What Are Ways to Master Recovery from Mental Health and Addiction?

How Do I Set Better Goals for This Year?

Every year people the world over choose resolutions for the new year. These are habits people try to do every day, or habits they may try to avoid as long as possible. Many resolutions are forgotten within a month or two. A major reason for this is that it is difficult to develop or deny ingrained habits. The effort to adopt resolution shows a sense of intention. It helps to work toward them gradually as a process of becoming rather than concrete goals.

Rigid vs. Fluid

Resolutions stay the same. If these are are not bigger changes, it may feel like a huge shift with no buildup to it. Goals can be tackled in steps while resolving to lose weight or feel better are not solid enough ground to gain a foothold on. Making a list of goals is a better way to go.

Accomplishment vs. Failure

Goals provide a sense of direction to which people can aspire. Starting with baby steps rather than huge leaps and bounds. It keeps you moving in the right direction. It is easier to feel like a failure if you have rigid resolutions than tangible goals.

Change

Resolutions are a means to a goal but if you find a resolution too difficult, it may be forgotten. You can adjust goals to lower intensity or drop a plan but pick a different behavior to try that leads to the same end while not losing sight of the goal. Imagine wanting to get in the habit of exercising. If you resolve to hit the gym, you may find you hate it but won’t stick to it because it is not how you want to lose weight. Getting exercise while having fun may be more tangible as a goal to the resolution. Change takes time. In order to create change, you:

  • Resolve to change course when things don’t work
  • Focus on trying to add something rather than take it away (or replacing a habit)
  • Create new habits that work for you rather than drop old ones altogether
  • Break everything into smaller, more manageable goals
  • Think of what steps you can take that lead you to your goals

Increase as a habit the things you want but shoot for something that helps you feel accomplished and not exhausted. It must be something you can stick to. Don’t forget to reward yourself for sticking with it to the end. When you progress towards goals, the progress becomes its own reward.

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