Are you planning to make any New Year’s Resolutions?
You are not alone: most of us make New Year’s Resolutions, but unfortunately, only a few people can actually achieve their goals. Every single year, we promise ourselves that we would lose weight, eat more healthy, quit smoking but for some reason, we are not always able to keep our resolutions. (According to Google, 80 percent of people fail to keep their New Year’s Resolutions.)
Why is that?
Because our goals are not always SMART enough.
A lot of businesses use SMART goal setting to define their objectives – and if it works for them, why would it not work for us?
Setting goals brings a lot of benefits. Whether for life or work, goals can take you much further than you’d ever imagine and defining your objectives is among the first steps you can take in order to fight Obsessive Compulsive Disorder!
There are a lot of articles on the internet about how to write SMART goals, but in this post, I’ll talk about goal setting from an OCD point of view.
What is a SMART goal and how can it help your Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
SMART is an acronym that stands for:
How can we set a SMART goal to achieve our New Year’s Resolution?
Making your goals specific is the first step. Having a clear target is very important and this target can be something very simple (now, simple does not mean that it’s necessarily easy). For example, if you avoid going over bridges, you can set a goal for yourself that next year, you will cross a bridge at least once a week. Or in my case, one thing that I want to work on is my uncontrollable door checking habit: every morning, I have to check at least 15 times that I have really locked the door. It may sound funny to people who do not suffer from OCD, but believe me, it is not a fun thing: especially when I am in a rush.
Now, how can you make your goals as specific as possible? By making them measurable! And why is it important to make them measurable? Because what can not be measured, can not be managed. And also, because it’s an amazing feeling to see your progress and to be able to compare yourself to who you were last year.
For example, if you’re obsessed with cleaning, a perfect goal that you can define for next year would be doing less cleaning. However, what do we exactly mean by “less cleaning”? This is where the personal factor comes into the picture. If you clean your kitchen 3 times a day, your new year’s resolution could be to clean it only once a day. Or once a week: but you’ll always need to make sure that your goal is realistic!
This has always been the most difficult part for me. I’ve always been a perfectionist and to be honest I am not the most patient person that I know. So back in the past, I always used to come up with goals that had simply been impossible to accomplish. Such as: I will overcome OCD in 2 weeks or I will quit smoking in 4 days, and so on.
It’s a good thing to push yourself, but you should always know your limits. If you’re not sure whether you’d be able to stop doing a certain compulsion in 4 months, give yourself a year. And if you’re not sure what is or is not realistic, consult your therapist.
This particular step is for making sure that your goal is actually important for you. If you achieve your goal, will it make you feel better? Is it worth the effort?
If the answer is no, look for something else. If the answer is yes, go for it! 🙂
How much time do you want to give yourself for achieving your goal?
It’s extremely important to give yourself a specific deadline – it will keep you motivated and it will make you more focused towards achieving your goals. And obviously, another thing that you’ll need to consider before setting deadlines for yourself is whether those deadlines are realistic. It would be simply amazing if we could stop doing our OCD rituals by tomorrow end of day, but unfortunately, I do not think this could be possible.
My SMART goals
So what are my New Year’s Resolutions?
To be honest, I do not have too many, because I do not want to promise myself something that I know I would not be able to do.
I have 2 compulsions that seriously interfere in my life: one of them is checking locks and the other one is Googling. I usually need to check 15 times if my door is locked, so by the end of 2020, I would like to break free from that habit: so I will check it only once, after locking the door! As for the Google part, it’s much more difficult for me to come up with a SMART objective, but on an average day, I spend about 2 hours on Google (for seeking reassurance and for calming myself down) – so by the end of 2020, I’d love to reduce that to 30 minutes a day.
Another New Year’s Resolution that I have is cutting down on alcohol. I do not think that I am an alcoholic, but I drink 2-3 times a week (obviously,this may be shocking to many of my readers, but in our country, this is pretty normal). So my New Year’s Resolution is that by the end of 2020, I will cut back on my drinking and I will only drink once a week.
What is your New Year’s Resolution?
As you know there’s one thing that I enjoy more than sharing my thoughts and ideas: reading yours! 🙂 So please share your New Year’s Resolution in the comment section!