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New Year, New You? Tips for Effective Goal Setting

Tips to help you on the journey to achieving your goals and New Year's Resolutions in 2023-realistically.

Now that we have arrived squarely in the New Year, The "New Year, New Me" mindset has made its annual debut. Let’s be real, you won’t magically transform into a new and improved version of yourself on January 1st. Nevertheless, there is something magical and motivating about new beginnings and the opportunity for a fresh start. Fine-tuning your goal-setting approach may change how you look at New Year’s resolutions. Chances are, you probably know what hasn’t helped. Here are some tips that can help you on your journey to achieving your goals, realistically.

#1 - Practice Honest Reflection

At the core of setting New Year's resolutions is the desire to be in alignment with yourself and identify the things that will help get you there. Before you break out the pen and paper and create a long list of generic “shoulds”, take some time to reflect. Honest reflection. Goals, intentions, and resolutions should all be for you. So, it’s only right to look inward before setting any type of goal. Approach this reflection with grace and compassion, as this process may bring up feelings that can be difficult to confront.

Questions for reflection:

What lessons about myself and others did I learn last year?

Is there any way I need to show up for myself more in this new year?

Is there anything that I want to continue working on from last year?

Were there any obstacles that made my goals harder to achieve?

What kind of support do I need from myself and others to help me

achieve my goals?

The more honest you are with yourself, the more tailored and helpful you may find the goal-setting process to be.

#2 - Be Realistic

Just because you may have a laundry list of goals, resolutions, or intentions that you are hoping to implement this year, doesn’t mean you have to start them all at once. Change can be difficult, scary even. Start small. Focus on what feels manageable and add in other tasks once you feel more confident in your ability to be consistent.

For instance, if you know ordering food delivery has been part of your daily routine, you may find it difficult to start whipping up meals seven days a week. That said, use what you know about your current habits to create a more realistic goal, such as cooking at home twice a week. An unrealistic goal makes it that much harder to feel inspired to achieve it, so be honest with yourself!

#3 - Consistency over perfection

We’ve all heard of gyms being overcrowded during the first few weeks of the new year. However, we also know this spike in attendance is usually temporary. Why? One of the key ingredients of consistency is time. Change takes time. Unfortunately, Prime two-day shipping does not apply to creating long-lasting change in our lives. Being consistent requires trust that the seeds we plant will sprout – even if it takes longer than we’d like to see the budding process. Consistency also requires us to release the desire to be perfect as we work on our goals. Instead, we should invite self-compassion, which gives us the space to make mistakes, lose motivation and restart again, along with giving ourselves time to adjust to life’s many transitions. When setting goals, try scheduling regular check-ins with yourself or others to build support and provide an opportunity to reassess your goals as necessary.

#4 - Take the time (and support!) you need

With the whirlwind that has been the last few years, the phrase “Taking things one day at a time” is often used to provide comfort amidst the unpredictable state of the world. Perhaps you have experienced unplanned obstacles that have derailed your goals. Or struggled to find the motivation to begin setting goals and initiating lasting change. Whatever the case, know that you can take things one day at a time. The act of identifying the changes you hope to make indicates that your journey has already begun! Know that the journey to making change does not have to be one you take alone. Identifying and establishing support is an important part of this process. Mentors, friends, family, coaches, and therapists can all be valuable support during your journey. Remember these tools as you think about how you hope to show up for yourself in this new year! Happy Goal Setting!

Leave us a comment about your New Year's (or anytime!) Goal Setting. Share with a friend.

Looking for more? Subscribe to the Grace Counseling and Wellness, PLLC newsletter, Saving Grace for insights about prioritizing yourself, having better relationships with yourself and others, and dealing with life when responsibilities begin to feel overwhelming. We aim to empower you to make sense of your life so you can live with grace and wellness. Schedule your free 15-minute consultation here to learn how a mental health therapist can help you realize your goals.

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