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Tips From The Experts On Setting Achievable Goals

A Better You

New Year’s resolutions are almost always doomed (U.S. News reports that 80 percent fail by February), but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve yourself from one yearor monthto the next. Experts weigh in on how to find success in reaching your goals.

“Resist the temptation to shout your goals from the rooftops—research shows that sharing your goals broadly can trick your brain into thinking you’re well on your way to achieving them without having put forth any effort, thus making you less likely to achieve them. Instead, share your goals only with your support system until you start to make progress.” —Amy M. Gardner, certified executive coach with Apochromatik

“Personally what I do and teach my clients is to choose one theme word for the year of how I desire to feel. Last year mine was ‘connection’; this year mine is ‘sovereign.’ Then, any goals, tasks or exercises all revolve around that one theme word. So if my word is connection, I would perhaps find a running group so that I could stay true to my theme while doing those activities that I love. The reason we do anything—running, eating well—is to help ourselves feel better in some way. So my advice would be to select a theme word for the year, and then base your health decisions around that theme.” —Tina Lensing, mindset coach

“The most common advice that I give to my patients is to be nicer to themselves! Self-sabotage comes from low self-esteem and negative self-talk. I encourage people to use mantras—short, positive sayings that they repeat throughout their day whenever they are feeling inadequate: ‘I can do this,’ ‘I am a capable person,’ ‘I am loving and kind,’ etc. Instead of a resolution, make a commitment to be kind to yourself.” —Jill Howell, board-certified art therapist, licensed professional counselor

“Keep a gratitude journal beside your bed and each evening write down one positive thing that happened to you that day. Multiple studies have proven that writing like this increases resilience, and boosts your immune system and your ability to cope with life. This emotion-focused writing boosts your psychological resilience.” —Stacy Brookman, resilience and life storytelling expert

“Establish measurable, realistic weekly goals. Then, identify one thing you can do each day to work toward that goal. It’s easier to stay motivated when you have immediate things to work on.” –Amy Morin, psychotherapist, lecturer at Northeastern University and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Related:

Use This Free Worksheet To Set And Track Your Goals

Why Setting More Than One Race Goal Is Not A Good Idea

6 Running Goals That Aren’t Qualifying For Boston

Bethany Mavis

Bethany Mavis is the managing editor of Triathlete magazine. She's a mom, rec soccer player, multiple half-marathon finisher and is learning daily how to become a better triathlete.