Set goals that match your values
by Lindsay Worley ’13
With the New Year upon us, many of us reflect back on 2015 considering goals that were or were not accomplished. We begin developing New Year’s resolutions and, course, for most of us, those resolutions don’t make it past the first new month.
Almost half of Americans set New Year’s resolutions, but only eight percent are successful. How can this be? A common mistake when creating resolutions is being unrealistic and trying to achieve things that do not align with your personal values. The problem with this is that your goals aren’t built around the things that make you happy. Resolutions are guided by a desire to fit in with outside expectations, rather than what you truly desire for your life and who you want to be.
Even though the resolution may seem right to your ear, it may not hold enough meaningful truth to you, which prevents the resolution from evolving. Consequently, this can lead to emotional wounds that impact our psychological well-being, making us feel like we have failed, or that we are unable to achieve the things we want in life. We start to experience negative emotions and lack of motivation when resolutions are not being reached, affecting our overall well-being and ultimately our happiness.
This year, instead of thinking about a New Year’s resolution, focus your time on setting goals for yourself around the things you value. Dedicate the time and effort toward setting goals on things you want and think you can accomplish that will bring richness and joy to your life. Here are some ideas to help you get started on making your 2016 goals healthy, happy, and true to you.
- Know what your top five values are. Values are a set of standards that help you better understand what you really care about, what you want in life, and what is important to you. They describe your motivations and drive your decision making. Research personal values assessment surveys to better understand what your values are. My favorite values assessment is from Dr. Demartini, a human behavioral specialist. You can access the assessment online by creating an account and filling out the information to find out what your core values are.
- Think about what excites you. After you understand your values, think of those things that really excite you. Would do you love to do for fun, and what would you love to accomplish? When you answer these questions you will feel great; you will be inspired.
- Write them down. Write down all those things that excite you that you want to accomplish. Let your thoughts fly and carefully record and start to plan how you are going to achieve them.
- Prioritize. Now prioritize those aspirations. Which ones are the most important on your list? Which are the most feasible? List them in the order in which you will actually try to attain them.
- Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. This is important.
(S) Be Specific. Your goals need to have direction and they need to be focused. Without clarity in your goals, the goal becomes too vague.
(M) Measurable. Always set goals that you can measure, and track your progress to maintain motivation. For example, you may be able to measure your goal based on the number of hours per week you spend on that goal.
(A) Attainable. Is this goal reachable? Be realistic but willing to push yourself outside your comfort zone.
(R) Realistic. Is this goal realistic and relevant to your life? Does it align with your top values? Identify the resources you need to reach the particular goal.
(T) Timely. Establish a time frame of when you want to achieve that goal to help you stay on track and motivated to achieve it.
- Be patient with yourself. Perfection is unattainable. Getting off track when reaching your goals is normal, and that is OK. Be patient with yourself, and don’t beat yourself up for it. Focus on the reason you made the goal in the first place. Recover from the mistake and continue to move forward.
- Find a support system. Surround yourself with people that support you and know what your values are and will listen to you. This can help strengthen your resilience and get your feelings out and can clear away the negative thoughts.
Setting goals that align with your top values will help direct your energy and connect you to things that give you greater purpose in life. They drive your life in a positive direction and lead you into success and satisfaction. Start creating goals and begin to feel more excited and more inspired to work on the path you’ve set for yourself. Then you will feel as though your life is heading in the “right” direction.
Lindsay Worley ’13 is originally from Sheridan, Wyoming, and received her bachelor’s degree in health promotion/wellness at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She is in the process of completing her master’s degree in public health/community health education at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and will become a certified health education specialist in May 2016.
Currently, Lindsay is a chiropractic technician at Infinity Wellness and Chiropractic in Plover and is also working on her graduate internship with Ministry Health Care Employer Solutions in Stevens Point.
Lindsay follows a holistic approach to healthcare and really believes in primary prevention. She is looking forward to completing her master’s degree and excited to be working in the field of health promotion and wellness and helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle.
This article is republished with permission from Ministry Health Care’s January 2016 Health e-News.