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How to achieve success with realistic goals

As we welcome the new year (and the new decade!), we’re offering a fresh outlook for your home, your health and wellbeing, and your finances. The second post in our series focuses on small, manageable changes you can make to improve your health and wellbeing by setting realistic, achievable goals.

The road to wellness is paved with good intentions; however, focusing your efforts on the development of healthier habits may well be the best way to achieve long-term success.

A new approach for a new decade

There is a certain allure to marking a new year with a pledge to form new habits. This goes a long way to explain why some 29% of Canadians planned to make New Year’s resolutions according to a poll conducted last December. And yet, despite our good intentions, 80% of Canadians have given up on their resolutions by Valentine’s Day.

The beginning of a new decade can be viewed as an opportunity to look at goals in a new way. Rather than the same old, same old of making and then breaking resolutions, why not try specific changes in your day-to-day habits to reach your long-term goals? We can use the three most common resolutions as examples: exercising more, eating healthier and saving money.

  1. Exercising more: As objectives go, getting more exercise is not specific enough to change a lifetime of sedentary habits. If your only daily exercise is walking from the door to the car, then one extra trip to the car to retrieve a forgotten item is “more” exercise. However, pledging to take more steps, like walking one bus stop further every day or walking around the block at lunchtime on Tuesdays and Thursdays, constitutes the kinds of specific changes to daily habits that can bring about meaningful change.
  2. Eating healthier: Healthier is also a relative term, and since there is no objective measure for “healthier,” it’s a difficult goal to achieve and sustain. Instead, consider adopting goals like eating a serving of fruit with breakfast every day, or bringing a nutritious lunch to work twice a week. As is the case with any long-term goal, consistency is more important than perfection.
  3. Saving money: Saving money is another goal that requires more specificity to be achievable. Assuming you have taken the first important step of creating a household budget, the next step is to identify ways to reduce expenses. That could be accomplished by bringing lunch to work, carpooling or by lowering monthly bill payments with debt consolidation.

Nobody feels great about failing to reach a goal, but rather than deciding that it’s a better idea not to set them in the first place, you can set yourself up for success with the establishment of realistic, measurable goals.

Get inspired to set realistic goals

There are tried and true classic books, like Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®, to help create the habits that can enable success. There are also countless articles espousing the principles of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound). These are, of course, a wonderful place to start to develop good habits to reach your goals. However, it may also be beneficial to learn from other Canadians who have identified ways to set goals and have gone on to achieve them.

Take the Saversodes video series from Oaken Financial, for example. The videos offer practical advice from real Oaken customers who have found ways to achieve their personal goals through the development of healthy, or healthier, financial habits.

View the Saversodes video series on the Oaken website to learn more.

This post is one of a three-part series to help you get a fresh start to the new year and the new decade. Visit the rest of the posts in the series: Start the year with a fresh approach to home improvement. A new approach to money for the new decade.

 

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