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  • New Year’s Resolutions: How to create goals that last!

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    While reflecting on the past year I am sure that there are things we all wish we could improve on such as being more active, eating healthier, building stronger relationships; the list goes on.

    Starting the New Year off with fresh motivation often prompts us to want to achieve things that we have not previously accomplished. Despite this being a tremendous source of inspiration, the challenge often occurs when we are trying to put these goals into practice.

    Due to our goals being different from our typical routine, it is hard to hit the ground running on a completely different lifestyle.

    Does this mean our goals are impossible to reach? Absolutely not.

    Can we do better at setting goals that make more sense for ourselves? Yes!

    It can be tempting to create new goals based on a result that we see in the media or even someone we know.

    Fitness models, nutrition gurus, or those with healthy and thriving relationships are often great sources of motivation (and proof that goals can be achieved), though their current status often does not reflect the time, energy, or effort that it took them to get there.

    It is important to remember that everyone starts somewhere, and so with this consideration it is equally important to set goals that account for where you are currently at.

    Ask yourself the following questions to gauge where you are at in regards to the goals you’ve set for yourself!

    •       How are you doing in reaching your goals?
    •       Do your goals make sense for your current lifestyle?
    •       Have you been finding it difficult to commit to what you previously thought you could?

    If you feel like you are struggling with any of these things, I am here to help!

    Whether you started working towards your goals on January 1st or you’re starting today, there is a way to help you create goals that you are more likely to maintain using the SMART method!

    You may be wondering what the SMART method is and I’m here to help explain just that. See below for 5 questions to ask yourself to create SMART goals that are more easily achieved.

    1.     Is your goal specific? What do you want to achieve? Being specific is important as it gives you a better roadmap to work from.
    2.     Is your goal measurable? How will you know that you achieved it? Choosing a way to measure your goals is necessary to be able to evaluate the success or failure of your progress. Think deadline, number, percentage change, or some other measurable element.
    3.     Is your goal attainable? Is it in your power to accomplish it? Your goals should not be easy to achieve, but they also should not totally be out of the realm of possibility to achieve either. Setting goals you can reasonably accomplish will help keep you motivated and focused. 
    4.     Is your goal realistic? Can you realistically achieve it? Given your current routine, does it make sense to start doing? Start off with creating goals that do not push you too far out of your typical routine so that you are more likely to achieve them. Moreover, each of your goals should align with your values and larger, long-term goals.
    5.     Is your goal timely? When exactly do you want to achieve it? Have you provided yourself ample time to reach the goal you set? Have you considered the other 4 criteria to decide on what changes make the most sense given the time you have. Make sure that you are considering the amount of time it takes for the goal to be achieved.

    Below are a few examples to better explain this method:

    Smart goal for building a better relationship: I want to build a better relationship with my sister because we have drifted apart as we have gotten older (specific). To do this, I will call her twice a week and meet up for lunch twice a month (measurable). We live close to one another, so this won’t be too hard to achieve (achievable and realistic). I will implement this plan by the end of the month and maintain or adjust the plan accordingly (timely).

    Smart goal for eating healthier: I want to eat more whole fruits and vegetables (specific). To do this, I will actively choose to eat 1 vegetable at every meal 3 times a day and 1 fruit for snack twice a day (measurable). I have access to fresh produce when grocery shopping (achievable). I eat fruits and vegetables now but not on a consistent basis (realistic). I want to fully incorporate this goal by the end of the month (timely).

     It is important to consider the above criteria when creating goals so that we feel focused, motivated, capable, and in control of our personal growth. Life can sometimes get in the way of remaining consistent, or some days we need to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, or emotionally which prevents us from truly devoting our time and energy to what we thought we could.

    By considering the above components of creating goals, you can be on your way to achieving things that were previously a struggle.

    You may ask, “But what happens if I suddenly fail or stop working on the goals that I set for myself?”

    So often we make the mistake of believing that if we slip up once that we’ve already failed on achieving our goal (I say “we” because we’ve all been there in some way or another).

    When it comes to building good habits and reaching our goals, no matter how big or small, individual mistakes do not matter in the long run. What matters is that we do not fall into thinking that it is all-or-nothing.

    A tip that can be helpful when we feel that we’ve slipped up, taken a break, or simply needed a rest day is following the idea of not letting it happen twice in a row. This rule allows you the space to be okay with skipping a day without it impacting your overall perception of achieving your goal.

    Maybe you’re sick, maybe you need a day to engage in self-care. Whatever the reason, you are allowed to take that moment with the commitment to getting back to working on your goal during the next opportunity that presents itself. Don’t give up! You got this!

    It is important to set goals that are SMART but that does not negate the fact that we are human and will slip up from time to time. The important part of slipping up is not letting it define how far you’ve come or influence the motivation you still have to keep going.

     Acknowledge that your slip up is okay and that no one is perfect. Reference back to your goal and commit to getting back on your grind the next opportunity you have.

    If you are having trouble setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely; or notice yourself feeling anxious, irritable, or depressed, we would love to help you move forward. Solid Foundations Therapy is here to help! Visit our website at www.solidfoundationstherapy.com or give us a call at 630-633-8532 today!