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  • Writer's pictureDezerrae Sanchez

Let's say no to New Year's resolutions

As we step into a new year, many of us are drawn to the tradition of making resolutions. It's a well-intentioned practice, often fueled by the desire for positive change and personal growth. However, as a mental health therapist, I encourage my clients to shift their focus from resolutions to creating SMART goals.

New Year's resolutions are notorious for their lofty and sometimes unrealistic nature. They often lack specificity, making them challenging to achieve and maintain. SMART goals, on the other hand, are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This framework provides a more structured and practical approach to personal development.

Let's break it down. Specificity is key when setting goals. Instead of a vague resolution like "exercise more," consider a SMART goal such as "exercise for 30 minutes three times a week." This clarity helps guide your actions with precision.

Measurability ensures that progress can be tracked. Rather than a general goal like "eat healthier," aim for something like "consume five servings of fruits and vegetables daily." This way, you have a tangible measure of your success.

Achievability is crucial for maintaining motivation. Setting realistic goals prevents feelings of overwhelm and sets you up for success. Instead of an unrealistic resolution, like "completely eliminate stress," consider a more achievable goal such as "practice stress-reducing activities for 15 minutes daily."

Relevance ensures that your goals align with your values and broader aspirations. Ask yourself why a particular goal matters to you. If the answer is meaningful, you're more likely to stay committed.

Lastly, Time-bound goals create a sense of urgency. Rather than a resolution like "get in shape," establish a SMART goal such as "run a 5k in three months." This timeframe adds a level of accountability and helps prevent procrastination.

In therapy practice, I've seen clients flourish when they shift from resolutions to SMART goals. This approach fosters a sense of control, boosts self-efficacy, and contributes to overall well-being. As we embark on a new year, consider embracing SMART goals as a powerful tool for positive change.

What kind of goals are you hoping to incorporate in your life this year?

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