For most of us, the beginning of a new year is associated with new goals and year’s resolutions – the ones that we set for ourselves and the ones our surroundings set for us. However, sometimes it is also useful to look at New Year’s resolutions through the lenses of the previous year. By reviewing the progress and naming what’s important for us we can better decide what we would like to continue doing or eliminate from our life in the upcoming year. Akvilė, a psychologist at the Mindletic Emotional Gym, talks about how to plan out sustainable New Year’s resolutions.
In order to not get lost in all of the expectations and everyday tasks, it is very important to set goals for ourselves, knowing exactly what’s the most important for us and why. Setting a clear goal gives a long-term vision and short-term motivation – it helps us to maintain a broader view of the situation and prioritize what things we need to work on every day. It helps to organize time and resources so that it can be possible to make the most out of our life with the potential available.
Striving for our personal goals protects us from the goals that may be unconsciously or consciously imposed on us by others. People have many different pursuits and even if some of them may be very popular (e.g. run a marathon), it does not necessarily mean it is relevant to us. At first glance, socially desirable aspirations may be appealing, however, it is natural that there may be a lack of motivation for something that is not very important to us or for whom we do not sometimes even have the physical capacity. Understandably, pursuing goals that are simply socially desirable will be difficult, we won’t go through with them and in the end feel frustrated with ourselves, even though it has never been our authentic goal in the first place.
Our aspirations should be as specific as possible – it is difficult to meet goals that are vaguely defined. The more abstract expectation is, the more difficult it will be to monitor and check our progress. For example, our goal this year may be to start running. A goal like this is very vague and can be easily delayed – when will we be sure that we have already achieved our goal? After we run 1 kilometer? After we run the marathon? Obviously, such wording tells us little about the goal itself. However, if our goal is to run 20 kilometers in a month, at any given point we will know exactly how much we have already achieved and that will allow us to better plan in advance. It is also important not to turn our goals into a form of self-punishment for not doing something in the past – goals must be formulated in a positive way, not forbidding us to do something. Negative wording is not sustainable as every time you think about your goal you also think about not allowing yourself something and in the long run, it will cause more and more resistance.
The same principles that are important in setting personal goals also apply in setting goals in the workplace. However, the main difference is that in the workplace the tasks of the company are usually prioritized. On one hand, the common goals of the team can promote closer and more effective cooperation of colleagues, a sense of community. On the other hand, workplace goals, like socially desirable ones, may lead to a lack of motivation, so it is important to mix them with personal ones. This mix between an organization’s goals and personal goals in the professional space can bring more sense of how each of us contributes to the success of our organization. Also, the success of an organization depends on the good emotional health of each of us. So don’t forget to take care of yourself and your needs – agree with your supervisor on the working conditions that you are happy about, work on the projects that match your competencies – this way you can be efficient and motivated, the work will be more enjoyable and well defined.
SMART is currently one of the most popular techniques for setting realistic and achievable goals. SMART is an acronym that you can use to guide your goal setting.
S (Specific) The goal must be specific and well defined, which means that we need to know exactly what is considered a success in this goal.
M (Measurable) Measurable. Specific criteria for assessing that the objective has already been achieved.
A (Achievable) Available. The goal set must be achievable and realistic with the available resources.
R (Relevant) Important. This criterion requires answering to yourself whether the set goal is really relevant to me and in line with my aspirations.
T (Time-bound) Time-bound. It helps to put the goal in a realistic time frame.
Calendars and agendas can also help to break down big goals into smaller steps by letting us schedule important tasks in a time frame. It is crucial to remember that it takes more than a day to achieve big goals – it is a process with ups and downs and we should not forget to stop and celebrate our small wins.
Sustainable goals are the ones that become our habits. They are integrated into our routine and become a part of our identity. Sustainable goals are not forgotten after the first month, we are actively pursuing them throughout the year. In the process of achieving sustainable goals, change takes place not only externally but also within us – after all, the greatest changes in any field start by changing our mindset, developing a more positive attitude towards ourselves and the environment.
Therefore we wish you sustainable, consciously chosen goals that would bring meaningful internal and external change.
Let’s not judge or punish ourselves for the emotions we experience. Look at these experiences with compassion and curiosity. Embrace the feelings you have – they are the gateway to our inner world, our needs, and more fulfilling life.
Want to learn more about how to make your goals more sustainable? Reach out to our team and get a free consultation now.