New Year Resolutions almost always fail. Let's set Effective goals in 2023.
It’s hard to believe we’re about to enter 2023. If you haven’t already, soon you’ll be seeing messaging everywhere about setting your New Year Resolutions.
Have you ever made a New Year's Resolution? If you are like most of us, I am sure you have. Setting a resolution is really easy. The hard part is actually sticking to it. So, you’re not alone if you did not fulfill your 2022 resolutions. Many people struggle to actually follow through on their goals. In fact, a study at the University of Scranton showed that 23% of people give up on their resolution after only one week.
If we are being honest, I don’t like resolutions. I feel like some people they can trigger stress and anxiety. For others, they can leave feelings of failure if not met. I mean one resolution can’t encompass a whole year of changed behaviors. Is, that even feasible?
So, if resolutions don’t really work, then what are you supposed to do? We all have things we want to stop or start doing that we know will make our lives more meaningful, enjoyable, and successful. For example, I want to establish more of a daily routine in which I spend some time in meditation, and exercising. I feel the most balanced when I have some time for physical and mental activities.
How about we all try to change the words we use? Interestingly, if you simply change your resolution to questions, they will have a higher rate of success, a study, at the University of Illinois discovered. Let’s try it if we ask ourselves, “How will I learn something daily?” This sounds more motivating than declaring: “I will learn something daily.”
Why does this work?
Asking how you will reach your goal engages your brain toward a resolution, inspires creative problem-solving, and creates energy. It allows you to continue to use questions even in your solutions to keep the creativity flowing. This helps lead you toward more potential behavior change.
I prefer goal-setting over resolutions actually. In reality that is exactly what a New Years' Resolution is all about. So how do you set effective goals? I love the SMART format. If you are setting a SMART goal you need to write it in a certain way. Your goal should always be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. SMART goals have a lot of advantages. For starters, they're not vague. SMART goals are specific, which ultimately helps increase their odds of being achieved. Also, setting SMART goals incorporates your plans to achieve that goal at the very same time. This helps you achieve your goal since you'll already know the next steps to take. Since SMART goals require some form of measurement, they also provide you with the opportunity to track your progress. If you miss a small deadline within your overall goal deadline feel free to adjust as needed.
Now that we have pretty much covered how to set a goal, we should also talk about how we can turn our goal into a changed behavior (habit). Check out the 6 ways you can turn your goals into a habit in the image below. It’s hard to believe we’re about to enter 2023. If you haven’t already, soon you’ll be seeing messaging everywhere about setting your New Year Resolutions.
Some of us look forward to this opportunity to start the year fresh with interesting and productive goals. Others may get a little overwhelmed with the prospect of setting goals and crafting action plans. So Let me show you how to write smart goals. Below is a breakdown of each component your goal should have.
Make your goal specific.
You don’t want to create a vague goal that leaves room for varying interpretations. Consider the “W” questions when crafting a specific goal– Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Once you identify answers to these “W” questions, you’ll have a clear, specific, and actionable goal.
Anyone can create a goal, but how do you know if the goal is actually achieved? This must be quantifiable. For example, let’s use the exercise. If you were writing an exercise goal we could state how many times we will work out in a week. Or, the length of time we will work out for. By giving our goal a measure we can quickly see if we have successfully met our goal.
So you have a specific and measurable goal in mind, but can you realistically achieve this goal? For example, if you have a tight schedule, you may want to start with a more realistic and practical goal. For example, if your work week is 40 plus hours, while your non-working hours are filled with parent duties, working out 5 days a week to start off may be hard to achieve. In this case, perhaps 1-2 times a week may be a more achievable place to start.
Does this goal align with your wants and needs? I feel like any goal needs to be relevant to you or else you won’t stick to it. For example, if you hate to eat broccoli, I would not make a goal to eat more broccoli. I actually love broccoli, but could not think of any other example to use.
Without a set time frame for accomplishing your goal, you’re increasing the chance of failure because there are no structure or time constraints in place. Now that we have pretty much covered how to set a goal, we should also talk about how we can turn our goal into a changed behavior (habit). Check out below the 6 ways you can turn your goals into a habit.
Did you know: It takes 21 days to establish a habit? So a key component to meeting any goal is consistency.
As a Pelvic Health Occupational Therapist, I help all my client’s set their goals for daily life, chores, fitness routines, health, and wellness. Being an OT helps me the insight and knowledge to help my client’s met their goals. The first thing I always tell my client’s we are humans who play many roles. We are wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends). The list of how many roles we play can really go on and on.
So, never feel shameful or guilty about falling off track from your goal. Instead, let’s look and see how we can adjust our goals to make them achievable. I am a firm believer in meeting yourself where you are in life. The name of the game is a success, not perfection. Doesn’t matter how we get there, as long as we arrive.
Taking little steps towards your goal is honestly the way to go. Let’s take the stress and anxiety out of goal setting. Instead, let’s make small changes (steps) to smash our goals in 2023.
Happy goal Setting!!
May 2023 be a year filled with health, wealth, and happiness.
Nicole Muriel OTR, HSP, PCES