your training goals aren’t getting ticked off the list. This can make you feel low and doubtful you’re ever going to make that marathon happen…

But what if instead of getting depressed about what you haven’t done, you focus on how far you’ve come since you started training? You can run miles without breaking a sweat now, you’re stronger and fitter than you were before, running is part of your routine…

All these things are valuable gains. It may be that you don’t get to run the marathon when you’d planned to, but you will get there. And while you might not be able to tick that marathon off your list of personal goals just yet, you’ve made positive changes in your life that are worth celebrating – you’ve got this!

A healthy approach to personal goals setting:

The real secret to using personal goals to get what you want is how you approach them. Pinning all your hopes on perfection isn't good for your mindset, it’s much better to measure your progress instead. This approach is known as: progress over perfection.

No one can be perfect, because perfection doesn’t exist. By focusing on perfectly achieving every single goal you set, you’re actually holding yourself back. Many life coaches see the pursuit of perfectionism as a manifestation of procrastination and fear of being judged. If you keep obsessing over perfectly achieving every little thing on your goal list, you’re in trouble. Why? Because you’ll never reach the unrealistically high standards you’ve set for yourself. Then you’ll get bogged down in the detail, won’t be able to move forward, and will most likely give the whole thing up.

Instead of shooting for the moon, here are some techniques to try:

Start small:

You won’t sound like Beyonce after one singing lesson, or whip up a ‘Bake Off’ worthy cake on your first try. To get anywhere, you have to start where you are right now. Remember to start small and realistic. Then, rather than setting one big goal, try and break what you want to do into smaller, more achievable, bitesize tasks.

Work out how much free time you have to factor your personal goals into your life (be honest!). Then set yourself small tasks each week that will slowly bring you closer to your end goal. And don’t forget: progress over perfection!

If something goes wrong, don’t sweat it and remind yourself that you tried. You are moving forward and you WILL get there eventually. Small steps are so much better than setting impossible targets you can’t reach, and then end up giving up on.

Remember to check in and look at how you’ve improved week on week. AND, perhaps even more importantly, how far you’ve come from when you first started working towards your goal.

Ticking off these small steps each week will build your confidence and give you a real sense of achievement. These successes will help you to feel positive and empowered about your end goal, making it even more likely you’ll get the end result you want – yay!

Make your personal goals a priority:

Procrastination rather than progress is real! Ever sat down to get sh*t done, and then felt an irresistible urge to clean the washing machine, or sort out your sock drawer? We’ve all been there. But give in to that, and you won’t have as much energy left for your goals.

Each day you want to work towards your goal, take a few minutes and write down the ONE task you need to work on right now. Keep that piece of paper nearby and if you feel your attention wandering, your ‘must-do’ task will be there to remind you to stay on track.

Don’t just try to ignore your phone, email, and social media. Never gonna happen. Turn off the notifications, delete the apps and if you can, turn off your phone for a few hours. Getting rid of digital distractions will free up SO much time. Loads of extra minutes you never knew you had to move towards your goals. Try it!

Boost your focus with diet and supplements:

Whatever your end goal, eating well and taking the right supplements can improve your chance of success. Did you know 60% of your brain is made of fat, and half of that fat is comprised of omega-3 fatty acids? So it’s a no brainer (sorry!) that topping up your levels can help improve memory, learning, and cognitive function. You’ll find omega-3 in high quantities in salmon, trout, albacore tuna, herring, and sardines. Can’t stand fish? Nuts and avocados are also rich in omega-3. Or just pop on a patch, the Omega-3 Plus is here.

Eat lots of fruit and vegetables rich in antioxidants. Broccoli and blueberries (perhaps not together!) are ideal. Antioxidants help improve communication between brain cells, boosting concentration and clear thinking. An orange a day will give you almost all the vitamin C you need, which research has shown can boost memory, attention, and decision making.

Still can’t find your focus? The Focus Plus patch is packed with a powerful combination of brain-boosting vitamins, minerals, and nootropics, selected for their ability to promote improved memory, creativity, and motivation. Get yours here and you’ll be acing your way through your personal goals in no time. Yes!