Do’s and don’ts for goal setting in 2022

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This time last year I had reinvented myself around 16 times. The realisation that a new month or a new week was ahead would send me into a spiral of goal setting and organising and cleaning for a new season of levelling up.

But guess what? That momentum would almost always die a slow death after 4 business days.

’Tis the season where everyone complains about how hard the past year was, and how 2022 is going to be different: 2022 will be the year of growth, transformation, financial stability, healthy eating, moving out of one’s comfort zone, being happy, finding love and so on…

But how many times must we do this end of year dance before we realise that ‘levelling up’ has nothing to do with a new year.

After reading dozens of self-help books, and perpetually failing to achieve my New Year’s/New Month resolutions, I finally figured out a system that has helped me be consistent in working towards the best version of myself.

Here is my list of Do’s and Don’ts as we move into 2022.

1. Do: Think about your goals and visualise.

When I think of how many times I have given up on a goal, I realise that it is mainly because I didn’t want it bad enough to be disciplined.

I dare you to spend some time alone each day, just thinking about who you want to become, and the type of goals that will help you. Visualise yourself succeeding, but also visualise yourself doing the hard work and the effort. Visualise yourself struggling to keep up during that cardio class and visualise yourself pushing through that struggle.

All it takes is just two simple questions: What do I want? How do I get there?

Summary: Envision yourself doing the good, the bad, and the scary. And coming out on top!

2. Don’t: Wait until a new week, or a new year – it’s a trap.

On Sunday 6th November, I decided to reinvent myself.

I wrote down the usual goals: eat healthier, exercise, sleep 8 hours, and so on. Everything was going smooth until I had the most frustrating rainy Thursday of my entire existence, and decided to get 20 McNuggets, large fries and a McFlurry to cheer myself up.

Next thing I knew, I was back to sleeping at 2 am, waking up late and running out of my accommodation to barely make it on time to tutorials. I found myself waiting for the next Sunday to come so that I can start again.

But life is such that if you wait for the right time, time in itself will pass without you achieving anything.

Summary: If you wait for the right time, you will keep waiting.

3. Do: Plan as you go.

I started the year off wanting to exercise more, but I was too lazy to do the proper research. When I did find the motivation to do so, I spent countless hours aimlessly reading articles and watching YouTube videos in bed. I never really put the research into actual practice.

If you’re anything like me, stop watching YouTube videos on how someone lost weight in 3 weeks, and just do the exercise.

In general, once you have visualised what you want for yourself, just start. You will then find tips that work for you as you don’t want your work to go to waste.

Summary: Start and the plan will follow.

4. Do: Set a short trial period for your goals.

Sometimes, what we want for ourselves may not be what we need or what we can manage at that particular time.

Last year, my brother’s New Year’s resolution was to drink more milk. A month later, he was deemed lactose intolerant.

When I was doing my A-level exams, I set a daily goal to get up at 5 am every weekday to study, and I managed to do so with ease. This last semester at Uni, I slept through all my 5 am alarms, and the earliest I was able to wake up was 6:30. My daily schedule is completely different, and so is my body.

Give yourself grace and try out your goals for a limited time. Sometimes you may need to set smaller target in order to achieve the bigger goal. Other times, things can fail to align regardless of how much effort you put in, and so it becomes time to change the goal.

Summary: Use a free trial period before fully subscribing to your goals.

5. Don’t: Go to sleep without doing something small.

Even doing the bare minimum each day, is better than doing nothing.

Bestie, don’t let future you down.