This week we are talking about how we can work on setting goals for the new year in a SMART way. Today I will be discussing how we can be more effective in setting goals that are ATTAINABLE/ACHIEVABLE. Goals are meant to help motivate us to meet a standard for self-improvement or for improved performance. In thinking about ways we can make our goals more attainable, I have identified of a number of questions we can ask ourselves in the process of setting SMART goals, and in particular, focusing on making them more attainable.
1) Is my goal reasonable? Goals should be challenging, but not out of reach or beyond your abilities to achieve them. Being too ambitious will make you feel discouraged and you might give up too easily or too soon. We need to challenge and push ourselves out of our comfort zone in order to grow, but recognize that we also need to be realistic in our expectations and standards. Doing so can help us be able to more successfully reach our goals without causing a lot of stress and anxiety.
2) What is my action plan? How am I going to accomplish my goal? What specific steps do I need to take to reach my goal? Probably one of the most important steps to take is to make a list of what you need to do to reach your goal. It is important to outline the steps of what you will need to do to accomplish your goals. Be sure to start small and work up to realizing your goals. By being specific in identifying what needs to be accomplished, you can better monitor your progress as you achieve each step along the way in attaining your goals.
3) Will this goal meet my own expectations? Sometimes we set goals (with the best of intentions) that are motivated to please someone else. There may be someone you care about who is making suggestions of ways for you to improve your life based on what they think is best for you. Unfortunately, when our goals are externally motivated, we are less likely to be successful because we are less committed to them. When we make goals that meet our own expectations and are internally motivated, we are more likely to have the motivation we need to work hard in accomplishing our goals.
These are just a few ideas of ways we can work on achieving our goals this coming new year in a SMARTer way. Good luck!
Written by Emily Freeze, MPH, MA, LMFT
Emily Freeze, MPH, MA, LMFT is a marriage and family therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Emily enjoys doing individual counseling, couples counseling and family counseling. Emily specializes in women's issues, specifically maternal mental health and reproductive mental health.
Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.