How to set goals and keep them

How to set goals and keep them
4 January 2021    Donnay Torr    0 comments
New Year’s Resolutions: you make them, you break them, C’est la vie! Goals: you decide on them, you lose momentum, the deadline comes whoosing by. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually stick to our goals for once? Especially now that we basically have a blank slate to begin with, thanks to the pandemic... Think of it as an opportunity for brand-new resolutions!

It’s not impossible to reach your goals, and it starts with a bit of planning. Whether you want to run a marathon, become a participant on Master Chef or just learn to draw a passable giraffe, break down your long-term goals into smaller, more achievable goals. This will help you maintain focus and motivation, and is way less intimidating than “I must be able to run 10kms in a month’s time!” Here’s how you can do it.

Step 1: Determine your main long-term goal

It helps if you know what your actual goals are! Don’t choose too many, or else you might get overwhelmed. Decide on a few that really appeal to you and that you feel will improve your life. One goal, for example, could be this: “I want to go from couch potato to running 10kms in the Sydney Bridge Run this September.”

(Take a look below for a flashback to our New Year’s Resolutions suggestions for 2020: oh, how little did we know... Which of these are still relevant? Check them out, tweak them, and they may help you decide on a goal! Just click on the image to download the PDF.)


Now ask yourself:

  • How would you approach achieving your long-term goal?
  • How would you know where/when to start?
  • How do you assess your progress along the way and monitor whether you’re on track to achieve this goal?
Jot down your thoughts, then move on to step 2...

Step 2: Break down your goals

Creating short-term goals helps you to focus and immediately begin working towards the main goal. Make sure that:
  • Your goals are realistic, practical and achievable
  • Achieving your short-term goals will get you closer to achieving your main long-term goal
 Examples of short-term goals:
  • Aim to be able to run 3kms non-stop by the end of March, 5kms at the end of May, 7kms at the end of July, 10kms by September.
  • Take part in all the fun runs and park runs in your area, even if you walk them.

Step 3: Create an action plan

Once you’ve decided on your short-term goals, break them down into a more specific, detailed list of actions. Set deadlines for each action.

Examples of action plan steps:

  • Buy a pair of good running shoes.
  • Ask your friend to start training with you to help you keep on track, or join a running club.
  • Ask your athletics coach to help you with a running plan.
  • Set a date to start, and commit to times and frequency (twice a week, three times a week).
  • Start walking everywhere you need to go when and where practical to up your fitness levels.
  • When running, aim for five minutes each day in the first week, 10 minutes each day in the second week, 15 minutes each day in the third week and so on.
  • Read up on running techniques.
  • Plan days where you rest your body, or focus on stretching.
  • Keep a running diary to track your time, distance and progress.
You could plot out your goals in a table like this:
Goal To be achieved by How I’m going to do it
Walk or run every day Starting in five days’ time (to give you time to prepare!)
  • Buy new running shoes.
  • Commit to a regular time each day.
  • Find a friend to join me.
  • Ask my parents to encourage me.
  • Read up on running techniques to make sure I avoid injury.
  • Take it easy on myself: walk when I have to, run when I can.
Run 10kms during the Sydney Bridge Run September 2020
  • Start walking every day to get fitter.
  • Look into changing or adapting my diet to become healthier.
  • Aim to be able to run 3kms non-stop by at the end of March, 5kms at the end of May, 7kms at the end of July, 10kms by September.
  • Take part in all the fun runs and park runs in your area, even if you walk them.

Step 4: Hold Yourself Accountable

Without accountability, you might lose sight of your grand plan. That’s usually what happens to us, anyway – we start with all these huge dreams, but then we get bored or distracted and start ignoring what we wanted to do... Mostly because there’s no real consequence if you DON’T stick to your plan – you just disappoint yourself. But if you had someone to check up on you, you might be more inclined to stick to things.
Decide on ways you could use to hold yourself accountable, such as:
  • Create daily To Do-lists and cross them off at the end of the day.
  • Take stock of your short-term and long-term goals regularly: make it a point to relook your action plans and update it as needed.
  • Work with a friend or team member to keep you accountable.
  • Identify your personal mission statement, for example “Discipline is Freedom”, or Nike’s famed “Just Do It”.
  • Reward yourself for each milestone you reach or each goal you accomplish while working towards your main goal.
  • Give yourself a performance review once a month.
  • Ask your friends, parents or athletics’ coach for regular feedback and support when you need it.
Just take things step by step, and be consistent in your efforts: Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it WAS built. Here’s to reaching your goals!
Struggling to maintain focus? These tips to create a focus-friendly environment will help to get your brain back on track in a jiffy.

Need to find your inner motivation? Check out some tips to get motivated here.

Not sure what your new resolutions should focus on? Take our fun quiz to find out which goals may suit you best!


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