Hello, and Happy New Year from Lindsey Hoskins and Associates! For this first blog post of 2015, I’d like to talk about the opportunities for change, renewal, and rededication to goals that the new year affords. Many of us make new year’s resolutions — but how many of us can say that we successfully keep our resolutions beyond the first few weeks of January?
This year, as an individual therapist, I encourage you to think instead about goals. What do you want to be different in your life, and what is a meaningful, doable step that would take you closer to it? For example, you might make a resolution to spend less money in 2015. Instead, think about what your long-term financial goal is (a six-month cushion in your savings account? Paying off your credit card debt? Saving for a down payment on a house?) and then think critically and realistically about what you can achieve this year toward that goal. Then, break that goal down into smaller, achievable monthly (or even weekly) goals, and plan several concrete steps that will help you achieve them. So rather than making a resolution to save more or spend less, you set yourself on a path to save $25 per week so that at the end of the year, you’ve reduced your credit card debt by an extra $1300. Write out your goals and put them somewhere that you’ll see them every day — this keeps achieving your goals at the top of your priority list, making it impossible to ignore or forget about them. Build in rewards for yourself — for example, when you’ve met your savings goal for 8 straight weeks, treat yourself to a little something (but don’t blow that budget!). When you get discouraged, spend some time visualizing yourself meeting your goals, and take note of how good that feels. Let that feeling wash over you in moments of struggle or doubt.
This type of goal-setting can also work for relationships and relationship counseling. What do you want to be different about your relationships this time next year? Personally, I’d like to spend more high-quality one-on-one time with my husband — no easy feat with two full-time jobs, opposite schedules, and an 18-month old daughter that revels in attention from Mommy and Daddy. I could make that my resolution, and I’d probably do pretty well at it for a few weeks… but by March, it might be hard to recognize that I was putting effort toward that. Instead, I’m going to focus on making that a priority in my life by setting some specific goals. Specifically, my goals are:
- Dedicate one weekday evening and part of one weekend day per week to set aside all other commitments and just do something with my husband that we both enjoy.
- Identify a reliable babysitter and set up a monthly date night.
- REALLY kiss my husband every day (I love this one! My goal is kissing!!)
How do you want your relationships to be different in January 2016? What are your GOALS, and how will you achieve them? Sound off in the comments!
Lindsey Hoskins & Associates provides couple, family, and individual therapy in downtown Bethesda, MD. Call us at (301) 200-5290, or email [email protected], to discuss how we might be able to help you improve your life and relationships.