Important Things You Need To Know About: Keeping the momentum going – What are your goals?

Important Things You Need To Know About:
Keeping the momentum going – What are your goals?

By Alex Lorimer-Carlin, EPC Student Intern

As the new year proceeds around us, some of us may feel a bit of drag or friction, as though we’re losing the drive for our New Year’s resolutions, or maybe just succumbing to the winter blues. This can bring us down and make us unhappy, leaving us unfulfilled or even unmotivated.  Fear not! We’ve got some tips to power through the February “blahs,” and keep the momentum pumping to get you through the winter.

Goals

New Year’s resolutions are great to have, and can be a task that keeps us striving for greatness in the first few months of a new year. Even if you didn’t choose a New Year’s resolution, we all have goals in our lives, things that we want or changes that we want to see in ourselves.

What are your goals? Are they realistic?  Are they manageable?

SMART (Bovend’Eerdt et al, 2009) goals is an acronym, standing for “Specific (setting out towards a particular, defined goal), Measurable (what are the steps to get there?), Achievable (is the goal realistic?), Relevant (why do you want the goal?), and Time (what does the timeframe to achieve the goal look like?).”

Do your goals fit in the framework? If not, re-assess to ensure your goals are reasonable and can actually be achieved. If not, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Use SMART goals to stack the deck for success.

Motivation

We all get unmotivated at times! Our internal drives slow down, and we can become more complacent. A very easy thing to have happen in winter, with shorter days and colder weather driving us indoors.

  • Look for activities and rewards that help keep the motivation up.
  • Perhaps making small, measurable goals that you can easily achieve and will help build motivation.
  • Plan pleasurable activities alone or with others to keep your energy and drive up.
  • Even though it’s winter, try to get outside everyday for fresh air (and sun sometimes). This will help your energy levels, decrease fatigue, and improve mood.
  • Create reward for yourself for getting something difficult completed.
  • Try to avoid motivation drains such as late nights, procrastination, big projects you don’t have the energy for.

Habits

Habits are actions we learn through repetition and can be either unconscious or by choice (Vrettos, 2000). What kind of habits do you have? Some are good habits (going to bed on time, making sure you have enough social time, eating well) and some may be “bad” habits (using drugs or alcohol to cope with stress, procrastination, difficulty saying “no”). All your habits will have an impact on your overall mood and wellness.

Take a look at your own habits, or ask someone close to you to tell you a few of your own. Are they in line with your goals? Do they match how you would like to see yourself? If not, start making a conscious effort to stop, change or replace them with new ones headed where you want to go.

Ghandi: “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”

Darwin: “It is notorious how powerful is the force of habit.”

Taking an inventory of your good and ‘bad’ habits, what motivates you, and how you set and achieve your goals will help you not only achieve the goals you set for yourself at a reasonable and realistic pace, it can also help you feel accomplished and increase your confidence and self-esteem. Happy February!

References:

1) Bovend’Eerdt, T. J., Botell, R. E., & Wade, D. T. (2009). Writing SMART rehabilitation goals and achieving goal attainment scaling: a practical guide. Clinical Rehabilitation, 23(4), 352–361.

2) Vrettos, A. (2000). Defining habits: Dickens and the psychology of repetition. Victorian Studies, 43(3), 399-426.