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Christian Counseling - Goal Setting

"The difference between a goal and a dream is the written word." - Gene Donohue


As we approach the new year, many of us are coming up with resolutions for the coming year. At one time or another, I would imagine that all of us have had a new year's resolution or two. Whether they involve losing weight (my personal favorite), or more consistent time with God, or a multitude of others, we all have had the best of intentions. However, most of us have fallen far short of our intended mark. There are many reasons why. The question is, how can we potentially make this year different? Here are 5 tips as you set your New Year's resolutions using the acronym S.M.A.R.T. To have effective goals, they must be:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Reasonable
Time bound

Let's take exercise as an example. I am using exercise as an example rather than weight loss, because our goals ought to be things over which we have control. We cannot control the numbers on the scale, but we can control what we put in our bodies and how much we exercise. An example of a bad goal statement regarding exercise would be, "I want to exercise more." This is incredibly vague as a goal, and success our failure in achieving this goal is up for interpretation.

A good goal statement would be, "I plan to exercise 3 times per week for 1/2 hour each time for the next month." The goal of exercising 3times per week for 1/2 hour each time is specific, measurable, and time bound. Perhaps most importantly, by making it only 3 days per week and having it last for 1 month, the goal is attainable and reasonable. Many people, when choosing goals, shoot too high or too far. They set themselves up for failure.

I know that the goal of exercising 3 days per week for 1/2 hour does not seem nearly grandiose enough. How far have grandiose goals gotten you in the past? It takes about a month for something that we do to become a habit. If you can keep to a reasonable goal for a month, the chances are significantly increased that you will be able to continue. Sometimes there are emotional roadblocks that we must face in order to achieve our goals. If that is the case for you, I would recommend potentially seeking therapy as a means to work through these issues.

A few other reminders, here are some things to avoid:
1. Drastic Language - "I will never..."
2. Negative Goals - "I want to stop procrastinating."

Finally, when you set your goal, TELL SOMEONE!! Don't worry, telling someone does not make your goal a legally binding contract, but it does help to make it real. You may even be able to encourage one another and grow in your experience of Christian community.

Good luck! Contact me if you need help with setting your goals. Hopefully this can be a year of change for all of us. God bless.




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