Orlando Therapist Shares Tips For Reachable Resolutions in The New Year
As the New Year approaches, we often feel compelled to overhaul our entire life. We make New Year’s Resolutions to loose weight, eat healthy, exercise daily, change jobs, start a better relationship, become more organized, quit smoking, get out of debt – the list goes on and on. It comes to no surprise that many people feel overwhelmed by all of their goals within just a few weeks and give up. Although we are full of good intentions, we often plan poorly, overcommit, have unrealistic or vague goals and have a hard time staying motivated. As a matter of fact, studies have found that most New Year’s Resolutions go by the wayside by the end of January. Psychologists at the University of Hertfordshire found that 78% of people who made New Year’s Resolutions were unable to stick with their goals after just one month and the psychologists found that these unrealized resolutions can lead to increased self-loathing and contribute to low self-esteem. Instead of overzealously trying to achieve a complete self-renovation, let’s instead pledge to begin the new year by first appreciating who we are and recognizing how far we’ve already come and then implement a realistic outlook on personal change. Instead of making a massive list of changes, focus on a single goal that is most important to you. In business, employers often ask their employees to set career goals using the SMART mnemonic. This goal-setting tool can easily be used to achieve positive, conscious personal change, one step at a time. Setting SMART goals doesn’t mean that you will never experience setbacks or frustrations, but it can help you to have something concrete to work toward and can help you to increase the chances of meeting your goals.
According to SMART, your goal should be:
- Specific – Just stating, “I want to start an exercise program” is not specific. “I will take a yoga class at the YMCA on Monday and Wednesday after work so I can become more physically fit” is specific.
- Measurable – How will you know you’ve reached your goal? “I’ll sign up for the classes this evening. I will keep a log for each class I’ve attended and I will give myself a reward for every 10 classes I’ve completed”. That’s measurable.
- Attainable – Although you’ll want to challenge yourself somewhat, you also don’t want to set yourself up for failure. Instead of telling yourself that you will exercise every single day, just committing to two classes per week is a much more attainable goal.
- Realistic – Signing up for a 2 hour hot yoga class might sound like a good idea at first, but if you’ve never done yoga before or are pretty out of shape, it might be a better, more realistic idea to sign up for a beginner class. If you happen hate yoga, taking a yoga class isn’t a realist goal at all. It’s important to note that we can’t expect ourselves to be perfect. Adding “I will do my best to get to my yoga classes each week” is much more realistic than insisting that you will always attend your classes (that isn’t very realistic – we all have things that come up now and then) and then feel like a failure and give up when you miss a class.
- Timely – Without a start time or deadline, it’s easy to procrastinate. Try this, “Starting next week, I will attend a one hour yoga class, at least two times per week. I am willing to commit to this schedule for the next 3 months.”
The New Year is a time for new beginnings, a time for self-reflection and a time to be grateful for the many gifts we have been given. The New Year may be a time to try again or to try harder. It may be a time to let go or to start again. The New Year is a time to vow to take better care of yourself and to ask yourself, “What would it take to make me healthier and happier” and then take the first steps to reaching your goal. Happy New Year from all of us at GroundWork Counseling in Orlando. May your 2015 be filled with love and joy, passion and purpose, growth and fulfillment.
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