Resolutions: How to Make Them Work – The Personal Side

A family friend once said, “Goals that are not written down are rarely achieved.”  When I first heard this statement I did not think much of it.  Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try.  About a year ago, I started writing my goals down and then referring back to them periodically to track my progress. 

And, perhaps like you, I do make goals every January, though I refuse to call them “new year resolutions.”  To me, they have little to do with the new year.  The goals that I make are simply my life goals.  And, even though I write down goals each January, I also write them down throughout the year.  In fact, I am always trying to think of new goals for each area of my life.  I want to live my life intentionally.  Most of all, I do not want to get stuck in negative life patterns that keep me from achieving the greatest of all things life has to offer.   

While I work hard at my goals and take time for self-reflection, I DO NOT achieve all of my goals.  However, there are some things I have learned over the years that I believe are helpful in realizing goals:

1)      Write down your goals and refer back to them periodically.  I find keeping a goal journal helpful. 

2)      Dream big, but take small steps.  Write down a big goal and then jot down several small goals that must be achieved in order to reach the big one.  For example, if you are trying to run a marathon, but currently only run a few miles two days a week, your first goal may be running four days a week instead of two.

3)      Enlist support.  Figure out what and/or who you will need for success.  Using the marathon example again—you could find someone to run with you for support, you could hire a trainer who has experience running marathons or you could subscribe to a running magazine to learn more about the sport.

4)      Be your best friend.  In other words, do not be so hard on yourself if you do not achieve your goal or take longer to do so.  Most of us give so much grace and support to our friends, but are hard on ourselves.  While we should not set out expecting to fail, we should be okay with not achieving every life goal.  If you are struggling with a goal, try to think of better steps and support systems that will help you fulfill it.

As I said in the practical blog on this issue, it is almost impossible to make and achieve goals if you are struggling emotionally.  If you are suffering with depression or anxiety, or are experiencing a major life stressor, you are most likely using all of your faculties just to get through each day and have little time or energy for goals.  If you are in need of counseling or a life coach, a licensed mental health counselor can help you.  Please call Life Enhancement Counseling today at 407-443-8862 to make an appointment.


Yolanda Brailey