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Ditch the Resolution: The Art of Creating an Attainable Goal in the New Year

Have you already set a resolution for this New Year? Or are you trying to figure one out? It’s the time of year when we’re bombarded with making that annual resolution. For most, though, resolutions usually don’t make it past the end of January. What if at the start of the year, you choose to think of making an achievable goal that creates lasting positive change in your life? A change that may feel big or small, but one that you can say really reflects who you are and enhances your sense of purpose.

So, how can you go about setting this realistic, attainable goal – one that you won’t lose sight of in a couple of weeks or feel guilty about not accomplishing?

Start small. Research shows that when we make small incremental changes in our lives, we’re more likely to stick with the behavior needed to make these changes. Identify a change that doesn’t require a whole makeover of your life, work or relationships. Small changes add up to big changes in the end.

Be realistic. We can’t wish ourselves millionaires and 20 years younger. Nor can we work toward making something unattainable happen. Think of what a realistic change for your life is, perhaps focusing on something that enhances value and meaning in your everyday living or that creates ease or peace.

Be flexible and kind. Hitting road bumps is a part of change. If you approach these road bumps by thinking of them as failures, it’s easy to let go of the goal and give up on changing. Instead, call upon kindness in response to adversity and use curiosity to learn information about the challenge in front of you. Remind yourself that all meaningful change comes with some (or a lot) of challenge but can be worth it in the end.

In my practice, I often encourage my clients to use strategies that make identifying and planning for their goals or changes more concrete. This could include journal writing, posting mantras or affirmations throughout their homes, or creating artwork that becomes a concrete representation of the goal and steps needed to attain it.

If you’d like to learn how making art can help you set attainable goals for the future, stay tuned for a step-by-step directive that you can do at home.

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