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February Motivation: How to Maintain New Year Goals

By Bethany Jackson

Overview: In the midst of February, the initial fervor of the New Year may start to wane, and the resolutions we set with such enthusiasm might begin to feel like distant aspirations. Yet, this is precisely the moment when our commitment to those goals is most crucial. As we navigate through this pivotal time, it's essential to reassess our strategies, rekindle our motivation, and renew our dedication to the journey of self-improvement. Let's delve into some insightful tips to maintain momentum and stay on track with our goals in February.

A New Year always feels like an opportune time to begin new habits and make a concerted effort to eliminate old, nonproductive ones. Setting an intention to do more or less of something to improve an area of your life is commendable. Some experts say that simply making a goal creates a positive trajectory for improvement. While casting a vision for success and positive change is admirable, setting too lofty of a goal is often the primary reason resolutions become unsustainable. We can place such an emphasis on the result that we underestimate our need to cultivate the internal resources to produce positive outcomes. Here are a few tips to help maintain your New Year goals.

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Fight back against what's holding you back.

Start small and S.M.A.R.T:

As the old saying goes," There's only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time." Breaking a goal into bite-size pieces is one way to improve success. Consider your overall goal and make small changes that position you to achieve it. I have a personal goal to become a more punctual person. While my overarching goal is to be on time, one small change I will begin implementing is setting a timer for when I should leave with a 5-minute grace period.  

Create a SMART goal; the acronym S.M.A.R.T stands for: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. Examine your goals against each category to determine their feasibility. If you find that your goal doesn't fit these criteria, don't get rid of the goal altogether, but consider the outcome you desire and develop new ideas around what it takes to formulate your goals to fit into each category.

Writing your goals down increases the likelihood of achievement by 50%. This percentage is bound to increase when you plan how to achieve them. A road map helps you stay on track, even if you sometimes veer off course. The goal is progress, not perfection. I think there's some truth to the adage "failing to plan is a plan to fail." When we don't have a clear enough framework for attaining our goals, it is much easier to lose sight of our "why" and "how."

Don't be afraid to start again:

Once we fail to reach a goal, feel like we're not making the progress we'd like, or just not executing flawlessly the way we've envisioned, we sometimes throw the whole goal away. I want to empower you to feel ok starting again. To become well versed in anything takes time and practice. Often, our goals are something we haven't done before or need to do better.

Small changes lead to bigger changes, which eventually become lifestyle changes. Anytime of the year is ideal for taking steps toward positive self-improvement, so if you find that by March, you're no longer making an effort towards your goals or that you've fallen off the bandwagon, there is nothing wrong with revisiting square one and giving it another shot!

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Stay disciplined even when you're no longer motivated: Our enthusiasm for change and motivation are usually very high when initially creating a goal. Setting our sights on change and the tangible progress we experience can heighten our motivation. But what do we do when our motivation wears off? If we rely solely on motivation, many of us are vulnerable to falling behind and forfeiting our gains. Cultivating discipline is a critical factor in meeting and maintaining goals. One's commitment undergirds discipline.

Discipline isn't relegated to feelings or external motivating factors. It comes easier for some than others; therefore, discipline is a muscle that requires developing, and developing discipline can be a task in itself. Self-discipline begins with altering our mindset, and one way to do that is to challenge ourselves to do hard things.

Training ourselves to move outside our comfort zone shifts our self-perception and increases our self-efficacy. Leveraging the sense of accomplishment from doing hard or uncomfortable things can give us the momentum to do more. Success breeds success, so capitalize on the success of a small accomplishment and keep moving forward!

In conclusion, embarking on New Year resolutions requires more than just setting lofty goals; it demands a strategic approach and unwavering commitment. By starting small and employing the SMART goal framework, individuals can incrementally work towards their objectives while staying grounded in reality. Moreover, it's crucial to embrace the idea of starting over if necessary and to maintain discipline even when motivation wanes.

Remember, progress is a journey, not a destination, and every step forward, no matter how small, contributes to long-term success. So, stay focused, stay disciplined, and keep moving forward towards your aspirations. With dedication and perseverance, you'll find yourself achieving your goals and living the life you desire.

As a team of faith-based counselors serving the Atlanta area, it brings us immense joy to walk alongside individuals who are committed to finishing the race of life well. Regardless of where you find yourself on this journey, know that you are not alone. Your desire for healing is both valid and achievable.

I encourage you to think about the things that hold you back in life. What stops you from showing up as the person you want to be? What hinders you from experiencing your relationships in a fulfilling way? When did you start to feel this way?

Now, think about the reasons you have never tried therapy. Might they all boil down to certain fears that you have had for as long as you can remember? Can you trace back the feeling of shame, or being stuck, or not being valuable enough back to a certain memory from the past?

Once again, it is never too late to heal. It is NEVER too late for you. And God would never give up on you, so don't give up on yourself!

Remember this: Your journey toward healing is a testament to your resilience and the unwavering love of a higher power. Embrace it, embrace yourself, and know that the best is yet to come.

Begin Working With A Therapist to Reach Your Goals in Marietta, GA

Please consider reaching out to a qualified therapist. Our team of caring therapists would be honored to offer support with in-person and online services from our Marietta, GA-based practice. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:

Other Services Offered at Remain Connected Counseling

Our team knows you may experience other issues in your life. This is why we are happy to offer a variety of services including teen therapyanxiety treatment, and EMDR therapy. In addition, we also offer life transitions therapy and depression counseling, and more all under a Christian counseling lens. By using online therapy, these services are available to anyone in Georgia. Learn more about our team of dedicated therapists and contact us for more information.

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