“Are you ready to set goals for the new year?”. Source gentwenty.com
- Take time for self-reflection
- Are you ready to make a change?
- Goals align with your values
As the new dawn is approaching, you’re probably excited to turn over a new leaf. Part of the process of starting afresh is setting goals.
Almost a “ritual” to many, have you ever wondered why do we indulge ourselves in said ritual? Does it really have a huge impact on our lives?
Goal setting is important as it helps us to focus and guides us to achieve our desired targets. Additionally, setting goals aids in measuring improvement and growth. To illustrate, imagine after watching Queen Gambit, you’ve become interested in playing chess. By having goals, you will be able to know your progress in developing the skills.
Despite seeming simple, goal setting can be both motivational and anxiety-provoking. I am confident that you may have written goals at the beginning of 2022. Did you manage to complete all the goals? Yes? Congratulations! No? Congratulations as well for trying! Don’t let this deter you from setting new goals. It is rather common for many of us not to be able to tick all our checklists.
Having said that, here are some tips to help you in planning, creating and accomplishing your goals.
1/ A Period of Reflection
Spend some quiet time to self-reflect before creating your goals. Source Jcomp
When was the last time you took the time to sit and self-reflect on your journey throughout the entire year?
Never? Well, guilty as charged. Self-reflection is a powerful “tool” that can help you in achieving your goals. When I studied psychology in the early days, we were constantly bombarded with assignments that required self-reflection. Initially, I was sceptical. I’ve constantly asked myself, “What is the purpose of self-reflection?”.
One assignment after the other, I began to realise that through self-reflection, my self-awareness heightened. I understood my strengths, and learned how to improve my weaknesses. Self-reflection also helped me to develop my goals. Based on my past experiences, I am able to ensure that the goals were tailored according to my capabilities and my needs in order to grow as a person.
Personally, when I studied psychology, my goal was simply to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Self-reflection has helped me to develop the goal as I realised that I have a knack for making people feel comfortable talking to me. Coupled with my interest in neurodevelopmental disorders, I started planning my future to be a clinical psychologist.
Fast forward to today, being a clinical psychologist, I’ve always emphasized on the importance of self-reflection to my clients. During the initial session, my clients would come up with goals they wanted to achieve in therapy. As the sessions progressed, I encouraged them to engage in self-reflection. In doing so, they can enhance their self-awareness. I found that most of their initial goals would develop even further. The goals tend to become specific and tangible according to their current needs.
Here are some of the questions that can guide you in your self-reflection
- What do you want to achieve in life?
- What does it mean to you to achieve those goals?
- What have you tried previously to achieve those goals?
- If you managed to achieve those goals, how did it make you feel?
- If you did not manage to achieve them, what was stopping you?
You might not see the effect immediately, however, with constant practice, self-reflection can be your best arsenal to curate meaningful goals.
2/ Ready to Change?
Ready to commit to your goals? Source freepik
One of many reasons we set goals is to accomplish specific tasks or change certain habits. For example, someone’s goal could be “I want to stop smoking, or I want to be healthy”. On paper, this is a fantastic goal! It means you desire to make a positive change in your life.
However, the question is, are you ready to make changes?
When it comes to writing goals, it’s always easier said than done. How many of you have written the same goals over and over again?
Have you ever asked yourself, what were the reasons behind not being able to accomplish them? Unbeknownst to you, you might not be ready to make a change.
Goals require effort and commitment. You need to be accountable for your goals. If you’re not ready, you might struggle even harder to achieve the goals. When I was younger, I struggled with body weight. Every year, I would write “losing weight” as my resolution, but I have never accomplished it before. It was frustrating but I knew that I wasn’t fully committed to that goal. As a Sarawakian, who could resist kolo mee and Sarawak laksa?
When I entered Form 6, I was not happy with myself. I am far from being active, and very sluggish. As a young teenage boy, I met my first crush on the first day of class. Yes, you know where this story is heading to. Just like all the rom-com movies, I told myself that I needed to change my appearance to get noticed. That was the moment I decided to commit to my goal! I am ready to make a change. 6 months later, voila, I managed to shed those pounds.
We have to take into consideration your readiness to make a change. If your goal revolves around changing certain habits, we encourage you to read up on Prochaska Stages of Change. We are sure that it will be a good read!
Oh, you may be wondering about the ending to my rom-com. Well, I chickened out and did not tell her my feelings. At least I’ve gotten healthier! That is a win in my book.
3/ Value Based Goals!
Align your goals with your values. Source thehappinesstrap.com
What are your personal values in life?
More often than not, we tend to ignore our values when we set goals. Be it societal pressure or succumbing to peer pressure, at times, we tend to set goals based on what we think as “the right thing to do”.
I strongly value self-growth and I am not comfortable being stagnant. Being in my current field, growth can be very limited. I was contemplating between pursuing my PhD or venturing into a different field. PhD was the safest option, and I guess I am still within my comfort zone. Having said that, it does not generally align with my goals.
When an opportunity presented itself, I was in a dilemma. I knew that if I took the new opportunity, it would match my values, but the idea of going to a completely different field was daunting. To relate to the previous points, I did a fair bit of self-reflection and asked myself if I was ready to change. Just like Peter Parker’s spidey sense, when I decided to explore the new opportunity, my senses tingled with excitement! I knew this path would help me grow and learn new skills.
I am looking forward to enhancing my communication skills further and learning the nooks and crannies of both digital media and the corporate world. I would also like to elevate some of the skill sets I have in my sleeves and adopt them in different settings.
To simply put it metaphorically, our value is the lighthouse that guides our life…boat. Goals that are based on our values help us to stay on track. Research has shown that valued based goals are more effective than goals that do not align with our values.
Perhaps now is an excellent time to review all of your goals for the year 2023!