2015: A New Year means New Goals ... Here are SMART ways to achieve them!

2015: A New Year means New Goals ... Here are SMART ways to achieve them!

New Year’s – a time to Nourish and Cultivate a New Beginning …

New Year’s is a unique holiday. As we celebrate the passage of time, it is typical during New Year’s for people to reflect on their lives and resolve to make beneficial changes. Every year millions of people make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of those will actually see their goals through. For those who do succeed, it isn’t about having good luck, rather about having the right tools and supports to go the distance.

“Life will not go according to plan if you do not have a plan.” – Unknown

Many of us can become discouraged from the countless times we have tried to make meaningful changes and have not seen the results. Resolutions can work! Goal setting is a highly effective tool and change is possible. Success begins with a well developed plan.

Are you using the SMART way to set goals?

SMART1 is an acronym that provides a handy set of guidelines to help construct goals. Ask yourself the following SMART questions….

Specific: Is the goal clearly stated and the vision well defined?

Measurable: Does the goal have a time frame, completion date, how will success be measured, etc.?

Achievable: Is the goal realistic? Does it have a reasonable chance of success?

Relevant: Why is this goal important to pursue? Can other goals be built upon this one?

Trackable: How can you check and know if you are making progress towards your the goal or if it has been completed?

Go ahead and write down those New Year’s Resolutions, but don’t just put them aside and forget all about them. Maintaining awareness of your goals and enlisting ongoing support provides motivation and critical problem solving assistance when challenges in achieving your plans arise. Let’s face it, the notion of making lifestyle changes and achieving our goals may be simple, but it isn’t easy. You are not alone if you find goal setting and decision making a challenging and at times frustrating.

These challenges are intensified by the impact that addiction has on the brain’s judgement and decision making centers. Research shows that drugs and alcohol affect the orbitofrontal cortex, coercing the brain system and hijacking one’s decision-making process2. Abstinence based recovery offers the opportunity for the brain to regain improved executive functioning. Improved decision-making creates possibility for positive behavioral changes and for personal goals to be achieved.

As the minutes move closer towards the countdown beginning the new year, consider a different approach.

Give yourself the ultimate gift to the start of this fresh New Year 2015. If you choose to work with the experienced, compassionate treatment team at Center For Wellness, we will partner with you to develop achievable goals towards your recovery and wellness. We are ready to help motivate and guide you along your journey of success!

How are you going to Nourish and Cultivate a New Beginning?

1. Based on Edwin A. Locke goal setting research and theories
2. How Drugs Hijack Decision-Making in the Brain; Rick Nauert, PhD, November 27,2012. Online at: http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/11/27/how-drugs-hijack-decision-making-in-the-brain/48162.html

This article was co-authored by Susan Busfield, LPC, LCADC – Clinical Coordinator of the Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program at Center For Wellness and Dr. Gagandeep Singh – Owner/Executive Director of Center For Wellness