As the holiday season comes to a close and the new year rolls around, people are often faced with questions about New Year’s resolutions. For some, the answers to these questions are easy – they’ve thought a while about a goal, and mapped out exactly how and when to achieve it. For others, however, there is a great deal of pressure to both set and maintain goals. Sure, there are probably many things we all would like to accomplish, but it can feel chaotic when thinking about how to accomplish them while, at the same time, you’re juggling other priorities. Even more so, when life’s inevitable interruptions come into play, it can feel especially challenging to continue to pursue certain goals. Luckily, there are tools that can make it a little easier to set and maintain your goals, and I’m sharing some of my top recommendations:

    • Set up SMART goals. I first learned about this tool in graduate school, and have been using it for myself and with clients ever since. The acronym allows you to streamline ideas and come up with exact steps for achieving goals:
      • Specific – think about what it is exactly that you hope to accomplish and why. For example, if you want to socialize more, a specific goal might be, “to sign up for a Meetup activity and attend regularly in order to be more social.”
      • Measurable – pick something that allows you to monitor and assess your progress. Using the same above example, a way of measuring might be, “to attend 3 social activities per week.”
      • Achievable – acknowledge what is and isn’t within your reach. If you don’t have the skills or resources needed to accomplish that goal, think about whether you can acquire those or what you already can do based on your circumstances.
        • Relevant – consider what you honestly want to achieve. If you’ve thought about it for some time, chances are that it’s relevant. If the goal has been somehow imposed on you, though (e.g., your co-workers are pressuring you to partake in the Whole30 diet with them, but you are content with your dieting habits), it may not be in your best interest.
        • Time-Bound – set a date when you would like to accomplish things. With a deadline in mind, you’re given the extra push to prioritize your goals and integrate them in your routine.
  • Forgive yourself if you don’t get things done. There should be a delicate balance between pushing oneself to accomplish something and bullying oneself for not. Life is full of interruptions, which can make it hard to achieve everything we hope, and sometimes we just don’t have the energy we need to check everything off our to-do list. It’s important that we don’t let these instances determine how we continue to work on our goals, and to remind ourselves that sometimes we are just humans with other needs to be taken care of first. 
  • Congratulate yourself for what you’ve accomplished. Sometimes, we can get so wrapped up in working toward a goal that we forget to acknowledge how far we’ve already come! At the end of the day, devote some time to reflect on what you’ve managed to do and how. Try to emphasize what’s working and allowing you to progress the way you have.
  • Find someone to hold you accountable. Depending on your motives, it could be helpful to have someone rooting for you when you succeed and giving you a push when you need the extra motivation. This person could be someone you feel close to – a parent, friend, or partner – or someone who is familiar with the area in which you’re setting a goal. Let them know what you’re aiming to achieve, and ask them if they’re willing to check in with you about your progress from time to time.

For additional support with setting and maintaining goals, give us a call at 678-310-0358, or you can go ahead and schedule your first appointment with our secure online client portal: http://awakencounseling.com/schedule-an-appointment/