SMART Goal Setting for New Years

Last night was the first of my two New Year’s segments on CHCH TV (the second will happen at 7:50am on January 5th).

Check out the first segment where I was part of a discussion regarding the challenges that comes with setting resolutions and how to create great resolutions you’ll want to keep. Watch it here.


5 Ways to Forget Resolutions and Live the Life You’ve Imagined

You’ve decided it’s time to break that old habit and cultivate a new one for the New Year. The idea of a better version of yourself has you inspired to act, and ready to do it now! What do you no longer accept of yourself? What do you demand of yourself to be better? Whether it’s going to bed earlier, meditating, getting a sweat on every day, or giving your diet an overhaul, these 5 tricks will have you chasing down your goals and living the life you’ve imagined.


1. Start Small.
Take a close look at what it is you want to achieve and all the potential steps to get there. What is the first and simplest of those steps? Now that is where you will start! So if your goal is to go for a run every day. The simplest step will be to put on your running shoes and head out that door. And once your shoes are on and you’re outside, well you might as well run! Break you habit into the simplest version of itself and start there.

2. Plan Ahead.
Examine your schedule and make time for you. Sure, once your shoes are on, going for the run becomes a straightforward task, but have you carved out the time for this to happen? Examine your day with a fine toothed comb, and just like you wouldn’t cancel on that meeting with your boss, or brunch with the girls, time to form your habit must be non negotiable too!

3. Set a Reminder.
This behaviour is new, which means it might not always be on the top of your mind. So consider leaving yourself some loving and gentle reminders throughout the day to help you make the right decisions. If your goal is to drink more water, then have a reusable water bottle ready to be filled at your desk. Want to sit less at work? Try setting a phone alarm to remind you to get up and move. What to think happier thoughts? Why not change you phone background to someone you love, family or friend, whoever brings a smile to your face and heart. Setting up a visual reminder takes the thinking out of your goal making it much easier to remember.

4. Be Accountable.
Let everyone you know aware about this awesome new habit you are forming. You’ll be working hard to make these changes; the moral support will help you to keep at it and push through. Share your habit on social media, give daily updates which people will expect, and let everyone know that you’ve got this!

5. Reward Yourself!
It’s important to celebrate your successes no matter the size. Every time you remember your habit consider a little verbal “way to go!” After one week of success, how about an extra long bubble bath. One month, maybe a picnic in the park. Rewards don’t need to cost money, but they do need to make you feel good. Give yourself some praise and enjoy every success.

How About You?
What good habits have you developed recently? What helped you form them? What motivated you throughout the process? Are there any habits you would still like to develop? Share your thoughts in the comments!

How to Create a Vision Board

 What is a Vision Board?

A vision board is typically a poster board, bulletin board, or art canvas on which you paste or collage images that you’ve cut from various magazines. These images represent who you want to become, what you want to do, or where you want to be in five to ten years. The idea is that when you surround yourself with images and words of who you want to become your smaller month to month or year to year goals can be drawn from this board, and your life will change to match those images and those desires.

How to Create Your Vision Board

I’ve read several ways to create a vision board. A simple internet search will bring these to light (open life vision, specific life vision, or themed vision board). My experience is with creating an open vision board for a single year, and that is what I’ll share below.

Five Steps to Creating Your Board

Step 1: Sit in a quite space for 5 minutes and reflect on your health, your career, and your personal life in the next five to ten year. What do you see?

Step 2: Collect a variety of magazines which help you to connect to the vision you saw. Go through the magazines and cut/tear pictures that connect to you. Don’t think too much about them. If you are drawn to an image or word, pull it out. Don’t glue yet, just create a big pile of magazine pull outs.

Step 3: Go through your image/word pile and begin to lay them on your board. Eliminate any words or images that n longer feel right, really listen to your intuition here. As you lay the pictures on the board, you’ll begin to get a sense how the board should be laid out. For example, you might assign a theme to each corner of the board (health, career, and personal life). Or you may just leave the images randomly as they fall. There is no wrong answer here, use your intuition and be creative.

Step 4: Glue everything onto the board, consider a glue stick vs. White glue which is wet and will wrinkle your images. Add writing if you want. Add paint if you want, again, there is no wrong answer.

Step 5: Hang your vision board in a place where you will see it often.

Keep in mind that your vision board may change as you’re working on it. You may decide to create a career board but once you’re looking through magazines and after your reflection time, you might change your mind to create a more general vision board for the New Year.

photo(6)My 2012 Vision Board Decoded

The image here is of my 2012 board. When I sat to reflect, I really didn’t have any strong ideas come forward. I had a very successful 2011 where I had accomplished all of my goals, and I felt that I was in a transitional place, where I was maintaining many of my previous year’s successes. A few things I knew I wanted to maintain. I wanted to continue to travel (this is represented by the map in the background). I knew I wanted to continue to live a healthy, active lifestyle, this is reflected throughout many images and words (Happy Life, Balance, fun, shared). I wanted to continue to run and race. I wanted to start teaching indoor cycling again (demonstrated by the image of a cyclist). I also wanted to continue to my Master’s as well as my teaching at Brock University (life in education, teaching). So some of my specific goals were reflected, as well as more general well-being related ones. Remember you don’t have to know exactly what you want when you start. Follow your intuition and don’t limit yourself.

Have you created a vision board? I welcome anyone who has created a vision board to write your own experience in the comments…