With the New Year right around the corner, many individuals are thinking about what New Year’s resolutions they would like to set for themselves in 2021. Whether the goals involve doing more or something (like exercising) or doing less of something (like screen time), most people will not follow through with their goals for the whole year. After January, the novelty of the New Year and new habits can wear off, and goals slip away. This is not surprising as new habits can take up to 90 days to be incorporated into someone’s lifestyle.
In order to keep up with your goals for the New Year and beyond, here are some tips to prevent your resolution from becoming your rival:
Keep it SMART
When planning your goals, consider the acronym below and make sure that your goal is realistic based on these categories:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
Achievable (agreed, attainable)
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based)
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)
For example, the goal “work out more” is not as specific as “do aerobic exercise” or “weight lift.” However, those goals are still vague. Considering the other categories, a good goal might be, “I want to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.”
Keep it Simple
In addition to keeping goals SMART, keeping them small and simple will make them more realistic. If you have never been a runner, do not plan on making a goal of running a 10k by the end of the month. To avoid discouragement, keep the goals small–you can always add more throughout the year! You will be more likely to follow through, all while making progress and gaining confidence in your abilities.
Keep it Social
If possible, don’t do it alone. Telling others about your goals increases the likelihood that you will follow through with them, even if they are not participating. If others are able to work on the same goal with you, the chances that you will accomplish the goal increase exponentially. It may be challenging to find ways to socially connect in 2021, but cell phone apps can be a great way to keep track of your progress and share it with others.
Keep it Steady
Even if you are not able to complete your goals every time, do not give up on yourself! No one is perfect, so avoid “all or nothing” thinking. You may feel like you have taken a step backwards when you miss a goal, but you can always take two steps forward and get back on track.
If you need help creating goals in this New Year’s season, consider psychotherapy. Psychotherapists (aka Counselors) are trained to help you create and obtain goals, and they can help you identify barriers that are preventing you from making the changes you want.
For more information about counseling, check out our Counselor page here.
If you have questions, please call 616-200-4433 or fill out our contact form here.