It’s that time of year again–when we resolve to make drastic and mostly superficial changes in our lives. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The New Year can be a time when we set smart goals towards meaningful changes in our lives that we actually keep.
This 5 Step Guide of smart goals forces you to look a little deeper at why you makes the life decisions that you do especially when they don’t serve you.
5 Smart Goals for Making Meaningful Changes in 2014
1. Change only one thing at a time.
Pick one area of your life in which to focus. If you try and change too much at one time you’ll end up frustrated and exhausted. In my own life, gradual changes have really been the only ones that actually stick. Whether it be vegetarianism, eating organic, yoga, or meditation–all of the lasting changes in my life have been gradual.
2. Identify why you want to change.
Superficial changes are much less likely to stick. Why do you really want to change? Why is a particular behavior not working? What aspects of drinking too much are bothersome? Why does eating too many sweets hurt you in the end? Take a closer look at why you would like to give a behavior up.
3. How does a current behavior help you?
Just because you find a certain seemingly negative behavior helpful doesn’t mean that it’s good for you. But even still, there’s a reason why you’re doing it. What benefit does your current behavior serve in your life? This way you can find a substitute for the feeling this behavior provides.
4. Don’t run away from discomfort.
Now that you’ve identified both the good and the bad reasons why you do something, be mindful when you get the urge to submit to a bad habit. Can you sit with the discomfort that giving up a habit brings you? Maybe you overeat when you’re stressed or have a glass of wine. Instead, can you just sit with the feeling of anxiety or stress?
5. Avoid the naysayers.
If you’re trying to make meaningful changes in your life, stay away from the naysayers–those who prefer that things stay at homeostasis. Certain people around you may benefit from the way things are even if your bad habit is a part of it.