As we are stepping into February, we may recognize all the possibilities, hopes, and opportunities we set for ourselves. This is undoubtedly a time many of us make a new commit to goals and things we value such as our health, our time, and things that bring us joy. This time may also feel overwhelming or even challenging to some. Some of you may have already decided that you have not "succeeded in your New Year's resolutions." The idea of setting aspirations may feel daunting or unachievable, which may keep individuals feeling “stuck” or unable to take steps towards their hopes for this new year. I myself have often struggled with the concept of “new year, new me,” and would like to provide some tools that I myself continue to practice to reconnect with my own journey of living in ways congruent with my values. In my many attempts at setting goals for myself, here is what I have learned:
First, it is important to understand the root of your goals. Why is this specific goal important to you? How does this goal connect with your core values? What are your values? The more we can better familiarize ourselves with what it is that we truly value, we can set goals with intention so that we can take steps to live in ways that align and connect us with our values.
Now that we are growing to better understand the root of our goals, it is important to recognize how working on our goal(s) will improve our health, well-being, and/or quality of life. Sometimes it can be helpful to ask yourself “if I worked on ___, what would be different?” See what that question sparks inside you!
It is important to be realistic. We are living in times where certainty is not always constant, which calls for flexibility and adaptability. It can be quite helpful before or as we are getting started in our journey of setting goals to be aware of what may get in our way. What are the barriers that prevent or keep me from achieving this goal? They may be external or internal. It is important to step into this process without placing judgment, but instead examining these barriers from a place of curiosity and problem-solving.
Now that we have recognized potential barriers, what support do we need in helping to navigate them? This may be internal and/or external. This may be reaching out to a partner or family member and asking them to watch the kids so you can attend your favorite yoga class. This may be setting an alarm in the morning so you can wake up an hour earlier than usual and engage in a relaxing morning routine. I understand that support looks and feels different to everyone, and that not all of us have the village of support we may sometimes feel like we need. You know yourself. You are the expert on you. I invite you to empower yourself to be your best advocate and problem-solver so that your goals and aspirations can be nurtured. You deserve that!
Help yourself by making your goals specific. The more specific, the more clear they are. There is so much ambiguity in the world right now, here is a great opportunity to take control and be concise about what you want to work on and how you are going to make it happen. Instead of saying “I want to exercise more” try “I’m going to do a spin class on Monday and Wednesday evenings at 6pm at my local gym.” Do you hear the difference?
The last tip I will leave you with is the importance in allowing space for both self-compassion and accountability to exist. Both can exist simultaneously. It is in your personal best interest to extend yourself gratitude and humanness in granting yourself the ability to have compassion for yourself and all that entails. It is also helpful in the process of growing and working towards your personal goals to give yourself the gift of accountability. To allow yourself to show up and be seen by yourself. To give yourself opportunities to challenge yourself and be the victor and also challenge yourself and recognize the struggles. I hope all of you continue to set goals for yourselves, not just because it is a new year, but because you see your intrinsic value and worth to propel you forward in your independent and unique journeys.