Getting started on a new goal can be hard. But whether it’s exercising more, learning a new language, connecting with your family or carving out time for meditation, a new feature for Google Calendar claims it can support your pursuit of all those seemingly lofty hope and dreams. But can the new Goals feature really help you follow through with your half-marathon training or get your butt to morning yoga three times a week? Here’s what you need to know about this potentially game-changing tool.
Google Calendar Goals: Set ‘Em So You Don’t Forget ‘Em
To start using the Goals feature, you’ll have to download the Google Calendar app if you’re not already using it. From the app, you can choose to set as many goals as you’d like, from five categories, including “Exercise,” “Build a Skill,” “Friends & Family,” “Me Time” and “Organize My Life.”
Next, select the time of day that’s best for you, or just have Google automatically pencil in time for the activity wherever you have room in your calendar that week. The app will eventually learn your schedule preferences, and every time you scroll through your calendar, you’ll be reminded with popups that it’s time to meditate (or read, run, study Spanish, you name it…).
And if you miss an appointment because a meeting runs long or you woke up late, the app can assist with rescheduling. (It’s smart like that.) Prefer to keep track of your calendar from your desktop? The function might still be helpful for you: Scheduled “goal activities” will appear on your standard desktop browser calendar marked with a flag.
Get Even Smarter About Goal Setting
If this all sounds simple enough, you’re not wrong. But before you embark on a new goal, just make sure it’s realistic and specific, and give yourself a little wiggle room, says Daily Burn Senior Fitness/Nutrition Coach Nora Minno, RD, CDN. Instead of saying you’ll work out seven days this week, pick the workouts you’ll do and give yourself a range, like four to five days. That way, if something comes up, you can still feel good about hitting the lower end of your goal.
Planning mini “goal” appointments in advance could help by taking some of the thought out of holding yourself accountable, Minno says. “I talk to my clients a lot about scheduling workouts ahead of time, the same way you would schedule lunch with a friend or a meeting with a coworker.”
Plus, having visual cues within your calendar takes you back to your original motivation, says Minno. Maybe you were feeling a little sluggish on Sunday night and decided you’d definitely plan to exercise four times this week, for example. Every time you see your goal activities in your schedule, you’re more likely to recall the feeling that motivated you to set it in the first place, she says.
It can also help you reflect on how you’ll feel once you’ve reached your goal, says Minno. The colorful blocks peppered throughout your week can be a visual reminder of how important connecting with your family or committing to your health really is to you. They may be small chunks of time, but these mini reminders might be just the motivation you need to get on track to nail your every ambition.