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Setting Goals

As the thrill of New Year has passed, you may be feeling like you’re stuck in limbo; you haven’t achieved your New Year’s resolutions yet and neither have you abandoned them completely. Typically, we find ourselves setting goals that are not attainable and have no real time frame, so we often give up on them as January passes. Psychologists believe that our goals should be S.M.A.R.T1:

  • Specific – Ensure that your goals are well-defined and focused.
  • Measurable – Before you set your goals, make sure you will be able to clearly identify when you have achieved them.
  • Attainable – Ask yourself whether you have the resources and the ability to reach your goals.
  • Relevant – Your goals should be oriented around your needs and worth your time working towards it.
  • Time-based – By setting a time frame, you will be more motivated to achieve them and less likely to give up on your goals.

This year, only 1 in 5 people have made a New Years’ resolution 2. If you’re one of those people that don’t make any New Years’ goals or find it difficult to maintain one, here are some tips on how to help you set yourself goals and maintain them.

Step 1 – Check in with your motivations and ask yourself, why do you want to achieve this goal? If you find that you are struggling to come up with a ‘Why’, you might struggle to stick with your goal! One common resolution that people tend to set is to stay active throughout the year. Here are some of the reasons why this goal is important:

Being physically active can result in several long-term health benefits, including a reduced risk of developing depression by 30%3. Research also suggests that exercise can act as a buffer for cognitive decline and lower the risk of suffering from dementia in later life.

It is recommended that you should exercise for 150 minutes per week so that you benefit from the long-term implications of exercise; this would equate to 30 minutes five times a day. In order to achieve this, you could aim to walk/cycle to work throughout February. Alternatively, if you don’t like the cold, challenge yourself to try a new sport for the next four weeks. Make sure you pick something that you feel able to do and remember to ask yourself, what are trying to gain from this? Exercise can also produce immediate benefits too! Research suggests that walking for 15 to 30 minutes a day can help boost your mood. Likewise, it can help make you feel more awake and calmer 4.

Step 2 – Define what S.M.A.R.T goal is and write it down! By ensuring that you develop S.M.A.R.T. goals, you are less likely to give up on them and maintain a positive mindset that is needed to keep you motivated.

Step 3 – Make yourself accountable to someone – tell a friend or family what your goals are. Alternatively, buddy up with someone and join the gym today. This can keep you motivated so that you continue to work on your goal.

Step 4 – Be kind to yourself – it takes time to get into the habit of regularly achieving your goal. Remember, if you don’t manage to go for a run, or cycle to work one day, tomorrow is a new day to have another go.

Make February your new January and have a go at working on your new S.M.A.R.T goals.

  1. https://www.briantracy.com/blog/personal-success/smart-goals/
  2. https://yougov.co.uk/topics/lifestyle/articles-reports/2018/12/31/only-one-five-intend-make-new-years-resolutions-20
  3.  https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-health-benefits/ 
  4. https://www.mytherapyapp.com/blog/overcome-depression-uk-infographic-2017

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