The New Year is often a great time to take on a new personal challenge in any area of life. It often can feel like a “blank slate” or an ideal time to change. There is also a tradition of making resolutions that are related to large personal dreams and goals. Unfortunately, studies have shown that many people have trouble completing or sustaining their resolutions for a variety of reasons. This can lead to the opposite effect of lowering one’s self esteem or confidence emphasizing the fact that they once again were not able to reach their goal. You can also share this resolution in social settings and later feel vulnerable when someone asks of your “failed” report. Take this new year to set goals, not resolutions.
There are a few key aspects of setting goals that are a must for achievement.
Is it the right goal? First, we must determine if the goal is right for our true self. Perhaps one feels that they should lose weight or get a new job because it’s what everyone suggests or it seems like the next best path. Perhaps this is the best first goal? To determine what goals are most attainable right now and best for your true self, it is important to identify your core values and set goals around that. When you live your life by your values, everything else falls into place. Start small and you’ll go big.
Readiness. Sometimes choosing the largest goal or the most “obvious” visual goal like losing weight or eating healthier seems like the one we should tackle because it will have the best results. There is obviously a reason why these goals haven’t been reached in the past. Determine you are in a good place mentally, physically, socially, financially, etc. to start on this path. If you aren’t ready, this underlying force can hold you back. Perhaps you might need to just start with focusing on nutrition to lose weight and once you have success with that then build on your success and add in exercise when you are next ready.
Determine the WHY of your goals. Digging into why you actually want to achieve this goal will uncover true feelings and add buy in to commitment in achieving them. Why do you want this goal? What does it give you? How does the end result impact you? How does it make you feel? By answering these questions you can see who you will be once you have achieved the goal. If you don’t understand the reason behind something, it is hard to be motivated to do it for yourself.
Accountability. Many goals are not achieved because it is honestly hard to hold yourself accountable. Find someone neutral and positive in your life to support you in achieving your goals. Reach out to a Life Coach if there is no one in your circle you feel could help you. By setting measurable deadlines with someone you have to touch base with, you are more likely to achieve the goal. You are also then able to celebrate victories with this person and build confidence to keep going.
Positive Thinking. One of the things that can come up when reaching a personal goal are many challenges that prevent us from reaching the goals such as prioritizing time, obligations, negative thinking/belief patterns, lack of confidence, no support and poor personal habits. Guess what- everyone has challenges! The hard part is working through them. By focusing on positive thinking through intention setting, affirmation writing and reciting, and offering daily gratitude to current strengths, you will believe in yourself and put the challenges behind you to focus on the future. Be kind to yourself and offer a space for growth and opportunity.
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