As we're halfway through 2022, let's talk New Year's resolutions. Did you create those?
Many of us make them and we all have high hopes of finally sticking to our goals this time around, but oftentimes we fall short. Why is it that we have such a hard time following through with our resolutions? A big part of the problem is that we don't take our mental health into account when setting goals. In this blog post, we will discuss how to set smart goals and stick to them, while maintaining your mental health throughout the process!
Failing to stick to our goals can have an impact on our mental health. As humans, we desire instant results and immediate gratification. We look for shortcuts and quick methods of achieving our desires. As a result, we put pressure on ourselves and don't create space to allow for mistakes or failures. In turn, we can be left with feelings of low self-esteem, low mood, anxiety - even feelings of guilt. It then creates a cycle as the way you feel and see yourself may cause you to even give up on reaching your goals.
So the question is: how can we prevent this cycle from beginning?
The quick answer - set smart goals and ride through the process of achieving them.
The S.M.A.R.T in "Smart goals" stands for:
S - Specific
M - Measurable
A - Achievable
R - Realistic
T - Time Frame
- Be clear with what you want to achieve
Be precise about why you are setting the goal. Example: I want to exercise 3 times a week to lose weight so that I can feel more comfortable in my body and improve my health.
- Have progress indicators
This is so that you can be aware of when you are making progress and when you are reaching your goal. It can be helpful to set smaller targets along the journey to your goal and have an image of what the end result will look like. Example: I want to exercise 3 times a week so that I can lose 1lb a week to reach my goal of losing 22lbs (10kg).
- Consider all factors
When setting goals it is important to think about all the factors. This includes resources, time, and limitations. Ask yourself if this goal is attainable. Example: It would be highly unlikely that you will lose 10kg in 1 month.
- Honesty is key
It's important to be honest with yourself. Yes, you want to push yourself but also think about your current routine, habits and surroundings. Realistically, can you accomplish what you're setting out to do?
- Set realistic deadlines
Have a deadline for your goal. Be reasonable with the amount of time you are giving yourself to achieve the goal.
To sustain your mental health as you achieve your goals, it's important to remember to:
● Create space for mistakes and failure: Show yourself compassion. There may be days where motivation is low or you don't achieve one of your targets. It's okay to start again.
● Praise yourself for the times when you do meet targets and each step you take. Try not to just fixate on the negative as what you feed into will occupy your mind.
● Give yourself time to adjust. It's important to be patient and allow yourself time to get used to new routines and goals. Rome wasn't built in a day!
● Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you find that you're struggling to stick to your goals, don't be afraid to reach out for support from friends or family members.
● Take care of yourself mentally and physically by eating well, sleeping enough hours each night and spending time doing things you enjoy. These things will help to keep you healthy and motivated throughout the year.
The most vital part is enjoying the process. Celebrating the little wins and learning from the mistakes. Developing discipline and a growth mindset. In the end, when you do achieve your goal, you'll also see the benefits of everything that came with it.
Written by Tanesha