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How to Set Realistic & Achievable Goals

A goal, such as a New Year’s resolution has traditionally been seen as a great way to set goals and make positive changes in one’s life. But for many people, the pressure that we are socialized into to achieve these goals can lead to real feelings of failure and disappointment, and can actually lead to the opposite of the intended goal happening in some cases.


If you’re someone who feels like they fail at goal setting, whether it’s your New Year’s resolutions or just enacting a new habit, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and that it’s okay to take a different approach to goal-setting.


Here are a few tips to help you set realistic and achievable goals that take into consideration your mental health and well-being:


  • Be kind to yourself: Remember that you are human and that it’s normal to make mistakes. Instead of beating yourself up over setbacks, be kind and compassionate with yourself. If you need to move a date back for a small achievement, then that’s ok!


  • Set small, manageable goals: Instead of trying to make big, sweeping changes all at once, set small, manageable goals that you can accomplish in a short period of time. And if you need to break those down even more, then that’s great too! If the goal was too big or overwhelming, then that’s just information that you can take into account as you reset and try again!


  • Prioritize self-care: Make sure that you’re taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Self-care is an important aspect of achieving your goals and is really effective when built into your daily routine.


  • Avoid comparisons: It’s easy to compare ourselves to others, but this can lead to feelings of inadequacy and disappointment. Instead, focus on your own progress and celebrate your own successes. And do yourself a favour, don’t compare yourself to social media personalities if you are able to. They have teams and editing to make it look like they got it right the first time!


  • Reflect and adjust: Reflect on your progress and make adjustments as needed. It’s okay to change direction or adjust your goals if they’re not working for you. This is your story, your journey and these are your needs!


  • Find a support system: Do you have someone who can support you and hold you accountable? It could be a friend, family member or therapist. You want someone that can gently hold you accountable. If the messaging to you is punitive, you’re more likely to fall out of that habit – because who likes to be yelled at?


  • Remember that it is not just about achieving the goal: The process of working towards your goal can be just as important as achieving it. The journey can be enjoyed just as much as the destination!


Setting goals can be a great way to make positive changes in our lives, but it’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Be kind to yourself, set realistic goals, and prioritize self-care. And remember to give yourself the grace and space to adjust, reflect and course correct when needed.

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