New Year, New Goals, New You

What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

The New Year is a common time for long-term goal-setting. Resolutions often include things like eating healthier and getting more exercise or saving money and getting out of debt. Traveling and learning a new language are also popular choices. But how many of us actually meet our goals?

According to Lifehack, the answer is about 12%. In fact, most people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions by mid-February. To counter this national trend and contribute toward positive social change, Youth Odyssey has selected goal-setting as one of its six core life skills to teach at-risk youth in the Coastal Bend area.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Benjamin Franklin

Goal Setting Is A Process

So rather than getting down on ourselves for rarely sticking to our New Year’s Resolutions, let’s take a closer look at why this phenomenon happens. For starters, let’s break the process down into parts.

First, of course, we have to create goals. After that, we have to make a plan to reach our goals. And finally, we have to stick to the plan.

The good news is, if we can stop making mistakes early on in the process, we will set ourselves up for better success further down the line. Or, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

That’s why Youth Odyssey was created as a prevention program for at-risk youth. We’re trying to set our future up for success, and we’re taking it one youth and one skill at a time.

Goals: CourageGoals: ProgressGoals: Success

Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals

The skill of goal-setting starts with knowing how to create new goals. One way of coming up with good new goals is to use S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

Unlike more generalized goals, S.M.A.R.T. goals give clear answers to questions like, “What am I trying to accomplish? How do I plan to reach my goal? How will I know when I’ve reached my goal? How long will it take me to reach my goal?”

An example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal for a student in Youth Odyssey might be: I want to face my fear of heights by participating in rock climbing and zip lining at the ropes course on Saturday.

S.M.A.R.T. goals help us create clear expectations, a plan of action, and the criteria for progress and success. They present us with a challenge that is difficult but not impossible. And they give us a finish line to cross.

Take Courage

Once we have a goal in mind, we can begin to enact our plan. If it’s a long-term goal like a New Year’s Resolution that you have in mind, it’s a good idea to assign daily tasks and track progress on a chart or in a journal. Social support also helps. Joining Youth Odyssey is a great way to make a friend who can hold you accountable or even join in the challenge with you!

It’s also important to remember that setbacks are a normal part of the process. Don’t allow small mistakes or misfortunes to cause you to give up on your ultimate goal. In the words of Winston Churchill, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” You can develop all the courage you need. Youth Odyssey can help. What will your next goal in life be?

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”Winston Churchill