There is much research into the phenomenon of the New Year Resolution, and most of it shows that most resolutions are doomed to fail. Most of us have set goals at one point or another in our lives; it might even be imperative in the everyday mechanics of your job. Think about the goals and resolutions that you have made in life – were they successful, or not? Why? And most importantly, how did that make you feel?
World peace might be the common goal of beauty pageant contestants, however, the top 10 list for New Year Resolutions (according to the U.S Government) look a little bit more like this:
- Lose weight
- Volunteer to help others
- Quit smoking
- Get a better education
- Get a better job
- Save money
- Get fit
- Eat healthy food
- Manage stress
- Manage debt
- Take a trip
- Reduce, reuse, and recycle
- Drink less alcohol
These are all wonderful things to achieve, but the research says that when we make goals they need to be:
S – Specific
A – Action-Oriented
R – Rewarding.
T – Time-bound
I covered the basics of SMART in last year’s New Year Resolutions blog, but this year I want to move a step further and talk about setting smaller, more personal goals.
Based on both the research and personal experience, I believe that setting smaller goals that are inwardly focused can have the big impact personally and be the most successful. Our inner selves are the starting place of thoughts and feeling; it is how we experience the world. This can even be applied in the clinical setting, such as the practice of reframing in recovery from stress.
The aforementioned goals are bigger picture goals. They need to be broken up into smaller goals and many of them might have hidden personal barriers that need to be overcome in order for them to be successful. Some people may also find it helpful to frame your goals in a way that it appears like you already have it. Here are some ideas to turn those goals around:
- I am kinder to myself when I lose less weight than expected. If I wasn’t so hard on myself, I would be happier everyday.
- I perform one small act of kindness every day. I can’t manage to volunteer a lot of time right now with so many commitments, but I could do one little thing everyday to make another person’s day brighter.
- Every week I make small, healthy changes to my diet. When I make big changes I find it hard to stick to them, so I am going to tackle little hurdles instead!
So what are your goals for 2015? We would love to hear back from you in 2015!
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