Goal Setting Tips For Lasting Change

Making plans, setting goals are important. If we set our compass in the direction of our destination, we have a better chance of arriving there. So why do so many New Year’s resolutions fail, become good intentions instead of fulfilled plans?

You may be setting your goals too high….No more chocolate ever again! “Ha! That might last two days”. “I resolve to clean off my desk at the end of each day”. Another sure fire failure set up. Perhaps you’re just not ready to change your habits. Changing behaviors doesn’t happen overnight. The person who quits smoking ‘cold turkey’, has been thinking about it for years.

Addiction research highlights “The Stages of Change Model” originally developed by James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente. However, your New Year’s resolution doesn’t necessarily mean changing an existing problem. Perhaps it’s a choice to enrich your life in some way — more time with family, taking a trip to another continent. However, with every self-directed change, there is usually some kind of discomfort brewing.

Stages of Change

Pre-contemplation: (You think about something that may need changing.)…Gee, I’m on the computer every night until 1:00 a.m….

Contemplation: (Acknowledging that there is something that’s bothering you but you’re not ready or want to make a change) i.e….I don’t like being on the computer all evening. I’m missing out on other activities….

Preparation/Determination: (I’m getting ready to change)…I’m thinking about shutting the computer down every night after 9:00 p.m….

Action/Applying Willpower (Changing behavior) You turn off the computer every evening at 10:00 p.m.

Maintenance (Maintaining your behavior change). It lasts four weeks.

Relapse (Returning to previous behaviors and abandoning any new changes) You’re on the computer every night until midnight for another month.

Transcendence (You’re finally able to maintain your change.) You’ve made it to a new way of life. You stick to your goal and turn off the computer at 9:00 p.m. most evenings unless there’s a crisis at work.

Setting Smart Goals

What about you? Are you ready to take the plunge? Maybe you have something that you’re yearning to do such as join a choir, or a fitness club. Want to change eating habits? How about embarking on community service, learning a new language? Take dancing or cooking classes; attend more cultural events. Each of us learns and grows throughout life. When we stop getting excited about trying something new, life can become monotonous.

Goal Setting Tips

Plan to have an exciting life for the coming year. Take the plunge; set your goals — make them lofty, but not too high that you can’t keep the promise to yourself. And know that changing behaviors takes time – perhaps up to two years. You may backslide; however, it is possible to start over at any time. Keep your goal in your mind’s eye; think it; breathe it; live it, until you arrive at transcendence.

Setting personal or business goals through New Year’s resolutions will guide your course. May the New Year bring you desired changes and a sense of inner peace.