How to revisit your goals (or set new ones)

January and its New Year’s resolutions are long gone, so it’s time for a status check. Did you set a goal at the start of year? Have you made any progress in the last nine months? Luckily, this is a prime time of year to get back on track and re-commit to your goals.

WHY NOW?

As summer ends and kids head back to school, we may naturally crave a fresh start or wish to implement a more productive routine. Psychologists call this a “temporal landmark,” meaning it has added significance in our minds as a possible starting point for change.

Parents, for example, instinctively know that the start of September is a golden opportunity to give their kids a purposeful start from day one. Proactive measures such as proper sleep schedules, healthy lunches and organized belongings all support the desired result of a successful school year. The thing is, positive habits like these are helpful for us as adults too! As kids sharpen their pencils for back-to-school, you can sharpen your focus on the personal goal you may have temporarily set aside.

TAKING STOCK

When reworking your January goal – or setting a brand new one – here are some key considerations:

1. Workshop your goal. Read our tips on how you can make a good goal even better. If you filled out our Goal-Setting Worksheet in January, pull it out to recall your mindset back then. Or, print out a new one and start over.

2. Do some soul-searching. If your goal has fallen by the wayside, be honest about it. Was it unrealistic to begin with? Did life get in the way? Maybe you were doing great for a while, but got derailed. Think about what worked while things were going well, and what interruptions may have caused you to lose momentum.

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3. Be positive. There’s no sense berating yourself over lost time or past choices. Rather than take a defeatist attitude and saying, “Well, it looks like I’m back to square one,” tell yourself that wherever you are right now is a fine place to start. It really doesn’t matter what “square” you’re on today, as long as you move forward from there.

4. Take a back-to-basics approach. Summer vacation is over, and it’s time to buckle down. Even if you’re not returning to school, you can still commit to getting back to a structured daily routine. It may be as simple as pre-scheduling activity sessions in your calendar or stashing a bag of yoga gear in your car (so there is no excuse to miss a class). The idea is to create an effective daily routine that, over time, will become second nature.

It could be that your goals from the start of the year now seem naïve or irrelevant, and you’re ready to start over with a new plan. September is the perfect time to begin brainstorming, since fresh starts and new beginnings are in the air. Take a deep breath and get after your goals.