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New year… new me? As January arrived, you probably celebrated by making New Year’s resolutions, entering 2022 year full of optimism, and looking forward to all you hope to accomplish. As a therapist specialising in anxiety, I know that most people struggle to stick to their goals. Or maybe you take certain steps, but it doesn’t go as you had envisioned. What began as hope has turned into disappointment for not keeping your word (again), guilt for failing to accomplish something you feel you “should” have done, anxiety from another year of missed achievements and depression as you judge yourself. Why is this? Why can’t we just plan something and follow through?An Anxiety Therapist Gives Tips For Setting And Achieving New Year’s Goals

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. It’s normal for all humans to procrastinate, deviate from our initial goals or discontinue something we start. Though we may not realise it, this may be impacted by the meaning and value we attach to goals, which can be a source of motivation or hindrance. One way to get a better sense of why you want to accomplish something is by completing a “Decisional Balance Worksheet.” That’s just a fancy term for a good old fashioned “pros and cons” list, but it really can increase motivation. It may also help you identify things blocking you from working towards your goals. Try making list for “working towards a goal” and “not working towards a goal,” and then compare the two.

What if you set a goal so big that you don’t know where to start? In this situation it may be helpful try a S.M.A.R.T. approach. That is, an approach that’s broken down into five categories: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based.

Here’s how it works:

  • Specific: The more specific a goal is, the more clarity we have on how to get there.
  • Measurable: Finding a way to measure progress gives a sense of accomplishment and boosts motivation.
  • Achievable: Set a goal that’s possible with your ability and energy. Consider breaking large goals into smaller ones.
  • Relevant: Ensure your goal aligns with want to accomplish in life and your values. Make sure you’re doing it for you, and not someone else.
  • Time-based: Set a realistic end date.

Value the journey

Remember this is your journey, and you’re in control of how much you take on and how fast you proceed. It’s fine to take breaks as needed, and it’s normal to discover that progress is messy or doesn’t go as planned. Although your focus may be on the end result, the journey itself can lead to valuable lessons and experiences. Through it all, honour your journey, take time to breathe, and show yourself kindness and compassion, with an attitude of “I’m courageous, and I will try my best as I work towards my goals.”

If you need to talk to an anxiety therapist in Toronto, contact Your Therapy for more information today.

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