The clock strikes midnight and we get to say farewell to the previous year and hello to a new year full of hopes and promises. The age-old question sets in “what’s your resolution this year?”. The most famous ones are: lose weight, eat healthier, get rid of the clutter, quit my job, start my business, spend more time with loved ones, etc etc. There’s a reason why most health clubs are empty by February 1: because we set goals that set us up for failure.
We expect to go from couch potato to Crossfit games athlete in 30 days or less. Reality sets in within the first week that we may have bitten off more than we can chew. Then the case of the “to heck with its” sets in and we are paying for a gym membership that we don’t even use. Sound familiar? Here are some helpful tips to get off the annual hamster wheel of resolutions and failure, they involve getting SMART about the goals we set for ourselves (and they can apply to almost any goal you can think of):
Specific: Your goal needs to be specific (i.e. I will lose 5 pounds in four weeks vs. I’m going to lose weight).
Measurable: How will your goal be measured? (e.g. I will weigh myself once a week).
Attainable: aka Realistic (i.e. I will walk for 30 minutes three days per week and eat salads for lunch).
Relevant: If I lose five pounds in four weeks, I will feel more confident for our upcoming cruise.
Time-Bound: I will _____ in ______ (days, weeks, months).
This strategy to goal setting can apply to resolutions and general life goals. Spending more time with your spouse or children, decreasing screen time for the kiddos (and parents), establishing an exercise routine for the entire family, scheduling family dinners at the actual dinner table (you still have one of those, right?).
We all strive to become better versions of ourselves on an annual basis, if not more often. It’s important to reflect back on past successes and identify what works for you and motivates you. If you lose the five pounds, the intrinsic reward will be “feel more confident” and an external reward may be increased compliments from spouse or kiddos. If there is more weight to lose and you need more time to lose it, plan to buy yourself a new article of clothing for when you reach your long-term goal. There’s nothing more motivating than feeling good about yourself.
Happy New Year from all of us at Palm Beach Family Counseling! If you need help getting started on your new year’s resolution, contact us today to schedule your free consultation.