January is often a time of reflection and pondering. We think about the prior year and what we accomplished. We reflect on the goals we achieved and the ones we ignored 11 months ago. Gyms are bursting at the seams in January but often go back to a regular flow in late February. Sometimes our goals can be difficult to achieve and to track.
Some people dislike "New Year's Resolutions." I often hear the argument that January 1st is just another day of the year. I think some dislike them because we have had such little success with follow through in the past that we automatically think the setting of goals is pointless. My view is somewhere in the middle. I believe that many people set goals which are not realistic or achievable which defeats the purpose. I would like to share with you what has worked for me.
Concept #1: Reduce the number of goals you set.
I think the reason why many individuals fade in their motivation to achieve their goals has to do with the concept of multi-tasking. The human brain is not meant to multi-task. We are much more efficient if we focus on one thing at a time. This is why we should not text and drive! In my opinion, we are much more likely to achieve our goals if we focus in on just a few of them.
Concept #2: Write them down.
A goal that is not written down is not a goal. It's a wish or a thought. We need to write the goals down somewhere where we see them often. I personally use the 'notes' app on my Iphone to track my goals. Some like to post their goals on their bulletin board or in their closet. Find what works for you. This allows you to track your progress and remember what you are working on and trying to achieve.
Concept #3: Make them matter.
I like to really ponder and consider what goals I want to work on. If the goal is superficial and constructed on the spur of the moment, one is likely to lose motivation quickly. Typically I am able to come up with a few things I really want to achieve or work on if I carefully ponder my life.
Concept #4: Check them off.
I am a believer in the power of checklists. Checking off an accomplishment brings feelings of satisfaction and achievement. When I have accomplished a goal it feels good to check off the goal and know that you truly did it.
My hope is we will all find a few goals this year that really can make a difference in our lives. More importantly, I hope we can formulate a good plan and stick with that plan until we have accomplished our goal.
Matt Erickson, LCSW, Clinical DirectorLogan River Academy