We have all fallen victim to the cliché personal rebrand of the holiday season, “New year, new me!” With 2022 resolutions on the horizon, here are my thoughts as a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) who helps people set achievable and confidence boosting goals.
Many times, our goals are big, broad, and vague. When we fail to at our big and broad resolutions time and time again, What does “new me” mean anyway? Working towards your goal(s) starts with planning, if you’re a planner like me, this could be the most exciting part. If you aren’t, it’s ok, let me help.
Let’s start at the beginning, say your goal for 2022 is to “spend more time with family”. Great, now let’s break it down as a SMART goal. The SMART method, introduced by George T. Doran, will help us build our goal roadmap.
Specific: This is where you answer the “what” of your goal in a clear and descriptive way
ex: The initial broad goal “I want to spend more time with family” could use more clarity and description. To break it down into smaller and more manageable goals, I could say, “I want to have more family dinners.”
Measurable: Now think about how you will know you have reached your goal. Identify a metric or numeric way to track your goal.
ex: “I want to have family dinners three out of seven nights a week.”
Attainable: Reality check-in! Are you shooting for the moon, but making sure you have the support, resources, buildable knowledge, and time to do so?
ex: “Yes, we already have family dinner two times a week at the least as a family.”
Relevant: Does this goal align with who you are? Is it significant enough to be motivated to accomplish?
ex: “Yes! It is part of a broader goal to spend more time together as a family, which I value and teach my kids too as well”
Time-Bound: When do you want to conclude this goal by? Is it a goal achievable within a week? A month? A year? Having a set day to accomplish this goal can help motivate you to get it done.
ex: “My oldest is headed to college in August, so I we have eight months until we have to revisit this goal.”
New SMART Goal: I want to have three family dinner nights a week for eight months!
Sometimes, once you get to the “measurable” section, your goal may not lend itself to being measured. You may have to go back and really think about the how and what of your main goal a little more, it takes practice. Another important thing to note while creating goals is to remember that future you is still YOU. After a couple of incredibly trying years this world has experienced, make sure to give yourself plenty of grace and even more time to build the habits you are hoping for.
Inevitably, we all stray off the path and face obstacles on the way to achieving goals. Think of it as an opportunity to regroup and re-strategize with the things you have learned instead of viewing it as a failure. Of course, goal setting is more nuanced than this article could ever contain – however, I hope this gives you a starting point to start accomplishing your new year resolutions!