As you look toward 2021 in hope of a better year, you might also be considering how you want to improve personally in the new year. While prioritizing your health, weight, finances, or social life can create valuable change in your life, take time to evaluate where you are and aspire to achievable goals.
Keep some perspective
“Sometimes we get a bit ahead of ourselves,” says Julie Manuel, MSEd, a psychotherapist with Kettering Health Network. “Rather than setting yourself up for failure, ease yourself into your goals by setting realistic expectations.”
Start with goals that, with effort, you know you can meet. This might mean that instead of deciding to exercise six days a week, you could start with two days and work your way up.
“Setting small goals is helpful to feel you’re making progress,” Julie says. “If you have an alarm set for the morning and get up without hitting snooze, you’ve already accomplished a goal for the day. We can’t conquer big goals without first achieving small ones along the way.”
Julie suggests using SMART goals to help you achieve what you want in life:
Be kind and forgiving
If you do find yourself missing the mark, avoid spiraling into a pattern of negative self-talk. “Tell yourself it’s OK and that you forgive yourself,” Julie says. “Reevaluate and put things into perspective. Know that it could be worse, but that you can also do better.”
Julie says a big part of surrounding yourself with kindness is creating community. Consider forming a group of your friends or family to discuss each other’s goals, talk about where you can hold each other accountable, and reassure each other if you don’t accomplish everything you set out to do.
If you want to focus on improving your mental wellness in 2020, Julie says being thankful is the best place to start. “Practicing gratitude is the number one key to a better, more positive self-image and self-perspective.”
Julie suggests starting a gratitude journal and dedicating time to write down the things for which you’re grateful. If journaling isn’t your style, consider setting an alarm to remind you to stop throughout the day and reflect on what you have. Whether it’s something as small as having shoes on your feet or as big as a family vacation, gratitude can help you cultivate a mindset of positivity to carry you through the coming year.