Los Angeles Psychologist Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D. On The Importance Of Setting Goals For A New Year (12/23/2021)

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The Psychology Behind Why People Set Goals

The psychology behind why we set goals is that this action helps us to have a plan and a direction so that we know what we are striving towards and how to get there.  All of this assists us in feeling there is a purpose and/or a progression in our life.  By having a plan and a direction, we have more clarity, and, thus, a higher likelihood to achieve these goals.  Research shows that those people who set goals tend to have higher self-esteem, motivation, self-reliance, and success.

Why Setting Goals Around New Year’s Is Helpful

Advantages of setting goals for our well-being around New Year’s or anytime is that this is a way to gain some control over your life by designing how you want it to proceed in some ways.  Rather than let your life go in any random direction, you are choosing and working towards what you are aiming for with it.  An added healthy bonus can occur by you setting goals for your well-being which is a feeling of self-empowerment and self-pride for caring enough about your well-being that you are trying to enhance and preserve it.  By taking your life’s direction more into your hands, you are proactively determining and taking accountability for how you want to live your life.

Different Ways To Change One’s Perspective Regarding Setting Goals Without Causing Oneself Too Much Stress

One way to change our perspective with goal-setting so we don’t put too much stress on ourselves, but we still benefit from setting goals is to realize that everyone is human and that no one is perfect.  By keeping this in mind, if a goal takes longer to be achieved or there are mistakes along the way, you should not condemn yourself for what didn’t go right, but rather take this as a learning lesson for what can be done to improve your efforts.  This type of perspective is called reframing in psychology terms which means to look at a situation from a different, more healthy angle.  In this case, you keep your eye on what your overall goal is and not get off-track too long by feeling discouraged or unmotivated if you have a misstep.  Instead, you can turn a mistake into a positive learning experience which you can grow from.

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Another way we can change our perspective with goal-setting so we don’t put too much pressure on ourselves, but we still benefit from setting goals is to break the goal into bite-sized pieces which are more likely to be achieved than not.  Writing down the plan for the order and timing of when these steps will happen helps concretize them and allows for you to assess if the steps are as doable as you first thought.  By being able to accomplish these pieces along the way to meeting your full goal, you can feel more self-confident and positively reinforced throughout this process.  As a result, you can feel more motivated and determined to stick with your plan and meet your full goal.

People Can Even Grow From Unmet Goals

How we can grow from unmet goals is that this provides us the opportunity to gain knowledge and insight about why our goals were not met and what we can do to change that.  We need to figure out what caused the goal to not work out and adjust things in a healthy way to get a more positive outcome the next time.  This might mean we have to change our approach or our expectations.  It also might mean that we have to try to achieve the goal when we are not as tired, stressed, distracted, pulled in too many directions, etc.  The bottom line is that an unmet goal still can be very rewarding just by the mere fact of teaching us new ways to grow and persevere.
If you need help with any of this, you can schedule a free consultation with Los Angeles Psychologist Dr. Yvonne Thomas Ph.D. through the contact form on the website or by calling (310) 359-9450.