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Setting intentions and goals

We all have dreams - let's make a plan to get there!

Pretty much everyone has an opinion about what the “New Year” is supposed to spark for people. Many take the opportunity of a fresh calendar year to set new goals, add positive habits or reflect upon what has happened thus far in the year (or in 2020’s case, perhaps the decade?).

The truth is, we’re able to set goals or add new habits at any time. The drive to do so now, however, can be infectious seeing (especially on social media) many around us making resolutions or putting forth plans and intentions. It’s all code for the same thing, goal setting.

The process of setting a goal setting doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Often times it’s imagining where you’d want to be in a perfect world and working backward from there. For example, if by the end of 2020 you want to be skilled in practicing yoga, starting with a mental image, perhaps you in triangle pose with great lines and balance, allows you to work backward of where to start.

If the overall big picture is hard to pin down, a more fluid task, like creating a vision board with the help of art therapist Mari Lynn, may be up your alley! We're hosting an event to help get 2020 off in the direction you set! Click here for more details!

Setting a goal that you want to achieve in a year would be what is called a Long Term Goal, and that’s met by setting smaller Short Term Goals.

Commonly we encourage folks to set SMART goals for both Long Term and Short Term Goals. We’ll keep with our yoga example as we work through what SMART means.

S-Specific – Use clear language about what it is you’re trying to achieve. The goal of “I want to do yoga” isn’t very specific, though it can be a jumping-off point if you apply SMART to it.

M- Measurable – In goal setting we’re looking for times, amounts, how many days, how often – things that you can track to make sure you’re working towards the goal. “I would like to be able to complete a 60-minute yoga practice” or “I will practice yoga 3x per week.”

A – Attainable/Achievable – Deciding you want to become a yogi master in a year when you’ve never practiced yoga before is likely an unattainable goal. More reasonable would be “I want to complete a 60-minute yoga practice by the end of 2020.”

R – Reasonable/Realistic – If you have 3 children under the age of three, carving out 60 minutes to devote to yoga might be unreasonable to your current life situation. This goal is about taking a look at your life, and understanding what fits within the constraints you have. Maybe “I’ll practice yoga 4x per week for a minimum of 10 minutes per day” is more reasonable and does still push you in the direction of becoming more skilled.

T – Timely/Time Based – Giving a deadline or scheduled check-ins for a larger goal helps identify hurdles and stumbling blocks and allows for the shorter-term goals for the larger goal to be adjusted to fit what you need. If you set a long-term goal of “I will be completing 60-minute yoga sessions 5x per week” with a short-term goal of “I will practice for 20 minutes 5x per week.” But find after a month (short-term check-in!) that you’re only achieving 10 minutes 3x per week, that long-term goal may need to be adjusted or you may want to address what’s getting in the way of the short-term goal.

Goal setting individually can be powerful but challenging so sometimes it is helpful to work with others, setting goals and working towards them collectively. It can provide accountability, support, and problem-solving.

If the changes you’re looking to make are bigger or setting goals just is a struggle, consider working with a professional to help you.

You don’t have to do this alone. Call us at 234-466-6247 and schedule an appointment with one of our excellent counselors. They can help you figure out a plan to get you where you want to go and provide support along the way.


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