The New Year’s Eve celebrations are over.
It is time to set your sights on the year that lies ahead.
If you are like most individuals, the first item on the agenda of your new year is probably one or a cluster of New Year’s resolutions. According to some sources, only about 10% of Americans who set New Year’s resolutions actually achieve them. How can you increase your chances of becoming a part of that small yet successful percent? It starts with careful planning and realistic expectations.
Be Realistic: Start Small
It may be tempting to set several goals to revamp your entire lifestyle. But reality check: how realistic is that? Be kind to yourself and increase your chances of success by choosing one realistic goal. If you choose too many goals at one time, you will spread yourself too thin and be less likely to fully achieve any goal at all. Small yet attainable goals are key to success. A good example of this would be if your goal is to become more active, you could set a tangible goal to run a half-marathon later in the year. By breaking down that goal to tangible steps like running 1-2 miles a week, you set yourself up for success.
Give Yourself Grace
Improvement is hard. Plain and simple. You will most likely experience a few missteps and that is okay. Remember that minor missteps are completely normal. Do not write off your goal because you broke your diet or skipped going to the gym for a few days. Everyone has ups and downs; give yourself grace to make mistakes and create an action plan in case you fall off track.
If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking professional help. Accepting help from others, whether from loved ones or a professional, is not a sign of weakness. It is actually quite the opposite! It means you are dedicated to reaching your goal through any means necessary. If you feel like you need a personal trainer to give you accountability in your fitness goal – get one! If you need to hire a writing coach in order to knock out the first chapter of that novel you always wanted to write – hire one! Just reach out.
Get the Word Out
Talk about what you are seeking to achieve! Just own it. Telling your friends or family about your New Year’s resolution will generate a form of accountability to someone other than yourself. Asking them to check in on your progress every once in a while, will keep you motivated and on track. You could also consider joining a support group to reach your goals. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your experience less daunting and overwhelming.
Write it Down
You can increase your commitment to your goal by writing it down. A really great way to ensure that your goal is attainable is to use the SMART method.
SMART stands for:
Specific. A specific goal narrows down the steps you need to take throughout your experience.
Measurable. When a goal is measurable, you can easily track your progress.
Attainable. It is important to balance long-term goals with more achievable, short-term goals. This will help to keep you from feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with expectations of progress.
Relevant. Relevancy keeps you on track to meet your goal. This aspect will help you determine if your actions are productive.
Time-Bound. A time frame will motivate you to take steps towards your goal every day.
SMART is a framework that enables you to write goals that will be much more effective. This method helps to quantify how much progress you have made and how far you have left to go towards your goal. When you reach the actual goal, you will be able to celebrate knowing that you achieved something tangible and impactful.
Schedule rewards for yourself along the way. Acknowledge your progress. It will keep you motivated. What you are doing is a very big deal and that should be praised!
For questions or if you are seeking support in reaching your personal goals, please contact the Amy Wine Counseling Center at (832) 421-8714 and ask for Patricia.