It’s the new year! This is the time of year that many use to reflect on themselves and consider the positive changes they want to implement in their lives.
Reflecting on ourselves and identifying what we want out of life can be rewarding and help us reconnect to what we truly value.
Remember, you don’t have to be a completely “new you” this year - but taking time to be intentional about what you focus your energy on can be a form of self-care, and in the process, make life more enjoyable and fulfilling.
For many of us, however, setting New Year resolutions often ends in disappointment and a feeling of failure. This often happens when we are too ambitious and set unrealistic goals for ourselves.
If you feel like you’re ready for a change, take a look at these guidelines for how to set SMART goals for yourself – ones that will hopefully lead to a feeling of accomplishment, pride, and rejuvenated appreciation for life!
S – Specific
When setting goals, we don’t want to be too vague. Otherwise, we may never know if we are making progress or not! When thinking about your goal, think in terms of the 5 W’s – Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Who is involved in working on this goal? What will the goal accomplish? When do you want to accomplish this goal by, and when will the work take place? Where are the location(s) that you will need to go to work on this goal? And lastly, why do you want to do this?
Example of a not specific goal: I will manage my anxiety.
Example of a specific goal: I will meditate in my living room for 15 minutes every day to help manage my anxiety because I want to be more present in my life.
M – Measurable
Goals that are measurable are more likely to produce feelings of accomplishment and progress. How will you measure if your goal is getting accomplished, and if you are doing what you set out to do? Perhaps you want to keep a journal, document your progress, or cross off on a calendar the days that you worked toward your goal.
If your goal is to manage your anxiety, you could rate your anxiety each day on a scale of 1-10 to see if your objective (meditating) is helping you reach your goal.
A – Achievable
Before you start to work on your goal, think about your resources in achieving it. How much time will it require? Will you need to purchase any supplies, and if so, do you have the resources to do so? Are you trying to set too many goals for yourself, or too lofty of goals, and therefore are reducing your likelihood of making progress in any one of them?
You may consider that you want to feel anxious only 2 days out of the week rather than 5, and accept that “never feeling anxious again” may not be realistic. You may also recognize that you don’t have 1 hour every morning to meditate, but you can carve out 15 minutes/day.
R – Relevant
Does the goal you are setting make sense for the space and time that you’re in at this moment? In other words, is this the right time to focus on this goal? Will working toward and achieving this goal make a significant difference to your quality of life? Are there other goals that might be more worth your while?
When setting your goal, consider how it fits in and will be impacted by other parts of your life. How does managing your anxiety fit into the grand scheme of your life? Is it something worth focusing your energy on?
T- Time Bound
Think about when you will start, when the work will take place, and when you want to finish this goal. What’s your deadline for yourself, and how will you know if your goal has been accomplished? How will you measure and track the time spent on this goal? Some people may find using a calendar or checking items off a list is a great visual tool that helps them see the progress that they’ve made.
As you set your goal, think about how much time you want to spend working on it. Perhaps you do a 30-day trial of meditating each day, and then decide to “renew” your goal at the end of the 30 days. Setting a time limit can also increase motivation, as your work has a definitive beginning, middle, and end!
As you work toward your goal, remember that every step you take is progress! Don’t forget to acknowledge little victories for yourself and remember that striving for perfection usually ends up in disappointment. We hope this is helpful for you in planning how to make that positive change in your life – you can do it!
Working with a mental health therapist is a great way to gain clarity on your goals, track your progress, and get support from someone in the process!
Reach out to Revive Therapeutic Services today to get connected to a therapist today.