By: Catarina Santos Faria
Psychologist

364 days to transform your life.

It is possible to define goals and set new targets each day, and this way transform ourselves every single day of the year.

Is going from December to January nothing more than a transition defined by the end of a year and the start of a new one? Your answer to this question is certainly ‘no’. You will most probably say that the transition into a new year involves a lot more, possibly referring to this time of the year as a time where you make positive changes in your life. And you aren’t the only person thinking this way, most people tend to reflect on what they achieved and didn’t achieve during the past year. This reflection normally involves setting goals for the following 12 months.

Is this transition a mere symbolic barrier?
Thinking retrospectively about what happened in your life the previous year is important as it helps you setting new goals which in turn will help you to establish priorities. Most people need goals to transform themselves, and this is the greatest reason as to why new year resolutions are so significant in people’s lives. This is the time of the year where people allow themselves to carefully think about change, yet this doesn’t need to happen only on the the last day of each year.

Whilst creating changes in our lives isn’t a simple process, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you may anticipate. A crucial step of this process is setting specific goals as it will allow you to achieve them and feel transformed. This will in turn avoid the anguish, frustration, disappointment and demotivation that you felt in the past when unable to meet your goals which most probably led to you giving up change.

If you really want to make a difference this coming year, let us start by using the word ‘transformation’ instead of ‘resolution’. Think about the aspects that you want to improve and define well the goals that will have a positive impact on you, and that can lead to your transformation.

Your goals must be SMART:

Specific/Priority: define them in a concrete and objective way

Measurable: your goals need to be quantifiable

Achievable: choose targets that you know you can achieve

Realistic / Relevant: you must take into account the resources you have available, and what is really necessary

Time bound/Dimension: divide each goal into small targets and set a specific time to achieve or reassess them. These targets must be staged throughout the year.

Don’t forget that expressing positive emotions for what you have achieved will ease the achievement of new goals. Nevertheless, if you feel that amid all your efforts to change behaviours and emotions in order to achieve the goals and targets set by you at the end of last year, you have been unable to achieve your current objectives and/or new ones, you may wish to look for the specialised help of a psychologist. A psychologist can help you recognise and understand your behaviours and emotions in order to help you develop strategies for you to transform your life.

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