Last month we discussed the fact that New Year’s, or even winter time, may not be the right time for you to set goals (see Have Your Goals Already Derailed Off Track?) Yes, it still may really be right for you, especially if you love the quiet of winter, but for most people winter time is not an energetic time to set goals.
If you do tend to set goals in January, why are they not working?
Most goals are too super-sized. That’s what a goal is – something big to strive for. Therefore it needs to be broken down into pieces you can truly handle – chunks. You don’t eat a whole cake at once. You take a chunk of it – one slice at a time.
Do you remember the Chunky candy bar? It is small – 1.4 oz I did a google search and was surprised to see that it is currently sold at Walmart, at least online. I don’t know if it is in the store. They even have a King size version. To me that is just a total oxymoron–a King size bar of a Chunky candy!
Anyhow, each of your goals can usually be broken down into smaller parts or chunks. If you look at your goal as a series of steps forward, they are easier to achieve. When my daughters started training for their first marathons, they had to run a block first, then a mile, then a couple of miles, 5 miles, 10 miles, etc. They didn’t suddenly run a marathon, which is 26 miles. In the same respect you have to chunk down your goals into bite-sized (whatever size works for you) steps until you can achieve your big goal.
Chunks don’t have to relate to each other and they don’t have to always increase, but they often do. For example, a typical New Year’s goal is “to lose weight.” If you want to lose 30 lbs. you won’t lose it in one day and maybe not in one year. You want to chunk it into sub-goals and then chunk the sub-goals into smaller action items which are also chunks. Two major chunks of losing weight, sub-goals, are diet and exercise.
If your first sub-goal is to adjust your diet, you might begin by cutting out eating cakes. Then you might cut out ice cream. Next you might cut out cookies. Those are chunks- pieces of a larger item – in this case diet. And diet is a piece of losing weight.
Another sub-goal might be to exercise: first 5 minutes a day, then 10 minutes, then 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, and then an hour a day. Those are all chunks of the sub-goal exercise, which in itself is a chunk to the big goal of losing weight.
Diet and exercise may or may not be done together. While you might focus on one and not the other, both diet and exercise are sub-goals of losing weight, and each of them could be broken down into smaller chunks to help you achieve the big goal of losing weight.
So the next time you have a goal, chunk it!
What’s your goal that you’re working on and what chunks did you create?
PS I have foot surgery on Tuesday, so I may take a little longer to respond to comments this week.
If you have already fallen off track, don’t be surprised. It may be because it’s not the right time of year for you. In fact I don’t really recommend you set goals at this time of year. Why?
The main reason is because most goals are set at a New Year’s Eve party. So they aren’t really thought out. Instead they are a quick answer to someone’s question – “What’s Your New Year’s Goal?” Answers like “Lose Weight” or “Make more money” or “Stop smoking” are typical. Most of the time it’s not even a new goal; it’s a repeat of last year’s goal.
No Thinking is Necessary.
The second reason to not set goals in January is the weather. Let’s think about January. For most of the nation, it’s a very cold — think below freezing temps. It is also a very dreary time of year. That doesn’t conjure up a good time to sit and reflect about goals. Goals should be something you desire and really want to achieve. It’s hard to be energetic about achieving something when all you really want to do is sit by the fire, stay warm, and see the sun again!
Goals should be something you desire and really want to achieve.
The best time to set goals is not winter time for most people. It is spring or fall, whichever makes you feel better. Some people like spring because things are changing. Birds are back and singing. Red and yellow tulips reminds us that spring is here. There may even be a spring to your step as you shed your winter coat and enjoy the beautiful colors of spring flowers.
Other people prefer Fall when the summer heat has disappeared and the cool air makes them feel more energized. For them the changing colors of the leaves add splendor to the world and the cool, crisp air energizes their thoughts.
Now there are people who do like to set winter goals. For them it is a time to be alone with their thoughts. They do some really serious thinking about their goals and their life because of the fact that they are indoors. They find this time of year slower-paced and since they aren’t as busy, they can reflect on the past year and decide how they want this year to progress.
Samuel (name changed) is one such person. He sells greeting cards. His big season is the end of the year with holiday cards. So once his sales are done, he has some time to kick back and seriously map out his goals for the coming year based on the past year’s performance. He is the perfect example of someone who relishes the quiet, indoor time of January and can set real goals now. If you’re like Samuel, go ahead and set your goals in January.
So what time of year do you think would be best for you to set goals? Are you truly a Winter goal setter? Or should you be a Spring or Fall goal setter? I prefer Spring when I feel more energized and Fall as a second time for new goals.
Comment below and let me know.