At Amy Wine Counseling, our team is always looking for ways to increase our client’s success. Our job is not to create goals for you, but to come alongside and help you create more attainable and achievable goals to ensure you can make the necessary changes to live your best life.
As we approach the New Year, resolutions have been at the forefront of our mind and probably yours as well. Planning New Year’s Resolutions can be a cumbersome idea. After all, by February, most of us have forgotten what we were starting the year out doing in the first place. On average, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Yes, that’s right, it takes one month for the “new us” to crash and burn, returning to old, dysfunctional habits. What good is a resolution or goal that is never met?
A group of our counselors worked together to find some helpful tips to increase your ability to keep your goals thriving through the year.
One of the main issues we find out about resolutions is they weren’t one of these aforementioned pieces from the very start. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym used to describe a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. This is crucial because this allows you to be truly honest with yourself, and lays the foundation for the realistic expectations ahead.
Specific and Simple: Goals should clearly define what you are going to do. A specific goal has a greater chance of being accomplished than a broad or general goal.
Measurable: Goals should be measurable so that you have evidence that you have met the goal. Examples: I want to save 10% of my paycheck. Or, I want to lose 10% of my body weight.
Achievable: Goals should be challenging, but achievable.
Realistic: Goals should be reasonable and within the realm of possibility. If you set a goal of losing 50 pounds in a month, you are probably setting yourself up for failure.
Timely: Goals should be linked to a timeframe. You will be more accountable for doing the work to meet your goal if you set a date or timeline for completion. Check your progress along the way and make adjustments to increase the likelihood that you will meet your goal.
Reward yourself for doing well.
Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool. If you never feel like there are benefits along the way of doing something well, you may not continue in the same way. Many studies have shown that the effects of reinforcing stimuli following a behavior makes it more probable you will continue doing the behavior. I mean, we punish ourselves enough; reward yourself!
Be okay with not always meeting the mark.
Sometimes, we believe that we have to put these incredible outcomes on our resolutions and, when we don’t reach them, we begin to feel like a failure. Most times, failure is a part of the process– but failure should not be the end. Think back to the moments that you excelled in this journey or in other areas and move towards that feeling. It will help you keep on track with your goal.
Limit the number of goals you set.
Once you have made a list of all of the goals you wish to accomplish, prioritize them. Which goals will improve your health? Will any improve your mental wellness? Which goals will have an impact on your relationships? Decide which goals require greater focus and put a plan in place to accomplish your goal. Prepare to step out of your comfort zone and participate in some behaviors that are not a part of your typical habit or routine. Evaluate the reasons behind your specific goal. Look at it from the bigger picture. Conceptualize how your goal will improve your overall well being, you are more likely to be properly motivated to keep going, even when it gets hard.
New Year’s Resolutions don’t have to be such a bad thing. When deciding on your resolution, remember the SMART acronym. Set yourself up for success, rather than a fizzle out February. If you find that you are lacking clarity in your life or need a new perspective on how to manage life challenges, it may be a good idea to speak to a mental health professional. Amy Wine Counseling is here for you! Call us at 832-421-8714 or email us to make an appointment.