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Stay on top of your Goals & Resolutions in 2023

For many, a new year means updating vision boards, setting new goals, and making resolutions—which, for most, will not be kept. Recent statistics show that 43 percent of all people expect to fail before February, and almost one out of four quit within the first week of setting their New Year’s resolutions. “Most people quit before the end of January, and only 9% see their resolutions through until the next year; 23% quit by the end of the first week.” The counselors and therapists of Improving Lives Counseling Services can help you set and achieve smart, attainable goals.


Setting goals and making resolutions directly affects the Reticular Activating System, or RAS, of the brain – a network of neurons connecting the subconscious and conscious part of the brain. Mental health expert Emily Rivera writes: “When we don’t make blueprints for how we want our life to change or improve, we miss out on using (RAS) this part of our brain. When we fail to direct our attention and focus through goal setting, we can get distracted easily and lose the motivation needed to create the life we desire and deserve”.

Research shows most people want to succeed, giving 90% plus, seven days a week. Many write out their goals and even share them with family, coaches, friends, and mentors. The act of setting goals shifts perspective inspires change, and boosts productivity – at least for the first few weeks.

Can goals be impossible or not make sense? Yes! Setting an impossible goal or making a resolution you know you cannot keep (depending on the thought process) can lead to stress, anxiety, hopelessness, unhappiness, depression, and despair. We see this in children who engage in sports and extracurricular activities, in adults who fail to get that promotion, in lawyers who lose a big case, and in doctors who fail to save a life. Goal setting engages the amygdala, the emotional center, and the frontal lobe, the logical problem-solving areas of the brain. Both areas work together to promote completion. Yet, when you know expectations go beyond what you can achieve by giving it your all or doing your best, you are affecting your mental health and physical well-being. Our team of medical professionals suggests you avoid consciously, or unconsciously, setting yourself up for failure. Make achievable resolutions and set SMART goals.


Goals are part of every aspect of life: physical health, mental health, school, work/career, family, relationships, religious, and political affiliations. The internet is full of definitions, examples, templates, podcasts, and videos telling us goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely – it’s true.

Specific goals prevent getting lost or confused, measurable goals allow you to know where you are on your path, attainable goals let you know “all things are possible”, realistic goals make sense for your lifestyle, and timely goals afford you the opportunity to celebrate achievements along the way to success. Smart goals (and resolutions) motivate, enhance decision-making, ensure focus, and increase achievement.


Through cognitive-behavioral therapy, the licensed, professional counselors, therapists, and clinicians of Improving Lives Counseling Services can ensure your goals and resolutions are pertinent, defined, and resolute. Allowing a counselor or therapist to guide you in making resolutions and setting goals does not mean you are mentally ill; it means your mental health and mental well-being is just as important as your physical health. It means you want to achieve your goals and live the life you were meant to live.

Setting goals, making resolutions, and making major life changes can be challenging. Knowing and/or comprehending where you are, as well as how you arrived there and why you want or need to excel or change, is critical. Repeating failed goals or resolutions from previous years might not be mentally healthy, and goals that affect mental and/or physical health should be set with the guidance of a clinician or counselor. Call us to learn more.