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How to Set Realistic Expectations for the New Year Ahead

photo of a woman throwing confetti celebrating the new year

As one calendar year ends, and a new one begins many people begin to think about their New Year’s goals, resolutions, and things they want to improve on over the next 12 months. Setting new goals for the upcoming year is a great way to start the year on a positive note. 

While many people set new goals and resolutions each year, they can also find it hard to stick with them and be consistent. When setting goals it’s important to be intentional and thoughtful so that you’re setting yourself up for success. 

Throughout this article, we will discuss how to set healthy goals and expectations for the upcoming year.

Focus on one thing at a time

As much as one may want to do a complete overhaul of their life and surroundings, it’s important to focus on just one area of your life at a time. By doing this, you’re able to avoid feeling overwhelmed and feeling the need to stop early on in the year. Examples of areas to focus on are your overall physical health, mental health, relationship, goals, or financial stability. All of these areas are great places to start that can bring noticeable changes when you have the time and resources to dedicate to them.

Set realistic time frames

This could be over a few weeks, months, or even a year, but it’s important to set a timeframe for each of your goals. For example, if your goal is to exercise more, start by saying you’ll increase your daily or weekly exercise routine. Then aim for monthly goals, then an overall goal for the year. You can focus on losing weight gaining muscle, overall strength, and stamina, just make sure you’re not setting the bar too high so you can’t reach it. 

photo of a woman throwing confetti celebrating the new year

Set intentional and specific expectations

With this tip, it’s important to be specific about your expectations and goals and how you want to get there. This goes along with the first two tips, but it’s important to remember that you need to set realistic expectations for yourself. 

For example, if we’re keeping with the fitness trend, instead of saying you want to lose a certain amount of weight, narrow it down to something more realistic and possible without feeling overwhelmed. This could be saying you want to lose a certain amount of weight each month or you want to consume fewer calories each day. You could also say your goal is to eat a more balanced diet. 

Focusing on intentional and specific areas will help you make sure that your goals are attainable. if something is overly ambitious or too vague, like eating healthier or exercising more, it could feel like you’re never doing enough. 

Be flexible with your plan

While it’s important to have a plan to manage expectations, it’s just as important to be flexible with it. As you go through your plan for your goals and expectations, it’s important to make sure you look at your strengths and weaknesses so you’re able to set yourself up for success. 

It’s okay to not be perfect if things do not go exactly as you planned or expected. It’s more important to be realistic about what you can do.

A plan could be working for days, weeks, or months, and then something goes awry, but that’s okay. For example, other things in your personal or professional life or getting sick can temporarily hinder your goals. Instead of feeling like you need to make up for last time, be flexible and understanding. Doing this makes you more likely to continue going instead of quitting if the date doesn’t go as planned. 

Remember, it’s more about being intentional and realistic with your expectations than trying to do a complete life overhaul. Hopefully, the tips above can help you create effective goals and expectations for the upcoming year. Reach out to us if you are experiencing anxiety about the new year, therapy can help.

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Green Heart Therapy provides in-person psychotherapy for adults, teens, and children in Los Angeles and online therapy across California.