With the new year now upon us and the beginning of what many view as a fresh start and opportunity to strive towards their goals, for some this annual calendar change can bring feelings of regret, represent failure and provoke many other negative emotions.
We often hear people say ‘new year, new me’. I have titled this article ‘New year, who me?’ as I believe many of us may sometimes be inclined to disregard advice or guidance given for change and goal setting and think ‘yeah those are good tips but I wouldn’t be able to do that because ________________________’
and you can fill in the blank.
How often do we deny ourselves the ability to move forward because we answer with statements such as the one where I’ve just asked you to fill in the blank? Is that statement true? Is there an alternative possibility?
New year, new me! Who, ME?!
Yes you. This article is for YOU, for ME, for ANYBODY willing and wanting to create change within their life from big things to small. Whatever it is - change is possible, BUT it does require action. Read on to discover practical tips and advice on how to establish your goals and strive towards them effectively.
4 Tips for Goal Setting
S.M.A.R.T Goals When working with clients I like to use this method to aid myself and my clients in establishing their goals and I think it is a good starting point. This acronym requires us to S - be specific, clear and concise on what the goal is. M - measurable - how will we measure and track goal progress? A - achievable - is the goal achievable? Goals can be challenging but we want to make sure the goal is currently achievable. R - relevant - set goals that are relevant to your overall life plan. For the R section I also like to follow on from the last section ‘achievable’ in asking a client, is this goal realistic?, this is good to establish and avoid disappointment if the goal isn’t achieved. T - timeframe - attach a structured plan and finish time/date for the goal and when we want to see goal completion.
Our goals should have importance to us Often, we can let what others are doing and striving towards have an impact on us to the point of making us want similar things that we see they have. However, while in some cases this may be harmless, it is important that the things you are striving towards are important to YOU and not just because you want to ‘fit in’. Establishing why your goal is important to you and what it would mean for you to achieve it or not achieve it can also be very helpful in establishing your goal oriented road map.
Our goals should be in line with our core values The term ‘self concordant’ is one used by psychologists in describing goals that pertain the ability to satisfy our core values. Studies show that people are more likely to achieve self concordant goals based around their core values as opposed to those who chase after goals based around wealth and status. As part of therapy with clients I always spend a session or two establishing and defining what their core values personal to them are. If this is something you would like help with, please get in touch.
The goal should be viewed as a challenge and not a THREAT It is ok for your goal to seem a little daunting, I mean, to be fair - what challenge isn’t... challenging? However - when we view our goals through a lens of seeing them as a threat, this will usually lead to avoidance, which ultimately will lead you to feeling like you have failed. The good news is, the above is a perception which can be changed. Often, anxiety skews our perception and makes us more inclined to see the negative as opposed to the positive. When working with clients using CBT, I often suggest trying to find alternatives and attempting to see the goal for what it is as opposed to through an anxious eye. Recognising you feel threatened is important, but ask yourself these questions: can we reframe this to be viewed more as a challenge than a threat? Why do you view it as a threat? Is it actually a threat and pose real danger? Could this be anything other than a threat? Here is an example of the difference between a threat and a challenge Threat: I need to study way more or else I’ll fail the whole semester if I don’t. Challenge: I need to create a new study routine for myself so I can become the type of student I want to be and pass this semester.
If you find goal setting and commitment to your goals difficult, rest assured you are not alone in feeling this way. I do hope that this article has given you an opportunity to reflect on the possibilities for this coming year 2021.
Understandably, our world looks quite different to what we would ideally like it to be, however - despite this, goal success and good mental health is still possible. If you would like professional help with goal setting or any other personal or mental health related area, please feel free to get in touch by email on email@example.com or using our contact us section on our website,
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a peaceful and Happy New Year 2021 from myself and Evolve Mental Health. God bless.