New Year, New Goals!


It’s that time of year again!  The beginning of a new year with fresh new year’s resolutions and a commitment to change.  Do you typically set new goals for yourself and the beginning of the year? How successful are you in reaching those goals?  Let’s explore the concept of commitment as it pertains to meeting your goals.  In order to reach your goals, you must first make the commitment to pursue them. This concept can be difficult.  How do you stay committed to something that may turn out to be challenging?

According to Martin Bolt, commitment means consciously and deliberately getting beyond the urge to do only what is immediately satisfying.  Things that satisfy us immediately we are quick to go after and attain.  For example, when you are thirsty you can go to the sink and pour a glass of water.  But what if you were told that you had no access to clean, fresh water and in order to obtain it you had to go out and find your own water source and then put that water through the process of purification?  That sounds a bit more difficult.  We are most likely to chose the first option because it is quickest and easiest.  We tend to get deterred when more steps (often difficult and time consuming) are involved.  So how do you stay committed?  Let’s take a look at a few suggestions:

Look for meaning in the commitments that you make, you are more likely to stay engaged if you feel there is long-term importance.  For example, college students can struggle with engagement in school until they determine what their major and field of interest will be.  At this point they become more engaged in their academics as they can see the long-term pay off.

Choose your commitments, do not let others choose them for you.  You will lose motivation to pursue your goals if you feel like you are striving to meet them for some one else instead of yourself.

Prioritize your commitments.  You may have a number of commitments on your plate and you do not want to overwhelm yourself, this will lead you to throw in the towel quicker.  Order your commitments according to importance and necessity, then begin to tackle them.

Tell others! Once you make it known to others what you are working towards, you are more likely to stick with it! You now have others watching you!

Review your thinking.  How are you thinking about your commitments? Are you putting a negative, draining spin on the things you have to get done.  Thinking negatively my stunt you from following through.  Try to reframe those thoughts into more encouraging ones.  As you think positively and encouraging you will see that your behaviors reflect the same.  As you check goals off of your list you will feel your motivation increase.

Maintain hope.  You are more likely to keep going when you believe your goal is attainable.  Hope enables you to keep moving towards your goals, even in those moments that are trying.  Hope and commitment are interrelated, they foster one another.

Try and remember these helpful ideas as you pursue your goals this year.  With commitment you can reach them. Good luck!