-Mayah Taylor, MA
As we begin the start of a new year, there’s a common question we ask ourselves or are asked by others. “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” Another year brings a fresh, inspiring start to trying new things, exploring new places, and becoming a better you. A common thing we see in our practice is for as many people who come in with their New Year’s resolution set, few succeed in achieving it.
You might be thinking, “Why is that?” The answer is simple. If you are struggling to achieve your New Year’s resolution, it’s because the resolution you’ve set for yourself does not contain achievable goals in helping you reach it. Your resolution is what you want to work on. The goals you set for yourself are what’s actually going to help you follow through with that resolution.
The key to setting achievable goals that will help you reach your resolution is implementing SMART goals. This is something we utilize in our practice every day. SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. SMART goals, in essence, create a format for tailoring goals specifically to the person and their needs. You may find in therapy that as you are challenged to begin creating SMART goals, your resolution may actually change, possibly into something that is better suited to you as well as more realistic. We tend to create massive resolutions for ourselves that are hard to achieve. Therapy will show you a different approach to creating a resolution and goals that help meet your needs. Therapy also reinforces that no one is perfect. Remember resolutions are something you want to work on. This takes practice and is a process. Along the journey, you may have slip-ups and that’s OK. Therapy encourages you to continue goal setting even when you slip up, and as you go through your journey even the goals you set for yourself initially will change to reflect the progress you’ve made.
Most individuals will achieve success when they choose to moderate behavior instead of radically changing it. At times, people want to exhibit this “perfect” behavior. And their goals surrounding say food addiction will sound like, “I can never eat chocolate again,” or “I will never cheat on my diet with carbohydrates. EVER.” These goals definitely are not SMART goals. Be aware of your mental scripts and seek out a professional to help you with the process of change. After all, we can convince our minds of anything we choose-whether it is realistic or not!
We can help you focus on your SMART goals for the New Year so that you do not end up disappointed by the end of the month. Need more help? Check out our New Year’s Resolution blog post from last year!
Download your FREE SMART goals worksheet below!