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Karl Henry and Denise Kenny Byrne's 7 expert tips for setting New Year's resolutions

Whether 2022 is the year you plan to run the mini marathon or you just want to get your financial affairs in order, there is nothing that can’t be achieved with a little planning, perseverance and determination.
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Clodagh Meaney

Coming into 2022 one thing we all consider are New Year's Resolutions.

Even if we don’t admit to it, we all think about what we want to get out of the new year.

Whether 2022 is the year you plan to run the mini marathon or you just want to get your financial affairs in order, there is nothing that can’t be achieved with a little planning, perseverance and determination.

We spoke to personal trainer, and Operation Transformation star Karl Henry as well as entrepreneur and founder of The Head Plan, Denise Kenny Byrne to get their best advice for setting and achieving your personal goals in 2022.

Operation Transformation's Karl Henry & The Head Plan founder Denise Kenny Byrne

Operation Transformation's Karl Henry & The Head Plan founder Denise Kenny Byrne

1. Put pen to paper

Both Karl and Denise strongly advise putting time aside to sit down to write out your goals and why you want to achieve them.

“Having a strong enough goal with a strong enough reason helps you to overcome those times where you're likely to fall off the wagon or likely to become demotivated,” says Karl.

“It's the one thing that so many people don't do. They do all the other stuff; they'll go to the gym classes, they'll do whatever, but they don’t spend time really assessing the reason they want to make those changes.”

Meanwhile, Denise recommends putting each ambition into different categories using titles from The Head Plan’s Productivity & Wellness Journal.

“Set your goals under these headings: Finance, Business & Career, Friends & Family, Self-Care & Wellness, Personal Development & Learning, Physical Environment and Shooting Star.”

When it comes to your Shooting Star goal Denise says the sky's the limit.

2. Make them meaningful

Another thing our experts agree on is that your goals should be meaningful and personal to you.

“With the right reason and the right trigger to make that starting point is what we always look for when people are looking to make healthy changes,” Karl explains.

“Your goals need to be meaningful to you no one else,” Denise adds.

“They should be positive and move you forward in life. When writing out your list of the goals you hope to accomplish you should feel excited about them and a huge sense of pride and achievement once you meet them.”

It’s super important to consider why you want to make changes and the impact they will have on your life.

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3. Make them achievable

One of the most important things you can do when setting goals is make them achievable.

“The goals you set should challenge you but still be attainable,” explains Denise.

“Set realistic goals for yourself. You need to do this so you can confidently work toward them knowing you'll eventually accomplish them.”

“I feel so many of us don’t challenge ourselves or maybe lack belief in areas – we grow from challenges.”

“You are capable of so much more than you realise so I always encourage people to push a little more when goal setting.”

Karl’s top tip for making your goals achievable is to “do small things over the course of a longer period of time.”

This, he says “will make a bigger difference to you rather than a huge change in your life. Huge changes tend not to last in the long term.”

“We know that people who start restrictive diets or excessive training plans don't stick to them; they are built so you don't stick to them.”

“People try to do too much, too soon, too hard. It should be balanced. It should be 80/20 and also ensure that your goals are realistic.”

He also recommends being honest with yourself and doing what you enjoy to make it easier to stick to any changes you’ve made.

“If you want to lose a stone for example, you should be looking at taking anything from 8 to 16 weeks.”

“Make sure it’s realistic and takes a little bit of time, health is hard, but you've got to look longterm at the bigger picture rather than the quick fix as the bigger picture is what will deliver long term health.”

An important aspect of making health related goals achievable is by finding an enjoyable way to do it.

“Find out what you enjoy, beit walking, cycling, running, whatever. Find the time you like to do it,” Karl recommends.

4. Make them measurable

Another step for making health related changes next year is to measure some aspect of your health so that you can keep track of your goal.

“You can measure whatever aspect that you want whether it's weight, and if you are measuring weight, measuring your muscle and fat ratios the weight on its own doesn't mean anything really,” Karl explains.

“Measure your waistline, your heart rate, your 5km run or walk time, whatever relates best to your goal.”

“People find their own indicators but measure something and measure it on a weekly basis at the same time in the same place because you're using that as a tracker to track your progress and that's really important.”

Denise recommends making your goal measurable by setting a time frame for completing it.

“It is important for your goals to be time bound. After you write your goals, set deadlines for each one.”

“Try and be as definite as possible with this as this is where you will begin to align your daily actions in order to achieve,” she explains.

“If we don’t set a time against things naturally they can drag and be deemed unimportant.

5. Reward yourself

Another important aspect of reaching your goal is to reward yourself along the way.

“When you set your goal or you set your target and you make small changes and track on a regular basis reward yourself when it's done the way you want it to go so when you do those changes you reward yourself,” said Karl.

“That element of goal reward is again another key tool for long term health that people often miss,” he explained.

Denise encourages rewarding yourself too.

“Give yourself rewards after accomplishing your goals – even if it’s the small steps to the big goal, this will motivate you to continue achieving more of them. We have a daily productivity reward on our journal pages for just that,” she said.

“Reward yourself, it gives you something positive to look forward to and acts as motivation to keep moving forward.”

6. Stick with like-minded people

A key element of achieving your goal is to surround yourself with like minded people.

Both Karl and Denise recommend joining a group of people with a similar goal to you.

“This is actually very powerful,” Denise explains.

“We have created an accountability group in The Head Plan Community App (free to download) and from Jan 1st people will share their goals and dreams.”

“This action makes it easier to hold yourself accountable for your goals if others know about them. Make your goals public by telling friends or family and provide updates on your progress.

7. Accept your perceived failures, and move on

If you happen to have a set-back, the best thing you can do is accept it and move on rather than mulling over what you deem to be a mistake.

“If it's upsetting you and you're down about it, draw a line in the sand,” says Karl.

“You need to have a look at whatever you're trying to do, you need to reflect on that a little bit on what has worked for you and what hasn't worked for you and learn from that.”

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