The New Year is associated with new beginnings and people routinely make ‘New Year Resolutions’. As exciting and motivating as these resolutions can be, sometimes people try to change everything at once, or set themselves near impossible goals to achieve. Often, by February, people have given up on their New Year Resolutions and wait until the next year to embark upon change. This can lead to feelings of failure, depression, low self-esteem and hopelessness.
Instead of focusing on New Year Resolutions, it can be more helpful to focus on Values. Get in touch with a couple core values and use them to help set goals or act in a way that will be life-enriching. To help get in touch with values, I find it useful to ask questions like “What sort of person would I like to be?” “How would I like to be remembered?” “What happens when you are not living a life consistent with what is important to you?” It can be helpful to think about Values as being like a compass – they help you get on track and stay there. For example, it may be an important value for you to be loving and supportive towards family. A goal based on this value may be to spend a set amount of time with family each week.
Lilley Place encourages clients to develop SMART goals based on values. Specific – for example, Who is involved, What do I want to achieve, Where, Which (identify any requirements/constraints), and Why? Measureable – Create criteria by which you can measure progress. Think, “How will I know when the goal is accomplished?” Attainable – Your goal must be realistic and you must be willing and able to work towards it. Relevant – The goal must matter to you! If what you are trying to achieve is not important to you at this point in your life, it might be difficult to motivate yourself to work towards achieving it. Timely – Give your goals a target date. This helps to prevent the goal from being overtaken by day-to-day crises.
Try focusing on a few core values and setting SMART goals based on the values. Allow your values to guide you as you live a life consistent with what is important to you.