OCD 2020: Make your New Years Resolutions SMART!

Are you planning to make any New Year’s Resolutions?

You are not alone: most of us make New Year’s Resolutions, but unfortunately, only a few people can actually achieve their goals. Every single year, we promise ourselves that we would lose weight, eat more healthy, quit smoking but for some reason, we are not always able to keep our resolutions. (According to Google, 80 percent of people fail to keep their New Year’s Resolutions.)

Why is that?

Because our goals are not always SMART enough.
A lot of businesses use SMART goal setting to define their objectives – and if it works for them, why would it not work for us?

Setting goals brings a lot of benefits. Whether for life or work, goals can take you much further than you’d ever imagine and defining your objectives is among the first steps you can take in order to fight Obsessive Compulsive Disorder!

There are a lot of articles on the internet about how to write SMART goals, but in this post, I’ll talk about goal setting from an OCD point of view.

What is a SMART goal and how can it help your Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

SMART is an acronym that stands for:
Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Timely

How can we set a SMART goal to achieve our New Year’s Resolution?

Specific

Making your goals specific is the first step. Having a clear target is very important and this target can be something very simple (now, simple does not mean that it’s necessarily easy). For example, if you avoid going over bridges, you can set a goal for yourself that next year, you will cross a bridge at least once a week. Or in my case, one thing that I want to work on is my uncontrollable door checking habit: every morning, I have to check at least 15 times that I have really locked the door. It may sound funny to people who do not suffer from OCD, but believe me, it is not a fun thing: especially when I am in a rush.

Measurable

Now, how can you make your goals as specific as possible? By making them measurable! And why is it important to make them measurable? Because what can not be measured, can not be managed. And also, because it’s an amazing feeling to see your progress and to be able to compare yourself to who you were last year.
For example, if you’re obsessed with cleaning, a perfect goal that you can define for next year would be doing less cleaning. However, what do we exactly mean by “less cleaning”? This is where the personal factor comes into the picture. If you clean your kitchen 3 times a day, your new year’s resolution could be to clean it only once a day. Or once a week: but you’ll always need to make sure that your goal is realistic!

Attainable

This has always been the most difficult part for me. I’ve always been a perfectionist and to be honest I am not the most patient person that I know. So back in the past, I always used to come up with goals that had simply been impossible to accomplish. Such as: I will overcome OCD in 2 weeks or I will quit smoking in 4 days, and so on.
It’s a good thing to push yourself, but you should always know your limits. If you’re not sure whether you’d be able to stop doing a certain compulsion in 4 months, give yourself a year. And if you’re not sure what is or is not realistic, consult your therapist.

Relevant

This particular step is for making sure that your goal is actually important for you. If you achieve your goal, will it make you feel better? Is it worth the effort?
If the answer is no, look for something else. If the answer is yes, go for it! 🙂

Timely

How much time do you want to give yourself for achieving your goal?
It’s extremely important to give yourself a specific deadline – it will keep you motivated and it will make you more focused towards achieving your goals. And obviously, another thing that you’ll need to consider before setting deadlines for yourself is whether those deadlines are realistic. It would be simply amazing if we could stop doing our OCD rituals by tomorrow end of day, but unfortunately, I do not think this could be possible.

My SMART goals

So what are my New Year’s Resolutions?

To be honest, I do not have too many, because I do not want to promise myself something that I know I would not be able to do.

I have 2 compulsions that seriously interfere in my life: one of them is checking locks and the other one is Googling. I usually need to check 15 times if my door is locked, so by the end of 2020, I would like to break free from that habit: so I will check it only once, after locking the door! As for the Google part, it’s much more difficult for me to come up with a SMART objective, but on an average day, I spend about 2 hours on Google (for seeking reassurance and for calming myself down) – so by the end of 2020, I’d love to reduce that to 30 minutes a day.

Another New Year’s Resolution that I have is cutting down on alcohol. I do not think that I am an alcoholic, but I drink 2-3 times a week (obviously,this may be shocking to many of my readers, but in our country, this is pretty normal). So my New Year’s Resolution is that by the end of 2020, I will cut back on my drinking and I will only drink once a week.

