Original Photo by: Didi Stone
New Year’s resolutions, we have all made them and we have all broken them. It’s admirable to make a resolution, to want to change your ways but these promises are often made with expectations that are difficult to reach. However, we can make self-reflection positive and productive. Every experience is an opportunity to learn whether it be good or bad, helpful, or unhelpful. So, take a few moments out of the busy festive period to explore your feelings and thoughts and learn how to channel them in a productive way to set new goals that will help you understand yourself better and set you on the road to success next year.
Before we start making hasty, unachievable new years resolutions, why not stop to reflect on the past year? Reflection allows us to celebrate and continue what is working and implement strategies to improve what isn’t working. Reflect on how 2021 was for you by asking yourself some of the following questions:
- What were some of the hardships?
- How have some of these hardships made you grow?
- What are you most grateful for in 2021?
- What new things did you discover about yourself ?
- Have you developed any good habits that you may wish to carry on in 2022 that worked for you or are there things you could do without?
It’s important to be intentional about this coming year, what is your new direction? Think about what you are most looking forward to in 2022, such as, which existing relationship you wish to nurture? What you will say “no” to and let go of to make space for something new? Finally, what brings you joy? And how you can allow more joy into your daily experiences?
Be SMART about it
Be SPECIFIC – your goals should answer the questions of what you want to accomplish and why it is important to you. For example, you may want to transition to plant-based eating because it is healthier or you want to reduce your carbon footprint on the environment because you care about living sustainably.
- Make it MEASURABLE – try to quantify your goal in a way that you have control over it. This way you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing progress helps you to stay focused, meet your targets, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal. Don’t rely on someone else to measure your success such as getting a raise in your salary.
- Make it ACHIEVABLE – even the loftiest goals can be accomplished it all starts with a single step. Your goal needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but remain possible. You may be able to identify what you overlooked in the past years such as different opportunities or resources that can help you get closer to it. Ask yourself how realistic is the goal based on other constraints such as financial factors. For example, if you want to get fit, can you afford a personal trainer or a nutritionist?
- Make it RELEVANT – why is this important to you now? Is this goal relevant in your life right now? This step is about making sure what matters to you and aligns with who you are and your other goals. You may need support and assistance as we all do but ultimately you must gain control over them. So ensure that your plan drives you forward by conditions.
- Make it TIME BOUND - Every goal needs a target date so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward. This helps to prevent everyday tasks from taking priority over your longer-term goals. Set yourself small targets for where you will be three months from now and six months from now. What can you do quarterly and bi-weekly to help you get there? What can you do today to get you towards your goal?
Affirmations and vision boards where you can see them every day make a huge impact on keeping you focused. When you write your goals in a notebook and close, you may forget to revisit them and the week may go by without ever seeing or revisiting your goals. Posting them where you can see them keeps them at the top of your mind.
We have found a video to help you create the perfect Vision Board below, vision boards can also be digital using word and other applications. Choose what works best for you.
Strengths vs Weaknesses
Setting your goals requires you to be realistic and self-aware. Knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are beforehand and thinking about what is attainable for you will save you a lot of disappointment especially when starting. If you are not a morning person, then don’t set a goal to go for a jog at 5 am. If you prefer cardio over strength training, then sign yourself up for spinning classes rather than the gym.
Make it enjoyable
Remember to also try to make it fun like invite some like-minded friends who are serious about attaining similar goals to help to keep each other accountable. If making fitness a priority is one of the goals, try find an activity that excites you, like tennis or golf. You may also want to join a fitness group or yoga class so you do not feel so isolated or even get a gym buddy if you cannot afford a personal trainer. Feel free to try out a variety of things if you do not know what activities you enjoy.
So remember, as you ring in the New Year, take some time to reflect on how far you have come and where you want to be. Set those SMART goals and divide them into bite-sized pieces or split them into 6 monthly goals to give yourself time to reflect and make changes before the second half of the Year. Share them with a supportive someone who may also be a trusted mentor and lastly don’t forget to celebrate your wins.