Susan Gillpatrick Maxwell
The New Year is an excellent time to reevaluate, refresh, refocus, and reprioritize personal, family, career, financial and other goals.
However, there is a big difference between setting, keeping, and of course, achieving these goals and resolutions. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 45 percent of individuals usually make New Year’s resolutions, but only a small 8 percent of this group are successful in accomplishing them. By understanding and applying the following fundamental goal setting strategies, you’ll be one step closer to a healthier, happier you.
Set realistic expectations
Creating a resolution that’s too big may cause you to become overwhelmed and lose the motivation to achieve it. Start small (“I’ll exercise two times per week”) and work your way up to more aggressive goals along your self-improvement journey (“I’ll exercise five times per week”).
Staggering your goals in such a way will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and losing interest in achieving your objective. Take it one day at a time, and don’t forget to celebrate the small victories along the way.
Verbalize your goals and share them with others
Talking openly about your resolutions with others increases accountability and reinforces the responsibility you have to be true to yourself and stay committed to reaching your goals. Plus, a network of friends and family members who are aware of your plans can offer much needed support and motivation to help keep you on track and laser-focused.
Determine what triggers may cause you to lose focus and have a plan for what you’ll do if you encounter them. For example, if your goal is to eat more healthily and your friends invite you to go out for ice cream, make the decision ahead of time to order fat free sorbet or a fruit bar.
Foreseeing potential obstacles and implementing a strategy to overcome them is critical for keeping your goal a top priority. But remember, no one is perfect, so don’t let one slip-up cause you to completely lose focus or undo all your efforts.
Think of goals as ongoing
Approach your resolutions with an open mind and don’t have an all-or-nothing mentality, which often sets us up for failure. Simply because you slipped today and ate two pieces of chocolate does not mean your fitness goals for the year are out the window. The best and most rewarding goals are those that you can work toward year-round - not just for a brief stint in January.
If you need professional help working through goals, barriers and achieving personal health and happiness, Centerstone’s professional staff can help. Whether it’s counseling or life coaching, Centerstone can provide you with the services you need to get on the road to a better you this New Year. For more information, contact Centerstone at 800-344-8802 or visit www.centerstone.org <http://www.centerstone.org> .
Susan Gillpatrick Maxwell, M.Ed., LPC, CTS, is a licensed professional counselor and crisis management specialist for Centerstone. She may be reached at email@example.com
Centerstone, a not-for-profit provider of community-based mental health and addiction services, provides a range of programs and services for children, adolescents, adults, seniors and families living with mental health or addiction disorders.