The beginning of a new year brings with it a flood of pledges made via social media and personal resolutions regarding how one intends to improve one’s life. People are frequently setting goals for improving their health, reducing their debt, returning to school, attending religious services, or devoting more time to their families as their New Year’s resolutions. A great number of individuals harbor the desire to bring about a paradigm shift in their own life.

However, by the time February rolls around, many people have already forgotten about their resolutions. The reality is that everyday life often gets in the way of resolutions. Many people find out the hard way that despite how simple it is to come up with New Year’s plans, it is tough to have the self-control necessary to keep them.

So, what is it exactly that makes it so hard to stick to those New Year’s resolutions? Two of the most common reasons are apprehension and self-doubt. We are frequently paralyzed by anxiety and uncertainty regarding our capacity to accomplish what we set out to do. The truth is that we typically enter the new year with the greatest of intentions. But we may find that we are overcome by common cognitive errors that prevent us from making genuine progress.

Understanding self-doubt in setting goals.

In certain circumstances, having self-doubt can be beneficial because it frequently results in increased introspection and improved performance. Those who, for example, are concerned that they will not perform well on a particular assignment may spend more time preparing, which allows them to increase their overall performance on the project.

Self-doubt, on the other hand, can be a difficult and stressful experience that has the potential to severely alter behavior and performance in a detrimental manner. Some people may respond to doubts in their ability to perform by self-handicapping, or finding ways to destroy themselves so that they can point the finger of blame at something other than a lack of skill for their failure.

For instance, a student who is concerned that he will not perform well on a test may choose not to prepare at all and then attribute a subsequent poor grade to the fact that they did not study. This may in some instances inspire him to make a greater effort to achieve in the future, but it also has the potential to contribute to increased feelings of self-doubt in the individual.

Some people experience feelings of self-doubt when they achieve more than they think they can attain. When it is unclear whether a person’s success was due to their ability or their efforts, uncertainty and self-doubt can flourish as the individual attempts to ensure future success by focusing on every factor that could lead to failure. This can cause the individual to question his or her abilities and efforts.

These feelings of self-doubt, when paired with concern over one’s performance, may encourage certain individuals to exert extra effort on particular tasks or goals and contribute to a tendency to overachieve.

How does self-doubt develop?

Early childhood experiences, which may include difficulties with attachment, can be a source of self-doubt later in life. According to attachment theory, children are more likely to form a secure attachment to their primary caregivers if they have frequent instances of positive interactions with those individuals. A secure attachment can be defined as the fundamental comprehension that a child can depend on his or her primary caregivers to fulfill his or her requirements.

People who develop a secure attachment in early childhood are typically more likely to engage in relationships in which they feel loved and supported. This secure attachment bond is believed to likely help lay the foundation for good relationships in the future. Consumers who develop a secure attachment in early childhood are more likely to buy a home.

On the other side, an insecure attachment is typically characterized by inconsistent or unfavorable relationships with caregivers. This is the case because an insecure attachment develops over time. This form of attachment can cause an individual to question his or her worthiness and can potentially contribute to the development of an overall sense of self-doubt, in addition to other mental health difficulties.

A person who has a history of insecure attachment may also have problems developing and maintaining healthy relationships as an adult. However, a counselor can help you unpack these issues so you can be more intentional now.

Here are several strategies for becoming more intentional in your goal-setting this year.

Strategize to achieve your goals and follow through.

Put your vision in writing and make it as clear as possible. This may sound like a lot of work, but there are times when our minds become so cluttered with concepts that if we don’t write them down and organize them, they may get lost in a sea of other ideas.

The first thing we should do to ensure that we are holding ourselves accountable is to write down specific, measurable goals in an organized and succinct manner.

If getting rid of debt is one of your primary objectives, a portion of your strategy may involve developing a budget, reducing the amount of money spent on shopping and other discretionary expenses, or paying off credit cards by a predetermined date.

If obtaining a new job is one of your primary objectives, a component of your strategy should consist of utilizing the services of a resume writer and participating in networking activities.

Simply expressed, it is not enough to write down one’s goals. Rather, it is necessary to put a plan into action for goals to be fully achieved. Make sure that you are regularly making progress toward your goals by formulating a detailed action plan that includes dates and due dates for each stage.

Take it easy on yourself with your goals.

One gallon of water can be consumed, but it is not recommended that you do it all at once. You may have a lot of lofty goals to accomplish. This type of ambition frequently results in the desire to accomplish a great deal of work all at once. Although it would be amazing, there is a good chance that won’t happen. You don’t need to abandon your drive or enthusiasm for achieving your goals, but it’s okay if everything doesn’t happen all at once.

Get an accountability partner.

In an ideal world, this would be a person who is a genuine friend and can be trusted to tell you the truth without any kind of spin. These are the kinds of people who make the finest accountability partners because they are the ones who can help you stay on track even when you are feeling worn out, frustrated, and exhausted by the process. You should have at least one person in your life who will encourage you to carry on even though you do not feel like doing so.

This partnership should, of course, be beneficial to both parties involved. This does not mean that you should drain your accountability partner dry of their resources, but rather that you should encourage them to maintain their forward momentum. It also ensures that you will have someone with whom you can celebrate once you have accomplished your objective.

Practice self-care.

When we don’t take care of ourselves, it’s difficult to be kind to other people. Participate in a yoga session, treat yourself to a pedicure, read a book, or enjoy a glass of wine. There must be room in your life that is specifically designated for you to enjoy. Self-care is not a luxury but a need. This is especially true when one is working toward accomplishing a series of objectives or reaching a certain benchmark.

Sometimes, we put so much pressure on ourselves to reach our goals that we wind up stating things like “no days off” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” as a result of the stress we feel. I challenge you to consider self-care as an additional component of the carefully designed plan you have developed to accomplish your objectives.

A person who gets adequate rest can accomplish more in his or her day. Everyone’s idea of self-care is slightly different, so you should give yourself some time to figure out the self-care strategy that works best for you. Then put it into practice as frequently as you can. After all, you can’t pour anything out of an empty cup.

Get in touch with a Christian counselor if you need assistance in being more intentional with your goal-setting this year.

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“Basket”, Courtesy of Tom Briskey, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Goals”, Courtesy of Alexa Williams, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Soccer”, Courtesy of Markus Spiske, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Bullseye”, Courtesy of Vitolda Klein, Unsplash.com, CC0 License