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New Year, New Me

3 ways to set lasting goals

Have you already started working on those New Year’s resolutions? Or are you like me and already counting the number of times you’ve totally disregarded the ones you set? (Dr. Pepper is HARD to quit!)

The beginning of a new year is typically a popular time to start fresh, set new goals and ride that wave of collective motivation to achieve good things. Just as often, after a month or two, you may find yourself back in that same place you were before the new year: unmotivated, discouraged, or completely unaware of those awesome goals you set.

There are many reasons why those New Year resolutions can quickly fade away. However, by considering these 3 things, you can start setting fail proof goals that endure throughout the year.

Start small and build self-trust

One of the biggest deterrents to sticking to or achieving our goals is setting unattainable ones.  Start where you are and build from there! Let’s say you set a fitness goal to work out once a day for 5 days a week, but you are only currently working out once a month. You are going to find yourself struggling to meet that goal.  Set goals you know you can reach and that are still a challenge. That way, you can prove to yourself that YOU CAN create change. Build trust in yourself first, so that you have the confidence, courage and resilience to conquer your goals!  

Define clear goals

One of the other big factors in determining whether our goals will stick or not is how clear they are.  Setting clear goals allows us to focus on what’s right in front of us versus ALL the steps that come with getting to the big picture.  This also helps us to evaluate whether our goals are meaningful to us and not just ideas. Try asking yourself some of the following questions to clarify your goals:  Where did these goals come from? Why are they important to me? How does achieving them influence my life?

Not everything needs a timeline

Timelines and deadlines are great for a lot of situations, but they can sometimes be a vice when it comes to cultivating change.  Try to create a good balance of goals with timelines and goals without. This creates space (and forgiveness) for those unexpected things that we KNOW will come up that prevent you from accomplishing your goals.  It also allows you to take the time you need to create lasting, healthy change.

Here’s the deal:  If you want to change, do it.  Don’t wait for a new year, new month, or a new season of life to create change.  Sure, starting new things at the beginning of the year has its pros, but don’t let the time of year dictate whether you are making needed changes in your life.  Starting small, building self-trust, defining clear goals and not setting a time limit can help create an environment in which you succeed at the things you set out to do.

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Sarah Howard

Sarah is a Licensed Professional Counselor - Intern, Supervised by Huston McComb, MA, LPC-S. Sarah enjoys working with young adults, adults and couples.
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