I think most of us can’t help but to look forward to a new year and picture how we want ourselves or some aspect of our lives to be better. There’s something in the moment that feels so hopeful as one year closes and another begins.
What is it that makes us believe we will somehow want to be different next year? Why don’t we want to be that way now instead? Could it be that we’re hanging onto things that we know don’t serve us well but we’re not ready to give them up because they’re soothing, enjoyable, or maybe even addicting?
Nevertheless, it’s really common for people to make resolutions and swear to themselves that, come January, they’re going to be strong enough to go cold turkey on certain bad habits, or super motivated to adopt healthier ones. Unfortunately, most don’t succeed in sticking to their resolutions. Though they may feel enthusiastic at the start, once the excitement passes, they’re likely to lose steam or interest and retreat to their comfort zone.
Sound familiar? Well, it does to me too! I spent many years making New Year’s resolutions that were doomed to fail. Eventually I figured out that I needed to change my strategy.
The 5 Steps I Use for Successfully Setting Goals
Even though I don’t make resolutions anymore, I still want to continue improving various aspects of myself and my life. To do this, I set new intentions or goals for the coming year by:
- reflecting on the past 12 months to see where there’s room for improvement or what might be missing.
- basing my intentions on my top 3 personal values, which are God, my health, and my family.
- making goals that are realistic given the other important responsibilities in my life.
- not setting myself up for failure by creating too many goals.
- having a plan to hold myself accountable to the changes I want to make.
This strategy lets me understand why and what I hope to achieve, which helps me stay focused on my goals and increases my chances of success. I think it will help you too!
Subtle Things that Can Get in the Way of Achieving Your Goals
Even with a good strategy, unusually stressful or traumatic situations that arise can alter the best-laid plans. However, even if your life is humming along normally, there are still some things that can get in your way—and they’re inside your head.
All of us have beliefs about ourselves—whether conscious or unconscious—that can be roadblocks to success. Therefore, I encourage you to do a little self-survey and ask yourself if any of these (or any other internal obstacles) apply to you:
- Deep down inside, you don’t believe you deserve to be happier, healthier, or better in some way.
- As much as you think you want to make a particular change, you’re afraid to.
- You don’t have confidence in your ability to succeed at your goal.
- You’re very self-critical and give yourself a lot of negative messages.
If you can relate to any of these, start using your journal to address those issues, or reach out to a life coach or counselor to help you work through them. Without recognizing and acknowledging them, it becomes easier for you to sabotage your own efforts, which can discourage you from trying again.
You deserve to have the life you want and be the person you know you are on the inside. As you look forward to the coming year, try my strategies for successful goal setting, so that in 12 months from now, you can look back and be proud of what you were able to do for yourself.
My best wishes to all of you for a healthy and abundant 2022!
For more inspiration, order my newest book, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child: How Persistence, Grit, and Faith Created a Reluctant Healer.
If you’re struggling and need professional help, Amen Clinics is here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.