While this may be the season for gift giving and party planning, it is also a time when many set goals for the upcoming year. And while there are good intentions set forth, often there seems to be a struggle in meeting the weekly objectives.
Here are some things to keep in mind when making your New Year’s resolutions.
- Make sure that this is your goal and not someone else’s goal.
Others may inspire you to move in a certain direction, but if you are just setting a goal for the sake of doing it, you won’t feel connected to it. And lack of connection equals a lack of commitment.
- Be clear about the reason that you are making this resolution.
For example, losing weight is a healthy goal. However, it is also important to understand why you chose this. Are you doing it to fit into a certain dress? Are you hoping to have more energy and feel healthier? Are you hoping to better manage your diabetes?
When you have developed a sense of clarity about your goal, you will understand the deeper meaning behind it. For example, losing 15 pounds is not just about a number, it is more about giving yourself a healthy life.
- See the bigger picture.
Many times people get hyper-focused on one aspect of their goal, and if they fail to meet it then they see themselves as a failure. High school students may get rejected from their first and second choice schools but accepted into another college or university. Help yourself see that getting accepted into a higher level of education is an achievement in and of itself.
There are some things that you can’t control. You may have designed the perfect plan, and for whatever reason the board chose someone else. This doesn’t mean that you failed. You did much more than most in even getting everything prepared and together than most people do.
- Very large goals often take years of work, so being realistic is important.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t think and dream big, but remember it takes a great deal of time and effort. For example, some runners train for a few years before qualifying for the Boston Marathon. They are spending countless hours running, literally and figuratively, toward their goal.
If your goal is too large and you don’t have enough time to put into it, then you are setting yourself up for defeat.
- Be flexible.
Some weeks you may not be able to meet your goal, but this doesn’t mean that you should cross it off your list. Excuses are one thing. But reality is something different. If you are truly sick and can’t get outside to walk, then this is different from turning off your alarm clock.
- Do your homework.
There are goals and then there are GOALS. In other words, some goals, like getting into graduate school or starting your own business take many hours of preparation. Understanding what is required of you will help you better manage your time, and you will know where to put forth the most effort.
When I began writing my book, I had no idea what was required to draft a proposal, obtain a platform, and find a literary agent. In other words, educating yourself about what all your goal will involve can help make the process to go a little easier.
- Find a mentor or partner.
This doesn’t have to be a formal business relationship where you set up weekly business meetings, but it does help to have someone to lead you, especially if you are in unchartered territory. The mentor can provide insight from their own personal experience as to what worked for them and give guidance to you as well.
Even having a partner who may also be working on the same goal right alongside you can be helpful. You can motivate each other and hold one another accountable.
- Ask for help.
We all need assistance now and then, and it is okay to admit what you do not know. If your goal is cooking healthy, low-budget meals for your family, don’t be afraid to ask others on social media for their input. We can only balance so much in life, and accepting help can make life a little easier.
- Sacrifice is part of the game.
You can’t get to your goal without giving something up. If you want to have a different lifestyle, then this is going to involve some type of change. And this change means letting something go.
- Think about the outcome.
When you are struggling and questioning yourself as to why you even set your goal, think about how you will feel once you are done. All that you have accomplished will give you a feeling of achievement. You'll appreciate this even more when you remember all that you have done.
There is nothing like knowing that you are on your journey to achieve something very special. Be sure to pace yourself along the way. Things will happen, as most plans can’t be perfectly executed. If possible, remember that you are brave in taking the first steps toward building something new for yourself.
Kristin Meekhof is a licensed master's level social worker and author of the book "A Widow's Guide to Healing."
Edited by Jody Smith