We’re nearly one month into the New Year. Are you still going to the local gym to work out? Or did that resolution fizzle out already? What about losing weight? How is that one going? Or have the delicious donuts at the local bakery put that notion in the rear view mirror already?

Whether it’s for personal reasons, business purposes, or some combination, when it comes to setting goals and/or New Year’s resolutions, it’s easy to start out like a house afire in early January only to fizzle out not long after that. Now I am NOT a big goal setter or an expert in this area – not in the least! But I do have a few practical ideas to share based on my experiences. Namely:

* Start small, and build from there. I think part of the problem in setting goals is that many of us start out with goals that are too big to be realistic. For instance, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds in 2019.” Sounds great, but if you didn’t meet your goal of losing, say, 15 pounds last year, isn’t saying you’re going to lose 50 setting yourself up for failure?  Wouldn’t it be a better idea to start with the 15 pounds you set as a goal previously, and go from there?

* Success builds upon success. Set a goal you are confident you can meet – hopefully not one so easy that it isn’t a challenge, but not one that’s so “pie in the sky” you have almost no chance of meeting it. If you’ve lost 10-15 pounds in the past, what is to stop you from doing so again?

* Share your idea. There’s nothing like accountability when it comes to setting a goal. If you’re the only person who knows what you have in mind, no one will know if/when you fail – right? Choose an accountability partner – be it your spouse, best friend, workout buddy, or anyone else.

* Tell a professional. Say you want to lose 15-20 pounds? Or what about working out five days a week at the local gym? Or both? As well as being a realistic goal, you need a road map to get you there. This is where the advice from a professional can really be helpful. What does your doctor think is a realistic weight-loss goal based on your lifestyle? What would your local fitness provider have to say about your workout plan? Are your ideas attainable? If so, what specifically do you need to do to get there? If your ideas AREN’T realistic – work with a professional(s) on a goal more likely to be met. As noted earlier, “start small, and build from there.”

(Original Caption) Actor Sylvester Stallone, described as looking like Rock Hudson sculpted from mashed potatoes, wrote the script to “Rocky” and then got the title role. Film tells of an unknown Philadelphia boxer who, with the help of trainer (Burgess Meredith), R, takes a crack at the World Heavyweight Boxing championship. Scene from the movie. Movie still, 1976.

* Set a time frame. Finally, this is one that’s easy to overlook: WHEN will you achieve the goal by? If you want to lose 20 pounds in one month, you need to drop five pounds a week. That isn’t real likely. What about losing 20 pounds in, say, three months? Four? Six? This is where talking to a doctor or nutritionist can be a real help. The same thing is true of a fitness goal. If you want to go to the gym five days a week, but have only been going once, how about starting with some middle ground…. Go twice a week….and then build from there…. Keep going forward, making progress so that within say… four months…. you ARE going five days a week.

As for me? One goal I have is to write shorter blog posts in 2019. How did I do? At 619 words, not very well – I was shooting for 500 or fewer! Nuts.

But the good news about goals is there is always tomorrow … just keep at it, whatever it is. If you need some more motivation, try a real-life or fictional role model that’ll work for you, like the one at upper right. I know he’s one of mine!