It is already a few weeks into 2020 and some of us are well into on our New Year’s resolution journey. In my walk with clients I have noticed that our relationship with resolutions can often be a source of great disappointment. Which kind of defeats the whole purpose, don’t you think?
Some issues I commonly see in our resolutions are:
– very lofty goals
– goals that are hard to measure (in terms of success)
– see goals that our peers are choosing, so we take them on as well
– long term goals
This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but a few of the common ones I see quite often. Not any one of these types of goals are necessarily bad on it’s own. I would suggest that having any of these types of achievements on your list can actually be healthy, depending on the specificity of it. What seems to be missing however, are the seemingly small, achievable goals.
Small achievable goals are ways to regularly set yourself up for success. Allowing yourself small victories monthly, weekly, or even daily, is a great tool to build your confidence for those loftier long term goals. If one of your larger resolutions for the year is to “Have more boundaries with your work/life balance” (one of those goals that can be hard to measure). An example of some small achievable goals could be: get outside every day for 10 minutes, turn off your email after 7 pm, get in a work out class 3x a week, go on a date with your partner or out with friends once every two weeks. These little goals can help build evidence within yourself of how capable you are to honor your boundaries in small ways, which help translate into those larger goals.
Need some ideas for achievable goal setting? Here is a list of mental health themed “small” goals for this new year.
Track Your Mood
Paying attention to how your environment affects your mood can help you better understand your triggers and also what gives your positive energy. Finding a way to track these triggers can help aid in coping and creating new desirable patterns in your life. There are various apps and journal prompts that can assist in this, I have linked a free list of creative ways to track your mood here.
Examine your relationship with social media
There has been a lot of research on the affect of social media on our mental health (see here). Primarily on depression and loneliness. Some studies even suggest a casual link between less social media and a marked positive shift in overall well being. A small way to affect change in your relationship here could be to turn off push notifications, delete the app off your phone for the weekend (or longer), or moving apps to a different folder.
Start a new hobby (or pick up an old one)
Hobbies are a great way to counteract day to day stresses. In today’s culture there is often pressure to make your hobby a “side hustle” or to perfect it in some way. That type of pressure can make finding a new hobby a lot more stressful than it needs to be. It doesn’t have to be something that you’re necessarily great at, but more so something that gives you a sense of enjoyment or accomplishment.
Schedule a mental health appointment
This goal may be a small or big one depending on the person. I am definitely a believer that there are some seasons to really work in this area and also seasons to rest. Yet, depending on where you are at in your mental health walk, it may be helpful to check in with your old therapist or take a bold step to go in for the first time. Appointments with your therapist can added to the list of small weekly/ monthly goals that you set up for yourself. They can also systematically help you achieve your longer term goals and address any potential blocks they see showing up for you.
I hope you can begin to feel more progress and appreciation for all the ways you are achieving your goals in both the “small” and “large” ways.