New Year, New Goals: Tips for Achieving your Goals in 2019

Many people think that New Year’s Resolutions are destined to fail, and research tends to support this notion with only around 8% of people actually achieving their January 1st goals.  I believe that the start of a New Year is a great reminder that we can always benefit from setting goals for ourselves and making concrete plans for meeting those goals. Answer the following questions to set yourself up for success and become a part of the 8% of people that will feel especially accomplished on December 31, 2019:

What’s your goal?

-      State your specific goal using positive language.

-      For example: Change “Stop being so hard on myself” to “Develop a kinder, more self-compassionate* way of talking to myself.”  

*I’ve used self-compassion as an example throughout, as it’s a powerful concept that can improve our well-being, and is a bit different than the standard resolutions that people often set. 

Why is this your goal?

-      Identify what will motivate you to accomplish this goal.

-      For example: I’ve noticed that when I’m negative with myself, I lose motivation to work toward my goals, and I’ve felt better and achieved more success at times when I’ve been kinder to myself. However, this is a really hard thing to do, so I need a systematic way of working on it. I can’t expect it to change without dedicating time to it, as it takes time to create new thinking habits/patterns! 

How will you accomplish this goal?

-      Create an action plan by listing manageable steps that you will take to meet this goal and considering how to overcome obstacles you might face. 

-      For example: Reflect on and write down 2 positive things each day; Set aside time once/week to identify my negative self-talk and come up with kinder words for myself; Read Kristin Neff’s book Self-Compassion. One obstacle I might face is remembering to write down positives each day, so I will set a reminder on my phone as I work on creating this habit. 

Where will you write this down?

-      Find a spot where you can look at your goals daily, whether in a notebook, planner, on your wall, or in a note on your phone.

When you will you check-in about this goal?

-      Determine how often you will review and adjust your goals, sitting down every one to two weeks to look at your progress and make a plan for continued success.

Who will help you?

-      Accomplishing your goals is difficult, and finding support/accountability can help. For some people, that means enlisting a friend or family member to check-in with about your goals. For others, it might be beneficial to join a support group or seek the help of a professional, such as a nutritionist or personal trainer for health related goals. If you find that you frequently have a hard time meeting your goals, consider working with a psychologist, who can help you set specific, realistic goals, teach you strategies for overcoming obstacles, and provide a consistent source of support and accountability. 

Wishing you a happy, healthy 2019, filled with personal growth!