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Revitalize 2024: The Power of Purposeful Goals

December 29, 20234 min read

“- goal-setting has some really GREAT benefits!.” - Kayla Taylor

Which personality type are you?:

Excited about New Year's goals/resolutions? …. OR … Sick of hearing about it all?

Either one is understandable and maybe you’re a little bit of both.  It is that time when many people are motivated to set goals or purposeful plans for the year.  I am all for purposeful intention and action, yet goals can be difficult for some people for various reasons.  In some cases, it’s because we are tired or sick of the idea; we get so used to thinking or hearing about “New Year’s goals” that we become de-sensitized to the topic and start to consider it less useful.  However, goal setting actually delivers several positive benefits to our brain and body, including:

 1.      Helping you stay focused.  Setting goals helps direct your attention to relevant behaviours that are needed to achieve that goal.  It also increases motivation (which then helps with follow-through).  *Note: It is important to set goals that are meaningful, specific, and challenging yet attainable, which can really strengthen your focus and motivation. 

2.      Helping you avoid procrastination.  You might be engaging in some behaviours that aren’t serving you that well right now.  Goal-setting (and plans to help with follow-through) can get you doing more positive behaviours that are aligned with your beliefs, values, and intentions.

3.      Helping set boundaries.  We have all heard about boundaries and how important they are, right?  Setting goals can result in more defined boundaries, better organization, and a greater sense of purpose. 

4.      Increasing mental health.  Goal-setting increases optimism, self-efficacy (belief in an internal capacity), and self-confidence.  It has also been shown to decrease stress.

5.      Increasing self-regulation.  Goal-setting helps with executive functioning skills such as: planning, task initiation and maintenance, task completion, time management, self-reflection, problem-solving, and cognitive flexibility. 

There you have it… goal-setting has some really GREAT benefits! So, how do you set goals?

First of all, I like to categorize goals into two types:

 1)  Outcome: Based on achieving a particular outcome

Example: “I want to complete ______ by the end of 2023.

2)  Process: Performing certain actions or processes

Example: “I want to spend 10 minutes every day in quiet reflection and practicing deep breathing.”

Sometimes process-goals are a little more achievable because they may be more controllable.  But both types are valid and can have the benefits expressed above.  For outcome goals specifically, I suggest setting a time frame for completion as well.

 Next, work through the following four steps:

1.      Think: Brainstorm a little bit.  Ask yourself: “What is important to me? What areas do I want (or need) to develop more or change?”  Consider: Mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and/or social aspects of life. 

2.      Plan: Define the goal(s) and be specific. Ask yourself: “What can I do?” and “How can I measure this?”

3.      Act: Try it out!

4.      Reflect: Set times to check in on progress and ask yourself: “Is it working/did it work? Why or why not? What needs to change?”

Don’t be afraid to adjust the goal along the way.  That is a healthy and important part of self-regulation and mental wellness.  If the original goal doesn’t inspire you (or proves to be less attainable than you originally thought), then let it go or pivot to something else. 

Also, you will likely find yourself overwhelmed and less successful in achieving your goals if you set too many at a time.  Choose one or two things to focus on if you have a large list.  You’ll likely find that if you pick the right one(s) to focus on, they will also impact other areas.  For example, when you start exercising, you might notice you naturally crave healthier foods and an earlier bed and wake time.

Are you feeling more encouraged or excited about setting goal(s)?  I hope so, even if it is just one!  It can do your brain and body wonders. 

If you need support in setting goals and following through, get in touch HERE or call 587-333-6349

References 

Leslie, R. (2023, September 19). The importance, benefits, and value of goal setting. PositivePsychology.com. https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-goal-setting/ 

Unknown, U. (2021). How goals improve mental health. Achieve Concierge. https://achieveconcierge.com/how-goals-improve-mental-health/ 

Unknown. (2020). Goal setting. healthdirect. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/goal-setting 

Disclaimer

Our content is for informational and educational purposes and is not a replacement for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you're facing mental health concerns, please seek help from a qualified professional for personalized guidance. Every individual's situation is unique, so use the information here at your discretion. While we strive for accuracy, the field of psychology is ever-evolving, and our content may not always reflect the latest research. Please prioritize your privacy by avoiding sharing personal information in comments or interactions. Your well-being is our top concern, so use our content for educational purposes, but remember to rely on professionals for your specific needs. 

 


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Kayla Taylor

Kayla Taylor is a Registered Psychologist in Alberta. She is the co-owner of Sano State Taylored Psychology Inc. and she practices in Calgary.

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