It is common for us to make goals or resolutions in order to improve ourselves for the next year. Some individuals make a promise to change a bad habit such as eating less junk food, whereas others may focus on starting a new behavior or mindset for the new year such as daily mindfulness exercises/techniques. Regardless of the type of New Year’s resolution, we view our resolutions or goals as something that is important and essential for self-improvement, however, sometimes we may try to accomplish so many goals, that we may begin to feel overwhelmed and hopeless So how can we manage our goals for ourselves and the New Year?
The American Psychological Association (APA) emphasizes that the start of the New Year is not meant for drastic character or behavior changes. It is a time where we should begin to reflect and think about setting small attainable goals throughout the year, rather than a single, or multiple, overwhelming goals. Mental Health wellness should be a goal we practice and try to maintain throughout the entirety of the year. The APA suggests that it is not the extent of change that matters, or the speed at which your are changing, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change and personal betterment is important to work towards one step at a time.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that has been created to help guide individuals throughout the goal-setting process. S.M.A.R.T. goal-setting assists in ensuring that each goal is clear and attainable. Below are the following steps for creating S.M.A.R.T. goals.
– Specific: Goals should be clear and well-defined; vague goals don’t provide you with enough guidance and action-steps to achieve your goal(s).
– Measurable: Including precise amounts and dates can help you measure your progress and give you a direct estimate of where you are in relation to your goal(s).
– Achievable/Attainable: It is important to set goals that are challenging but also achievable in order to help increase your confidence in attaining your goal(s).
– Realistic/Relevant: Setting goals should be relevant to both your personal life and professional goals. This will help you focus on what you need to do to achieve your goal(s).
– Timely: Setting a deadline pushes you closer towards achieving your goal(s).
Author: Julia Gomes, M.A, M.S.