Setting goals is a pretty standard start to the New Year.

After all, it’s a time of looking ahead to new possibilities. Also, this season is about reflecting on your life over a year. It only makes sense that you want to set goals and achieve more in the future.

But how do you ensure that you don’t fall into the trap of setting goals in January, only to abandon them in February?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be just what you need to set and achieve goals in the New Year.

Here are three ways that CBT can help.

1. Identify Your Goals

The first way that CBT can help to set and achieve goals in the new year is to identify them first.

What were your successes this year? Where do you think you could improve? How do you want to stretch yourself and go for it?

Participating in therapy with a counselor trained in CBT will help you to target those goals and strive for them. Plus, it’s nice having someone to work with whom you can bounce ideas off of and brainstorm.

Sometimes, even if you have a concept of what you want to do, it helps to talk with someone to develop those concrete goals. Before the session, consider jotting down some ideas about what you want to work toward. Allow your mind to imagine and see what happens.

2. Use the SMART Method

Another way in which CBT can help you to set and achieve goals in the New Year is by using the SMART method. It’s a technique that CBT therapists use with clients to create goals and stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Why is this approach essential? Well, have you ever set a goal for yourself that was similar to, “I’m going to get better at playing the guitar!” That feat sounds tremendous and even inspirational, and yet, how are you going to make that happen?

With the SMART method, you break down a big goal into smaller pieces that allow you to achieve your goal.

For example, you could say, “I want to get better at playing the guitar. So, I am going to attend guitar lessons with my music teacher three times a week for the next six months so that I can learn these songs.”

This goal sounds more specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely, doesn’t it?

3. Transform Negative Thought Patterns

Everyone has experienced negative thought patterns in their lives. These mental habits could be about any topic or many. However, when it comes to knowing how to set and achieve goals in the New Year, an “I can’t do that” or “That’s impossible” mindset frequently exists.

Why does this happen? Mainly because you have had life experiences that reinforced that, for one reason or another, you were not capable or competent. But that’s not true!

If you look back on your life, you will find plenty of examples of your capability and competency. Working with a CBT therapist will help you to identify those thought patterns.

Together, you can begin to shift that thinking towards a more positive and empowering mindset that will allow you to achieve your goals. You will be able to go from “I can’t do this,” to, “I can totally do this!”

Everyone could use a little help from time-to-time, including when you want to set and achieve goals in the New Year. A therapist who understands cognitive behavioral therapy will be able to work with you to help you get there.

Please reach out to me today or visit my page on cognitive behavioral therapy to learn more. I’m a CBT therapist and want to help you achieve your goals.