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Achieve your goals with SMART goal setting

Thinking about your New Year’s resolution?

Lose weight? Stop smoking? Drink less? Stop negative thoughts? Worry less?

All sounds great. Yet studies have shown that approximately 80% of New Year's resolutions fail.

Typically, a resolution is based on what you think you should be doing, rather than what you really want to be doing. All too often they are about stopping doing something. They are about taking something away, something you know may unhealthy or unhelpful but something you have become accustomed too. New Year’s resolutions in particular are often aimed at making up for some of the excesses of the festive period. It really is one extreme to the other.

So how do you make lasting and impactful changes?

Don’t think about what you are taking away. Look at what you want to achieve. Be healthy… feel better… sleep well… have a positive mindset.

So first of all take a look at what you really want to achieve. Without the desire to change you are unlikely to achieve your goal. Think about how much you want to make the change, give it a score out of 10. Really you need to be on 7+ to achieve your goal.

I mentioned goals and that is what a resolution really is. So we need to apply the same process as we do with goals. Think about what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve this. Simply having a one line goal (I want to lose weight) is a fine starting point but you need to dive a bit deeper. The best way to do this is to be SMART.

SMART is an acronym that stands for:




Realistic, and


A truly SMART goal incorporates all of these criteria to help focus your efforts and increase the chances of achieving your goal. You may well have heard of this model, and used it already. It its a tried and tested way to set goals. Basically it works!

Setting goals this way is helpful, because it removes generalities and guesswork, it sets a clear finish line, and makes it that much easier to track progress and identify missed targets. There are many other versions of this model but this is certainly the most common and enduring. I spent many years in the corporate world where they put a huge amount of focus on goals and used this type of method to ensure they worked. Applying this to our own personal goals just makes sense.

Typically January is a tough month. The festive glow fades fast and Spring is still a long way off. 2021 will be even tougher with further restrictions likely. The vaccine is coming but the first part of next year may drag like never before. Is this the right time to set yourself goals and to try and change your lifestyle? For many it could well be, this may provide a focus during these tough times. That is why ensuring you have a positive goal, rather than simply taking something away, can be really beneficial at this time of year, However for others it may be better to hold off making any significant changes. This may not be the right time to be setting goals, perhaps the Spring may be better. Whatever works for you. All too often we are drawn to a specific date, or day of the week to start making changes. Yet we can start any time we want to.

Working with someone on your goals can really help make it more likely time achieved. Hypnotherapy helps by working with your unconscious as well as your conscious to make positive and impactful suggestions. This combination can be highly effective in helping you achieve your goals quickly.

Get in touch for a free consultation to find out how I can help you achieve your goals.

Malcolm Struthers Hypnotherapy - Online and in-person in Dumfries & Galloway


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