January Spotlight 2024
January Spotlight 2024
January is the start of a new year. It is like a white prairie field in winter. Blank. Clean. Fresh. Ready for new footprints and pathways to be made. The buzz from the holiday season is fading away and the cold of winter has fully set in. Many people are ready to welcome back routine and structure, while others may have more difficultly transitioning back into the regular pace of life. You do not have to make any new year resolutions for January; however, it is an opportune time to reflect and see where we’ve come and look ahead to where we want to go.
If you are looking to make some changes but do not know where to start, you may want to consider the SMART method to goal setting.
SMART goals are:
Step 1: Identify your goals.
Take time to think and reflect on what it is that you want to see some changes on. Goals can be related to a variety of aspects in your life such as relationships, career, finances health, personal development or lifestyle.
Goals should be realistic and attainable, if you set your goals too high, it will be too difficult to accomplish them, and your motivation may be compromised.
Goals should be concrete and specific. If a goal is too vague it is too hard to determine what steps you need to accomplish them. Here are a few examples:
|Poor Examples of Goals
|Good Examples of Goals
|Eat less sugar
|Reduce the cans of soda I have by 1 can per day
|Be less anxious
|Practice relaxation exercises once a day
|Spend more time outside
|Go to the park on Sunday for 2 hours
|Go for a walk 3x a week for 20 minutes
Step 2: Break goals into smaller steps, especially for medium and long-term goals. For example, if your goal is to try a new hobby, a smaller goal may be, to grab the leisure guide and start looking at what hobbies you may want to available or that pique your interest.
Step 3: Identify obstacles; be aware of what may stand in your way so that you can prepare as best you can to minimize the impact. There are going to be barriers; falling back into old unhelpful patterns is not uncommon so prepare as best you can and set realistic expectations.
Step 4: Schedule your goals. You are more likely to complete your goals if you are clear about what you are going to do, and when you are going to do it. It is important to be flexible, as sometimes things can get in the way of accomplishing things that are out of our control, for example, the weather or unforeseen appointments.
Step 5: Carry out your goals. The key to achieving your goals is to just DO IT! We often wait until we feel better, or the timing is just right to start something – do not wait for the motivation to take action, the motivation will follow.
Step 6: Reward yourself! If you were able to accomplish your goal, treat yo’self! For some folks, having a specific reward as motivation can be very helpful, perhaps engage in a fun activity or plan to purchase a special gift for yourself. You can check accomplishments off your list as you go along too, there is satisfaction in seeing your progress.
Things don’t always go as planned, if you had trouble achieving your goal, you may need to revise it, and that’s ok! Take a step back and see what got in the way. Retrace the steps for goal setting listed to make sure your goal is specific, realistic, attainable, relevant and timely.
Some other helpful hints include:
- Start small. Making small changes can have a big impact on your life.
- Be patient. Change takes time, especially with long term goals.
- Avoid all or nothing thinking: No one finishes all their goals all the time. Acknowledge your efforts and the strides you have made, with the understanding that you can create a new plan for accomplishing goals you were unable to complete. It’s a part of the process.
- Practice self compassion. Be kind, and gentle with yourself. Change is hard work!
If you want support around goal setting or your mental health, please reach out to a Wellness Specialist from Care For All in Education. We are here to help you find and learn how to use, the resources, tools and supports you may need to cultivate and strengthen your own wellness.
Reach out and call: 1.877.602.1660
Or live chat: www.careforallineducation.com
We are here for you!