Happy New Years Resolutions
The new year brings with it the idea of a fresh start, which can be exciting, motivating and full of promises of a better year. However, the reality is that only a small handful of people are successful in completing the resolutions that they excitedly made. This can often leave people feeling like a failure. What people don’t realize is that these promises and expectations are often unrealistic and unattainable in the first place. Change is a hard process that rarely happens overnight and the expectation that it can is an unrealistic one. To avoid the pitfalls of setting unrealistic resolutions, try these four tips on how to set healthy and attainable New Year’s goals.
Try using the SMART Guide when setting goals:
- Is the goal Specific?
- A vague goal is easy to break because it doesn’t feel tangible. For example, think what needs to be accomplished, how you plan to accomplish it, and who will be involved. (e.g., I want to exercise for 20 min/day vs I want to exercise)
- Can you Measure your goal?
- How will you know you’re making progress?
- Is the goal Attainable?
- Is this a goal that you can reasonably accomplish?
- Is the goal Relevant?
- Is this in line with your values and is worthwhile to work towards?
- Have you include a Time Frame for when you think you can realistically achieve the goal?
Find some cheerleaders
Make sure you have a group of people who support you. This group can help motivate you, help hold you accountable, but most importantly, help support you if you are struggling or feel like you failed.
Practice self compassion
Despite your best effort, it is still possible that you might not reach your goal. Beating yourself up about this is only going to make things worse. Instead, try to learn about why you were not successful and then offer yourself forgiveness and compassion. What would you say to your best friend in the same situation? Treat yourself with the same kindness. Take a self-compassion break with Dr. Neff (below). Or maybe a resolution could be to be more kind to yourself!
Avoid the pitfalls of all or nothing thinking
If you believe that one piece of cake spoils the entire diet, or missing one day of your yoga class means you might as well stop going, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
Check out these resources to learn more:
- SMART Goals – Quick Overview | DecisionSkills (Video)
- Motivational Speaker Billy Riggs talks about Goal Setting (Video)
- Dr. Kristen Neff’s Self Compassion Break | Mindfulness Minute (Audio Clip)
Lunch & Learns for Caregivers with WRDSB Psychology Department
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- Meeting ID: 544 193 0058
- Password: WRDSB
January 19: Parenting Your Child with ASD
January 26: Why Your Child Gets Stuck (And What to do About it)
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