• Chelsea McCallum APD

NEW YEAR, NEW GOALS – How to make 2022 your most successful year yet!

Every year when the New Year rolls around, so does the conversation around New Year resolutions. For some, this can be a great motivator whereas for others, this can be anxiety-inducing fast track into a restrictive cycle. It is perfectly fine to see the New Year as a chance to reset and get serious about the things we’ve said we wanted to change that will (hopefully) make us happier and healthier humans. However, the word resolution can have a negative energy and encourage an ‘all or nothing’ approach. How often have you set a New Year’s resolution only to toss it out a week later for reasons X, Y & Z? Instead, I like to swap resolutions out for goals, which for me I find motivating and am more likely to stick to.


Goal setting is incredibly common and is a frequently used practice in workplaces, sporting teams, companies, schools etc. to help keep their employees/team members/students accountable and motivate them to keep striving for their best. It’s also something we often do with our clients as dietitians for a variety of reasons. These reasons include:

  • To help gain a sense of why and what our client wants to gain from seeing us

  • To ensure that our treatment plans are individualised and appropriate in order to achieve the best possible results for that person.

The goals we set are specific, measurable and focus on education or skill that will not only empower and motivate the client but give them a sense of control and flexibility that will in turn help them achieve other goals.


I’m sure most people reading this are familiar with what a goal is and the general practice of goal setting. However, despite how many goals you have set, do you know how to set the best possible goals to get the best possible results? Here are a few easy to digest tips to help you set those goals as you head into the New Year!


1. Write them down

Get out a pen and paper and write out your goals. Writing things down can provide an added realism and accountability to them. Write those goals down on your prettiest paper and put them somewhere you can see them every day and let them serve as a constant reminder to what you’re working towards.


2. Get specific

The hallmark of a good, or better yet GREAT goal is making it super specific. A mistake often made when setting goals is making them too vague or broad. This can happen when they’re made in a rush without giving yourself that extra time to really think about it and get into the nitty-gritty of what it is you really want to achieve and how you are going to get there. In knowing that you have put a clear thought process into coming up with that goal, that will serve as motivation, keep you accountable and give you that little extra push to stick to it and get those results!


3. Keep it real

When setting goals, it’s important that as well as being specific, you are also realistic. There is a fine balance between having easy goals, (things you know you don’t have to work overly hard for to achieve) versus something that you know is still within reach but might just take a little time and hard work. This may seem a daunting, particularly as (most) people don’t like that feeling of failure. However, by again, allowing yourself that extra time to really think about those goals and having a sounding board – be it your partner, bestie, or family member, you will be able to come up with a great goal. Imagine how much sweeter it will be when you are able to say that you put in the hard yards to achieve what is you set out to do!


4. Set the date

All goals need a timeframe. Goals can be categorised into short-term, medium-term, and long-term. It can be incredibly motivating and effective to set more than one goal. You can aim for a short, medium and long-term goal to work towards. By having a combination of goals with differing timeframes not only does this play into those specific and realistic components, but it will add fuel to the fire and keep you hustling and to keep going chipping away at that ‘end game’. You don’t even need to limit yourself to 2022…dream big!


5. Don’t be afraid to adjust them

Once you write that goal down it doesn’t mean that it can’t change, goals can be fluid. Sometimes after some hard work and focus, you may find yourself well on track to achieve that goal possibly in a shorter time frame than you anticipated… Great! Challenge yourself by dreaming bigger and adding something onto it. On the flip side, you may not be progressing as quickly as you would’ve liked or like we all know, life sometimes just get in the way and that is ok too. Be kind to yourself, shift the goal posts and focus on what you can achieve in your current situation, whatever that may be.


Goals are incredibly useful to guide us in our professional, personal and health-related endeavours and help us feel empowered, motivated and in control. We hope these tips will come in handy and set yourself up for a great 2022, we will be cheering you on from the sidelines!



References:

1. Pearson, E. Goal setting as a health behavior change strategy in overweight and obese adults: A systematic literature review examining intervention components. Patient Education and Counselling. 2012; 87: 32-42. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2011.07.018


2. Ogbeiwi, O. General concepts of goals and goal-setting in healthcare: A narrative review. Journal of Management and Organization. 2021; 27: 324-341. Doi: 10.1017/jmo.2018.11


A note on the author

Hey, I'm Abby! I’m a fourth-year Dietetics student studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast. You can follow me at my Instagram @nutritionbyabby where I post simple, evidence-based dietary information, tips and tricks.

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