What is your New Year’s Resolution?

As you know there’s one thing that I enjoy more than sharing my thoughts and ideas: reading yours! 🙂 So please share your New Year’s Resolution in the comment section!

16 thoughts on “OCD 2020: Make your New Years Resolutions SMART!

  1. Hi Mark. Happy New Year. Your post is interesting to me, primarily your mention of alcohol which is something I struggled with for years. In the states, drinking 2-3 times per week is considered extremely moderate drinking (I suppose unless you’re getting hammered those three times). We each have our tolerance for what seems acceptable… for me, I went from every day to twice per week, but then I found myself thinking about alcohol all-the-freaking-time so I quit altogether so I didn’t need to think about it any more. Like your googling, the computer is my biggest OCD suck right now. I loop through social media accounts looking to see if anything has changed way too frequently. After reading your post, I considering a social media resolution. but I need some thought on how to make it SMART.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jeff
      Happy New Year! 🙂 Or actually Happy New Decade! :)))
      To be honest I also think that is pretty moderate but would be better if I could drink a little bit less (it is not that i get totally wasted, but when I go out drinking, I will usually drink a lot. Especially in winter)
      I am glad to hear that you could quit alcohol 🙂 Maybe that would be easier for me too. For me the only issue is that I usually do not drink because of the feeling but I just love the taste and I always love trying new things and flavors.
      Oh yes – its the same for me, but my Google addiction is slightly worse than my social media one. Like i could go on for a week without social media but not without Google – Google just makes me calm….
      As for your social media resolution, i guess you could cut down on social media by a certain percentage – to be honest now that you have mentioned this one, I think i will also consider that.
      Enjoy your new years eve and let me know what your SMART resolution is finally going to be !

      Cheers

      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi ! I like your resolutions. I notice that you mentioned that you have more anxiety about door checking when you are rushing.
    Sometimes it is helpful to slow down, stay in the moment, and avoid rushing when you are doing something like locking the door, something that you have concerns about.
    Many of us find that our stress levels increase when we are rushed. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there 🙂
      Thank you for the tip! 🙂
      Ah yes – that is right 🙂 It is something that I have to work on this year. I am always in a rush because I am a real night owl…so it is very hard for me to get up in the morning.
      Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?

      Cheers

      Mark

      Like

      1. Hi Mark !
        I purchased a lovely large journal about two weeks ago which I call my Anger Journal. I write things in here that I am angry about. The act of physical writing calms me. Of course I keep the journal carefully hidden. I have re-read some of the things that I was furious about, and as I re-read them, some of them seemed kind of funny.
        Emotions are not constant. With practise, we can learn to identify, tolerate and modify our emotions. 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow that sounds like a fantastic plan. I think I will try it too. Especially that writing always calms me down.
        And I can totally relate: when I re-read the things I was anxious or furious about, I will usually find them hilarious. Like I had a few panic attacks back in the past over things that nowadays, I’d find simply ridiculous. But obviously at that time it used to look so annoying and terrifying.
        Thank you very much for sharing this idea! 🙂

        Like

  3. Setting goals that a attainable is the most difficult for me, next to decide if they are timely as well. I try to have more structure in my life (as I have none or way too much, it’s always in extremes). I’ll start by eating 3x a day. My therapist told me to put a timer on, so I won’t forget to eat. I am not allowed to use more than 2 timers otherwise I’ll go back to set timers all the time. The mind can be so complex for such ‘easy’ things. I wish you the best New Year and I hope you’ll reach your goals in the way you see fit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it can be very difficult to set achievable goals. I’m not the most patient person in the world so most of the time I come up with plans that are almost impossible to carry out.
      I really hope you will reach your goals in 2020 ❤ living with mental disorder is not the best thing but it's the start of a new decade with a lot of opportunities so we should get the most out of it!
      Mark

      Liked by 1 person

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