For many, Christmas is the most awaited time of the year. It is a time to enjoy with our friends and family. However, it also signals the arrival of  the new year, which can mean thinking about the things that were not achieved during the current year and this can lead us to experience some level of anxiety and frustration.

Perhaps much of what we resolved to do was not achieved and so we are left  feeling unfulfilled. To fix the house, to follow a diet, to have your own business or to save money… these are the most common goals we often consider. So can we really achieve the goals we set for ourselves? Or do we maybe see them as something unattainable? Is there something we are not taking into account when setting our goals? Are the goals really necessary?

Alicia Roopnaraine

To answer these questions, we must first consider how realistic our goals are. Once our goals are made realistic, they can be obtained once we put our mind to it. When we put on the table what we want or need, we are opening the doors to establishing objectives that we can achieve with effort.

It is very necessary to be realistic with our current conditions and not rush to just say: I will get this or that done! On the contrary, we should take advantage of those resources we have at our disposal and which could facilitate our way as we move forward.

However different our starting points may be, we all have something in common: the need to set goals; doing it is the same as forging tools that will make life easier and will add to our motivation, perseverance and sense of achievement. It is necessary to have goals! Not only because they induce us to action but because the act of setting goals gives us a lot of life experience. Definitely having moderate control of the things we do brings us to a place of mental satisfaction.

But during the holiday season, the worry of closing the year without having achieved grows, leaving us wanting to fulfill all that we set out to do at the beginning but that we haven’t. It is time to put the anxiety on the back burner because you’re not alone and hundreds and thousands of other people experience the same frustrations and the same level of anxiety! Here are 7 steps that you can take to help you with your goal setting and to ultimately give you that feeling of satisfaction, relief and achievement:

1. Work with what you have

If you already have an action plan, do not expect to have all the resources to start. As the saying goes, ‘Don’t hang your hat where it can’t reach.’ It is better to work with what you already have than to be frustrated with what you do not have.

2. Be disciplined

When we want to make a change or improve a certain status, discipline is essential in our approaches. Being disciplined will help us put everything in its place and also facilitate the hard work we require in the processes of advancement. Set a time in the short term and another in the long term, this will help you see the goal as a ladder while climbing it.

3. Do not compare yourself to others

We all have goals but we don’t have all the same resources that we may need to achieve them; some of us have more and some of us have less. You should be focused on doing well, and remember that everyone has different circumstances. What might take you three weeks to achieve another could take double the time and vice versa.

4. Set priorities

At the beginning, it will not be easy to adapt to induced changes to have the free path and work for what you want. It is sometimes important to sacrifice your  immediate desires and focus instead on more realistic goals that will benefit you in the longer run. Setting priorities will give you awareness and maturity to achieve things.

5. Do a self-examination

Ask yourself :

Is this something I really want to do?

Will I really benefit from this?

What tools do I have and what do I need?

Am I aware of what it means to work for something I still do not see?

Asking ourselves these questions will allow us to reflect…and make us aware of expectations and realities.

6. Be balanced

Do not neglect your health (mental and physical) as you need to be synchronised in body and mind. Exercising and having a social life and resting will allow you to have control over things.

7. Be positive

Although working for something has its ups and downs, there will be times when things are not going to work out the way we planned and so we must maintain a patient attitude and not let temporary circumstances discourage us easily. Being positive will give us peace of mind as well as good judgment and the ability to see beyond what our eyes see.

Following these practical tips will help you in your process of achieving your goals. A new year awaits you. With dedication and hard work you will achieve amazing things, so get to work!

Alicia Roopnaraine is a Psychologist at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation’s Psychiatric Department. 

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