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  • Writer's pictureDr. Elena Duong

New Year's Resolutions

Updated: Jan 14, 2023

As we are heading towards the new year, folks tend to reflect on their lives. It is normal to want to change some things about our lives, especially if we are not currently living it like how we want to. These changes for the upcoming year are often called New Year’s resolutions. It is also typical for folks to struggle to keep or complete their resolutions.

A way to help folks keep their New Year’s resolutions is to begin with reflecting on one’s own values. If you are interested in learning about values, feel free to click here. Are you currently living according to your values? If not, what are some changes or goals you can make to live your life more aligned with your values? After deciding on your goals, you can start making some action steps to start working towards your goals.

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART goals is a method that people can use to help them more effectively complete their goals. You can create SMART goals for anything you want to accomplish in life, not just for New Year’s resolutions. This also can be used for short-term/long-term goals or different areas of your life you want to change. A point of the SMART goals is to help foster feeling accomplished and successful when you achieve your goals, so it is ideal to make the goal not too easy and not too challenging to complete.

Before going into SMART goals, you can start by writing down your overall goal aligned with your life's values. Then, let’s follow the SMART goal steps and its questions below:

  • Specific

    • What are you trying to accomplish? With whom or for whom? Where, if applicable?

    • Be as detailed and concise as possible

  • Measurable

    • How will you know you met your goal? How are measuring progress on this?

  • Achievable

    • Can you complete the goal? Do you have all the tools/resources to do so? If not, how will you acquire the skills/tools/resources for it?

  • Relevant

    • Why is this important? Is it aligned with your values?

  • Time-Bound

    • How much time do you think you need to accomplish your goal?

    • Be realistic about the time-limit

An example of the SMART goal exercise:

  • Overall goal: Deepen connections with loved ones, specifically Jane Doe

  • Specific: Meetup with Jane more regularly for coffee at our favorite cafe in downtown SF

  • Measurable: I will put it in my calendar once per week to meet up with Jane. If I meet up with Jane once per week and mark it off my calendar, the goal will be completed

  • Achievable: I can call Jane to set up a standing Saturday coffee date to catch up and put it in my calendar as a repeat event. I am able to budget for it as well

  • Relevant: I value connections/relationships, especially with family/friends, and have not seen Jane in awhile

  • Time-Bound: I need to plan a week in advance, so I can get in touch with Jane and rearrange our schedules to accommodate for the standing date

It can be easy to come up with random goals, but it is likely we will not accomplish them. When our values and goals are aligned, there is a deeper connection and reason for why we are doing the things we are doing. It is also more likely we will follow through with goals and its action steps if we truly value/believe in them.

If you want therapeutic support with setting goals for the New Year, feel free to contact us through our site.

Stay tuned. The next topic is "Attachment Patterns and Highly Sensitive People."

Written by Elena Duong, Psy.D.

Edited by Susanna La, Ph.D.

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