I know. Okay. I get it. Here’s your Wake Forest counseling team talking about resolutions. Like. Everyone. Else. Are we breaking profound ground here? Nope. Literally everyone is talking about resolutions this time of year. We often set the best intent and plan to make next year the year and accomplish all our goals. Unfortunately, we also know resolutions rarely make it past the first week of the new year and we end up feeling like big freaking failures. Let’s talk about why we should ditch the resolutions and what we should do instead to help us meet our goals.
There is nothing wrong at all with taking the change of years to evaluate whether we are where we want to be. Reflection can be a very healthy activity. Resolutions, however, end up super restrictive and often come with guilt and shame for not executing them perfectly. Instead, it may be more useful to cast a vision and then establish some SMART goals to help you get that vision.
Creating a vision board with what you’d like to focus on for the next year can be really helpful. You don’t have to be talented to make one either. Look, I am probably the most unartistic person on this planet. I can’t make things look cool. I don’t bullet journal. My art skill level is stick figures. But thanks to the internet, magazines, and stickers I can make a pretty dope vision board. Also, no one has to see it but me. I’m not looking to put it in the Louvre or sell it for $2,000,000 (although some dude did sell bananas taped to canvas – so maybe that is a possibility). Honestly, I’m looking at it to remind me of what’s important. What do I want to accomplish in my life, career, family, etc. Dream big – if you want to travel abroad put it on there!
Set Some SMART Goals
Aw geez, I know I just sounded all corporate. In reality, SMART goals just help us plan and it’s a useful acronym to remember.
S – Specific – what exactly do I want to accomplish? Example: I want to travel to Buenos Aires in 2020.
M – Measurable – how do I know I’m making progress? Example: I’m saving money to go, ensuring I have time off, etc.
A – Attainable – is it even possible to do? Example: Yes, I can make time in 2020 to travel.
R – Realistic – is the outcome possible and did I set a reasonable timeframe? Example: I have a valid passport, there are no travel restrictions at this time, and I’ve set the end of 2020 as my deadline. Now, it would not be realistic if I decided my deadline was in one month and I had no passport or travel plans or money already made.
T – Timeframe – what is my deadline? Tasks take as much time as we give them. Our timeline should be reasonable. Example: My deadline is December 2020 for Christmas holiday.
Eat the Elephant
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
You can also break bigger things down into bite-size chunks. For our example above, saving the needed money can be its own SMART goal. So can getting a passport. So can booking flights and lodging. Having little victories along the way help us to avoid overwhelm and see the progress we’re making. It also helps us not to be all-or-nothing in our thinking. If we set SMART goals then there is room for adjustment. Let’s take saving money for the trip. If I don’t set aside all I’d hoped in a month, I can adjust the following month to catch back up.
Grace Upon Grace
Above all, give yourself grace. Make steps and don’t become discouraged if you don’t get exactly where you’d hoped. Odds are when you look back, you’ll see that you actually covered a fair bit of ground, even when it felt like you took three steps forward and two steps back. By the way, the math on that is a net of one step. You are still moving forward. In our Wake Forest counseling office we have a letter board that reads, “If u fell down yesterday, stand up again today.” Life is imperfect. We aren’t always going to hit it out of the park, but that doesn’t mean we give up.
Can We Help?
If you are feeling super duper stuck reach out to our Wake Forest counseling team . We love helping people set and meet their goals and we’d love to see if we’re a good fit for you! Give us a call at at 919-891-0525 for your free, 15-minute consultation for counseling in Wake Forest NC.