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For some, the approaching new year acts as a motivator to pause and reflect about what they have achieved in the past year. The new year may also push people to think about where they would like to see themselves in a year’s time or what goals they would like to achieve in the coming year. This is one of the reasons why some may opt to commit themselves to new year’s resolutions.

However, as many of us may have experienced at some point or another, reaching goals which are set as part of our new year’s resolutions and maintaining the changes is not always a simple task. We may find that, for instance, the goals we had set do not integrate well in our routine, or maybe that we were not really sure how to achieve our goals, and at some point we may become discouraged and the motivation fizzles out. In this blog, I will share 5 simple tips to help those who are committing to a new year’s resolution with reaching their goal and maintaining the change. These tips are based on the concept of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, which will each be explained in this blog.

  1. S= Specific

Think of the details and specificities of your goal, so that you avoid setting goals that are very vague. For instance, ‘improving my self-care’ might be considered as vague. On the other hand, ‘once a week, on a Sunday, I will drive my car to somewhere nice, and I will spend an hour reading’ could be considered a more specific goal.

  • M= Measurable

We are more likely to reach a goal if we can measure it. This is because we will know when we are making progress, and we will also know when our goal has been reached. So for instance, if your main goal is to lead a healthier lifestyle, think of what will indicate to you that you are leading a healthier lifestyle. This means that ‘going for a 30minute walk on Mondays and Thursdays’ could be a more measurable goal than ‘leading a healthier lifestyle’.

  • A= Achievable

Give serious consideration to making your goal reasonable. If, for example, you wish to travel more regularly this year, give consideration to budgets, vacation leave from work and other commitments. Maybe traveling every month might not be reasonable for you, but you have a plan of how you can manage to travel four times in one year.

  • R= Relevant

Think of why this goal is important to you. When we give meaning to our goals, we might remain more motivated to reach and maintain them. For instance, if you and your partner have set a joint resolution to hold date nights once a fortnight, reflect and keep in mind why this goal is important to you. It might be that you have thought of this goal because you both have busy routines, and you noticed the need to make more time for one another.

  • T= Time-bound

Set a realistic time frame for your goal. For example, if you wish to lose weight, you could note down what is a reasonable amount of weight to lose in three months. At the end of the three months, revise your goal and your strategy. You might also want to set new goals to reach from thereon.

Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on rebecca@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.