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Dr. Nudukwe Uduma

This time of year brings many new opportunities. Venturing outside of your comfort zone to create new goals could be something you are ready to take on. If so, there are five steps commonly known as the SMART process to help you get started on the path to success. As you determine what you want to accomplish in 2021, ask yourself these questions:

1. Is my goal specific? Your goal should be clearly defined, leaving no room for ambiguity. The narrower your goal, the more you’ll understand the steps necessary to achieve it.

2. Is my goal measureable? Include precise amounts and dates when drafting your goal. The more details, the better. This will give you the opportunity to re-evaluate and course correct, as needed.

3. Is my goal attainable? Before you begin working toward a goal, decide whether it’s something you can achieve now or whether there are additional preliminary steps you should take to become better prepared.

4. Is my goal relevant? Your goals should align with your values and larger, long-term goals. If a goal doesn’t contribute toward your broader objectives, you may want to reconsider it.

5. Is my goal timely? Setting a time period for your goals will help you prioritize and provide motivation to keep you on track.

Here are some examples of goals that follow this process:

• My goal is to walk one mile, four times a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday for three months.

• My goal is to read six books that I have not read before Dec. 31.

• My goal is to workout at home for 30 minutes, three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for six months.

• My goal is to cook 12 new recipes with a family member or friend via FaceTime, Zoom or another platform.

Let us know what your goals are by adding the hashtag #NewYearNewYou to your New Year’s resolutions on social media.

Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions include exercising more, eating healthier, losing weight, saving money and quitting smoking. Self-care and mental health goals are also great to include, such as reducing stress, starting a new hobby, learning a new skill, getting more quality sleep or focusing on personal growth.

Many things have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so think out of the box when working towards achieving you goals. For example, if your gym is closed or you do not feel comfortable attending, try exercising at home or outdoors. There are many health benefits to being outdoors, so if the weather allows work on your goals outdoors.

The main thing is to stick with it. If you hit a bump in the road, don’t quit! This is normal. Get back on course and step by step you will reach your goals.

(Dr. Nudukwe Uduma is a board-certified psychiatrist at UT Health North Campus Tyler. For more information about behavioral health services, visit https://uthealtheasttexasdoctors.com/services/psychiatry-and-psychology or call 903-877-7000 to schedule an appointment)

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