New Year is knocking on our door, bringing us always the same old things, the same old, well-known days and people in our lives – or not?!
New Year is knocking on our door, bringing us always the same old things, the same old, well-known days and people in our lives – or not?! Most of us make New Year resolutions, but these resolutions seem to fail every time.
As a psychologist, I want all of you to make the best goals for New Year, the way we do it with our clients in counselling and psychotherapy.
Making goals is an essential part of therapy, but what is necessary is to do the right way! How to express the most beneficial goals?
First of all, the goals need to be personally important. If being a better student is not important for you but your parents and if losing weight is not important for your self-awareness, self-confidence, but solely people who surround you, then these are not the right goals for you!
The goals need to be realistic and achievable. Setting a goal like “I will become the wealthiest man alive within 6 months” is not realistic and, consequently, this goal is doomed to failure. On the other hand, you can set a goal “I will earn 5000$ each month this year and save 80% of my incomes” is more realistic and so is “I will get educated in finances and investing in following months and begin investing by the end of the year”. Realistic goals have realistic odds to be accomplished.
If you set a goal that is too general, imprecise, for example, “I want to be happy”, your goal seems very blurry. What does it mean to be happy? What is “happy” for you? What makes you happy? You can remember the things that made you happy before. If your happiest memories include friends, parties, family gatherings, reading books or movie nights, then your goals should specifically be about what makes you happy. “I will organize family dinner every month and read one book every week” is a specific goal and strived at what makes you happy.
The goals need to be measurable, as well. The above-mentioned goals are weighable. When you set a goal to read one book per week, then you know if you achieved this goal or not. If you set a goal to read more books, it doesn’t indicate anything. It is not assessable. Reading more books means nothing. If you have read 12 books this year, then reading 15 books in the following year is measurable. It is precise. It is attainable. It is a good goal.
Break the large picture down into smaller ones. Write your goals for the short term. Instead of setting a goal for one year, set smaller goals or steps to the final goal in terms of months. “I will clear two exams each month” instead of “I will clear all exams by the end of the year”. The other example is “I will lose 5 pounds each month” instead of “I will lose 60 pounds by the end of the year”. Even if you are not on your track in the second, third or fifth month, you will still know how “late” you are and you can still get back on the track. Setting a goal for the entire year means not knowing wherewith you are during the whole time.
I keep telling you to write your goal, but I neglected to tell you how important it is to write your goals! Writing your goals will make them harder to ignore. Keep track of your progress. Monitoring in with yourself and recognising the advancement made towards a particular goal is key to staying motivated. It may also inspire you to struggle even more.
Reward yourself for each smaller step on the way. Maybe you can do it with something material like new earrings or a new dress, but you can also reward yourself with a massage, day off, long bath, walk or a simple bragging about your accomplishment! Plan your rewards and make them feel good about yourself and your achievement.
Please, don’t push yourself too hard with setting too many goals. Changing many things at once makes each of these things harder to accomplish. If you stop smoking and start dieting and start working-out and stop this and start that, your chances to succeed are very low. Take one thing at a time!
Keep your mind and actions focused and no matter what, keep going on, step by step. If you fail once, do not lose your goal from the sight. Get up and keep walking. Just keep walking, don’t stop. If you fail twice, get up for the second time. Forgive yourself and go on even harder. Make it a lesson. You can learn from your slips. Always remember why you started the journey, remember why you made the first step. Never lose the big picture before your eyes. You can reach it only if you take the next step. Keep walking.
Now, take a pencil and a paper… and…