Did you set any New Year’s resolutions? Planning to become a “New You” in 2023? How’s that going?
I know in recent years I’ve become less focused on New Year’s resolutions and have instead written some intentions for what I’d like to achieve this year. Rather than putting myself under pressure to lose weight or cut out sugar completely (practically impossible for someone with a sweet tooth!) I’ve tried to come up with some more realistic, self-compassionate goals.
At the beginning of the year, I decided upon my work goals for the month. To be honest, I’ve already had to adapt these, but personally here are my goals:
- To pace myself more, listening to my body and allowing myself more time to rest as needed.
- Carry on with doing at least 1 mindful practice per day (usually after lunch). I’ve discovered the Balance app which is currently free for 1 year (in February 2023) which has a wide variety of meditations and plans including ones based on different emotions and for helping get to sleep. The free UCLA mindful app is also useful for its basic mindful meditations and weekly 30 min Hammer Museum podcast. I really enjoy their body scan for sleep when I need to switch off before starting the afternoon afresh.
- Going to the gym at least twice per week. I’ve built up to this gradually – starting once per week then up to twice a week or 2 later. I find this can really energise me and get those feel good endorphins going too. My aim is also to lose some weight.
Some people find SMART goals helpful, keeping them focused on:
but I know this may not work for everyone and maybe too much pressure. An example of a smart goal would be:
I aim to lose 5 kg over three months by going to the gym and eating healthily.
Five kg over three months sounds realistic and achievable , is set over a specific time and can be measured.
The Challenges of Winter
The winter months can be difficult for a number of reasons:
- Less sunlight can conversely affect our mood
- With the shorter, colder winter days, it’s harder to get outside and motivation can be less. This may result in us exercising less. This can also make it harder to get out to see friends and family
- When we feel down/ sad it may be harder to concentrate
- There can be a sense of anticlimax after the new year.
How can we address these problems?
Thinking about what we like about winter may help: for example my preference is for a warm drink (hot chocolate) and snuggling under blankets with a hot water bottle and candles burning nearby and ideally a fire burning brightly in the hearth.
Looking out on a sunny morning with clear blue skies or a glittering frosty moment when the world can look so beautiful.
Having a conversation with a friend or loved one- reaching out when we’re feeling low or in need of a chat.
Breaking down our intentions into smaller steps
What are the individual steps needed to achieve our goal? We may need to write these down and have them somewhere where we can see them to remind us of what our goal is and how to get there:
Using the earlier example of losing 5 kg in three months
Step 1. Weighing myself to record where I’m at now
Step 2. Making a plan of when I intend to go to the gym each week
Step 3 Thinking about the healthy meals and snacks I can eat to help my weight loss and so on…
….and finally to celebrate when I achieve my goal.
It’s good to celebrate the small wins in between e.g. losing the first kg.
Celebrating Small Wins
What is a small win? I would describe it as when progressing towards our goals, it’s important to recognise any progress along the way, no matter how small – and celebrate it! For me, making sure I stick to my work timings, particularly at the end of the day, and not going beyond these has been a small win for me. Being boundaried with my time is a helpful strategy. I know that structure also helps me stick to my plan.
Have you set yourself any intentions since the New Year? How are you progressing? Do you need to change anything to make your goal more realistic/ achievable? Are there any challenges you need to overcome or problem-solve? What are your small wins so far? And have you celebrated them?
Pop your comments in the box below – I’d love to hear how you are getting on.