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Leading up to January 1 and well into the first month of the year, loved ones ask, “What are your New Year’s Resolutions?” Some of us have our thoughtful list of goals and wishes for the upcoming year at the ready. Resolutions for self-care, healthy habits, relationship goals, career benchmarks and similar. While others will be reminded that they completely forgot to create their mental list of self-improvements. Well-intentioned resolutions are set and most of us struggle with our follow through to achieve our goals throughout the year. Did you know less than half of us achieve our resolutions?

We are pros at supporting our clients in progressing towards their long-term goals.

Similar to resolution setting, CA Adult Programs’ counselors and clients work together to set goals (“resolutions” if you will) on a consistent basis while working towards increasing adulthood autonomy. We are pros at supporting our clients in progressing towards their long-term goalsWhat is our method for supporting clients with sticking to their goals and helping them to achieve their ultimate goal of independence? Here is a list of Adult Programs goal setting criteria and guidelines:

Self-determined goals: We encourage our clients to determine what goals will be put in place in their support plan. They are at the center of this goal-creation process. In order for our clients to be invested in changing their behavior to achieve a goal, the goal must match their desires and values. It must be meaningful to them and come from them!

Functional goals: Before setting a goal, ask yourself if you are functionally capable of achieving that goal. If you do not have the prerequisites or capacity to meet a benchmark, then it shouldn’t be your goal. For example, setting a goal to obtain a full-time job in a field you have no experience or related education is not setting a functional goal.

Measurable goals: Set a goal that you can measure the completion of the goal within a determined timeframe. Set a goal that is detailed and descriptive with clear parameters. For example, “Lose weight” is not a measurable goal. Break down that goal with descriptive measurable parameters such as, “Exercise for min 30 minutes five days per week” and “Eat fast food one or less times per week.”

Accountable goals: How many of you have been asked about your resolutions come July? Does anyone follow up with you to encourage you to achieve these yearly intentions? Support one another in goal setting and invest in the outcomes of your loved ones! For example, CA Adult Programs holds regular meetings with adult clients and families to touch base on goal outcomes to ensure progress is being made.

Flexible goals: Life ensures change and resolutions are allowed flexibility when circumstances shift. Allow goals a little flexibility to change if needed. During our regular goal progress meetings, we look at unmet goals to discuss if the goal needs to be adjusted. Make sure to ask yourself, “what is my end goal?” and “what do I want to accomplish overall?”

Put into practice

We asked several of our Adult Programs clients about their New Year’s Resolutions. In response, we break down and reframe a couple client resolutions to align with our guidelines for setting successful goals.

Client resolution: “Enjoy my time more with those around me.”

CA coach feedback: This is a great resolution! We are all happier and healthier individuals when we socialize and engage with those around us. Let’s try to make this goal more descriptive and measurable so that you can track your progress. For example, “Reach out via phone to make plans with friends and family two times per week” or “Plan and follow through on plans with friends and family three or more times per month.” Now you can easily determine whether or not you have met your goal on a weekly or monthly basis. This will help you achieve your resolution!

Client resolution: “Try to clean my place”

CA coach feedback: Keeping your living environment clean and organized is important for your health, safety, and time-management. Great resolution! You resolution will be more impactful if you can work your way towards a clean space on a regular basis and have a friend, coach or loved one hold you accountable for achieving this goal. You can create benchmarks towards a clean space such as, “Clean for 20 minutes daily” and “throw away or donate 10 items each month.”

CA is here if you need assistance with other information or resources for supporting your loved ones with autism. Simply call our toll-free number 800-649-8481, send us an email, or search our resources for autism related services throughout Virginia.

If you’d like to support the work we do, consider donating to our Invest in Independence fundraiser, volunteering with us, or subscribing to our newsletter.

Fun Fact

New Year’s Resolutions are a huge part of our world culture. This tradition dates back to the ancient Babylonians thousands of years ago as they celebrated their new yearBabylonians made resolutions and believed that their chosen gods would reward them for sticking to their intentions and, on the contrary, punish them if they could not follow through. Aspects of this practice are present in our new year culture today.

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CA works with autistic people and their families to help them thrive. Every day, we’re building a future where the most vulnerable Virginians can actively participate in our community and realize their full potential.

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