The start of a new year brings a lot of hope to people and many are inspired to set goals or resolutions. It is a symbol of new beginnings and having a clean slate. We feel determined to make this year better than the last. We want to get organized, eat healthy foods, and work out regularly. Unfortunately, we are not very good at reaching the goals we set for ourselves.
We fall short of reaching our goals not necessarily for lack of trying but rather it is because we are not good at setting goals that we can reasonably achieve.
Here are a few things that research has suggested we need to keep in mind when we set goals.
- BE SPECIFIC. It is important to make sure that you specifically define your goals. The more well defined your goals are, the easier it is to work towards them. For example, just saying “I am going to be more active” does not give you a lot of direction.
- MAKE IT MEASURABLE. This is how you know you are actually working towards your goals. This includes setting amounts or dates to keep you on track.
- BE REALISTIC. This can be hard. It is easy to set lofty goals because we want more for ourselves. However, we get discouraged when we don’t see ourselves achieving them. This can lead us to quit our goals. But if we make smaller, more realistic goals, it is easier to reach them. It is best to find the balance between realistic and challenging goals.
- FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER. Another good way to set yourself up to achieve your goals is to have others hold you accountable. Having others checking in on you and encouraging you is a great way to keep you on track.
Elizabeth Kraich, LAPC