Following the holiday season, at the start of each year is when we make New Year’s resolutions, and set personal goals for the year ahead.
Rather than make the same old resolutions and goals only to be disappointed by April, there might be another option to see you through the whole year.
When counsellors or coaches talk about goal-setting they often mean setting ‘SMART’ goals. This stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound. SMART goals have their use and can be useful checkpoints to reach your target.
For example, a weight loss SMART goal is “I will eat five servings of vegetables each day” or for exercising “I will walk 20 minutes each morning before 9am”. The problem starts when you grabbed a comfort bucket of KFC for dinner or that 20 minutes’ daily walk slipped to include weekend sleep-ins and walking only the first three days of the week.
Now the goals are sliding, and a certain amount of self-blame makes things worse.
Rather than focus on the usual goals along the lines of weight-loss, healthier diet, and greater fitness, in 2024 how about trying something completely different?
Instead of weight-loss, how about a goal of ‘enjoying life more’? Doing something enjoyable each day. These are the very simple pleasurable free things like walking past the florist and smelling the roses or jonquils (which costs nothing), wearing a favourite pair of shoes to work or school, or a hot shower and drying off with that sun-dried towel.
It could be the smell of the coffee in the morning, or looking forward to a favourite nighttime TV show or podcast.
Instead of a ‘better diet’, how about ‘doing one self-care activity a day’? Anything that gives you a feeling of renewal or that ‘recharges your batteries’ is a self-care activity.
Listening to music that lifts your mood, getting out from behind the desk and taking a lunchtime stroll, noting what makes you say ‘yay!’, taking 10 minutes to watch a favourite comedian on TikTok, unfollow social media accounts or people who bring you down. Self-care also includes noticing how you’re talking to yourself and not beating yourself up.
Instead of ‘greater physical fitness’, how about ‘learn one new thing a day’? This includes asking ‘why’ as a way of learning. Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet? Why do we smell rain?
It can also mean starting a new hobby, or doing a daily crossword. Today there’s a number of free online learning platforms offering courses. A 20-minute TED talk usually offers at least one new thing to learn.
This 2024, look at what refreshes and renews you, so you enjoy the next 365 days in a deeper, happier and more balanced way.
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