• November 22nd, 2019

The psychology of setting realistic goals

WINDHOEK – It is a tradition that at the beginning of each year, some people set new year’s resolutions.  
Be it individual or corporate, these goals are generally aimed at guiding people on the path to attaining their goals for the new year.  

New Era on Friday spoke to Dr Lahija Hamunjela, a psychiatrist in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, who believes it is worth setting new year’s resolutions. 

“But the resolutions have to be realistic in the sense that a person who makes the resolutions has to be able to see if those resolutions are feasible,” said Hamunjela.

It is not enough to merely want to achieve the set goals and individuals have to assess if they have the resources or willpower and commitment to attain those specific goals, explained Hamunjela. 

Additionally, Hamunjela said that sometimes people make new year’s resolutions just because it is a new year. 
“Sometimes we make resolutions based on the company we keep and because of competition,” added Hamunjela. This should not be the case because not attaining such goals leads to stress and psychological problems, she stated. “It is always good to look at yourself as an individual and say ‘what do I want to achieve without being motivated by somebody else’ because you don’t know what the other person has or the means they have to accomplish what they want,” cautioned Hamunjela.  

She also warned against setting unrealistic goals. 
 “Am I able to attain them? Do I have the resources or if I don’t have the resources how can I get resources to actually reach the goals that I set for myself. How do you keep track or measure the achievement of the targets? In how many months do I want to reach the set goal? If I’m not reaching my goals what is keeping me from it and how can I go about reaching my goals?” explained Hamunjela. 

Apart from resources, at an individual level, people ought to look at themselves and assess their level of commitment to attaining the goals that they set for themselves. 

“If I don’t reach my goal what happens to me as an individual,” explained the psychiatrist who stated that some people are hard on themselves when they fail to reach their goals. 

‘Old habits die hard’

Attaining new year’s resolutions requires discipline and a change of attitude and mindset, and the phrase ‘old habits die hard’ could not be truer, noted the psychiatrist, who acknowledged that “bad habits are difficult to break”.  
“Actually, the same principle applies to good habits.”
The reward that comes from embracing positive habits is what encourages people to keep setting goals for themselves, noted Hamunjela. 
“The positive reward makes you feel good and you would want to continue with that,” stated Hamunjela, explaining why people set goals for 


Alvine Kapitako
2019-01-21 10:08:00 | 10 months ago

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