Tips for setting realistic goals for the New Year


By Roberta Tolan

SUN Columnist

Now that Christmas is behind us and the year is quickly coming to an end, many of us spend time thinking of what we would like to see happen in the year ahead and setting our annual goals. But often these goals get forgotten by February and life’s busy schedule goes on as usual.

The following articles, “Setting Realistic Goals” and “Improving Time Management Skills and Preventing Burnout,” were written by Emily Koeppel, B.A., a graduate research assistant in Human Development and Family Studies at Colorado State University. Use these tips to help you set realistic and achievable goals that can enhance your life in 2014 and achieve these goals with effective time management skills.

“Goal setting can be an important part of accomplishing things in all areas of life. While there are people who love setting goals, there are others that find goal setting to be difficult. One of the biggest obstacles to goal setting can often be setting realistic goals. Often times, people who do not achieve the goals that they set are hesitant to set goals again. There are some tips to follow to help set any type of realistic goal including academic, personal, health and work goals.

“When setting goals, try to follow the acronym SMARTER. ‘S’ is for specific goals. Try to make goals as concise and specific as possible, so it is easier to make steps in achieving that one goal. When goals are not specific, it is hard to focus in on steps to achieve them. ‘M”’ is for measurable. Make sure to have ways in which progress can be measured. For example, if a goal is to get good grades, ask yourself how many A’s? How many B’s? ‘A’ is for attainable. Make sure the goals are within reach, considering the time and resources available. ‘R’ is for realistic. Make sure the goal is something that seems like it can be done within the time that it needs to be achieved. ‘T’ is for time bound. Be sure to set an end point or a time when the goal needs to be achieved. This helps motivate us to get moving on the goal. ‘E’ and ‘R’ are for evaluate and redo. These are two important steps to consider to avoid being disappointed. There are things in life that are out of our control that can affect our goals and evaluating and redoing the goal can be helpful in those types of situations.

“Another significant issue in goal setting is setting very large and lofty goals. Setting a large goal is fine, as long as there are small goals set to reach the larger goal. For example, if the large goal is to get a job within the next month, some smaller goals would be to find five places to apply by the end of the week, and then a second goal could be to send out three resumes within ten days. Breaking down a large goal into smaller goals can help make goals feel more achievable.

“Goal setting is a great way to work towards accomplishing tasks in all areas of life. Setting realistic and smart goals is an important aspect in reaching the goals and ultimately the things that we want in life.”

Manage time, prevent burnout

“In this day and age, it is easy for adults, teens and children to become quickly overscheduled. This type of overscheduled life can lead to burnout and stress if it is not taken care of. There are several steps that both parents and teens can take to manage their time, avoid overscheduling and ultimately, avoid stress and burnout.

• Schedule free time and treat it like anything else in your planner. Free time is important and it should not get pushed aside for something else.

• For both adults and teens, preparing for the next day the night before can help with a feeling of organization and less stress in the morning. Pack lunch, pick out clothes and pack backpacks/briefcases all before bedtime. Doing this can also help with quality of sleep, by decreasing some of the stress of the morning.

• In scheduling children and teens, make sure children and teens want to be in the activities that they are in. Often, parents sign their children up for things so their children can be exposed to different activities and stay out of trouble. However, overscheduling and putting children into activities that they don’t want to be in can lead to some difficult issues. Have a conversation with children about their schedules and if they are happy in the activities.

• Plan all meals for the week ahead of time and grocery shop for all of the meals on one day. This will help reduce the stress of knowing what is for dinner every night and it can save time by not having to run to the store every other night for groceries.

• Set little goals and post them around the house to remind and motivate yourself to keep working towards achieving the goals.

• Prioritize. Make sure to spend time doing what is most important and do the less important things when there is more free time. A simple way to prioritize is to number to-do list items by what is most important to least important.

• Take a step backwards and make sure life is balanced. A balance of family, work, fun and personal time is important to maintaining a happy and burnout-free life.”

CPR and First Aid 

CPR and First Aid Certification classes are now being offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6-10 p.m.

Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension Office at 264-5931.  We will also attempt to schedule classes on additional dates, with five or more registrations.  Cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/First Aid and $55 for CPR, First Aid or recertification. The type of First Aid information provided will vary with the needs of the audience.

Back to Basics food preservation 

The CSU Extension Office in Archuleta County is offering a series of classes on basic food preservation.

Each class will cover basics of food spoilage, food borne illnesses high-altitude adjustments and canning basics.  Please contact the Archuleta County CSU Extension Office at 264-5931 or to register.  Space is limited so reservations will be on a first-come, first-served basis.  Cost for the entire class series is $45 if paid in advance.  Each individual class is $10 if paid in advance or $15 at the door.  Each person will get to take home one jar filled with what was made and class handouts.

Jan. 13 and 27 — Jams and Jellies, 1 or 6 p.m.

Feb. 10 and 24 — Whole Fruit Canned, 1 or 6 p.m.

March 10 and 24 — Pickling/Freezing/Drying, 1 or 6 p.m.

April 14 and 28 — Tomatoes and Salsa-Canned, 1 or 6 p.m.

May 5 and 19 — Vegetables/Pressure Canning, 1 or 6 p.m.


Jan. 7 — Veterinary Science 4-H Project meeting, 4 p.m.

Jan. 7 — Colorado Kids 4-H Club meeting, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 9 — Mountain View Homemakers, noon.

Jan. 9 — Shady Pines 4-H Club meeting, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 10 — Clover Buds 4-H Club meeting, 2 p.m.

Jan. 10 — Pagosa Peaks 4-H Club meeting, 2 p.m.