The New Resolution: Setting Goals that Stick in 2019
The beginning of a new year is an opportunity for a fresh start. We wake up on January 1st full of optimism and determination to change our lives. Often despite, having a bit too much fun the night before. We burst into the New Year with hopefulness and declare that this year will be different, better, improved.
Human beings seem to have an assiduous desire to “improve” their lives. Less sugar, more spinning, better sleep. “I will be amazing by June”, we say. “I will learn a new language, travel to Greece and be able to bounce a penny off my abs. The ME I always wanted to be”. Some time around March we stumble across our list of New Year resolutions on a tattered piece of paper and quickly stuff it back in the drawer with a feeling of self-loathing and shame. We tend to set the same goals every single year, but why?
The answer is simple. We set the bar too high, forget to break down the specific steps and underestimate the importance of following-up with ourselves.
The key to setting realistic goals is this: Simplicity and Sustainability.
The idea is to keep the essence of your personal wellness goals spacious. Since we cannot predict the future, we can assume that our circumstances, environments and situations will change throughout the year. It is a good idea to leave some room for your goals to adapt to changing contexts. Keep it broad and simple.
We also tend to set goals that we think we should set instead of what we really need or want to set. In order for new habits to be sustainable, they must be in line with our deeper ideologies about health and wellness and remain consistent through changing tides.
Example: Instead of asking, “What do I need to do this year?”, try asking, “What do I value most?”. I have put together a few tips to help you focus on setting sustainable resolutions for personal wellness. Here is a fun Five Step Exercise for setting a New Year goal plan that will stick.
STEP ONE: Use a blank sheet of paper to pour your heart out and jot down ALL the goals that come to mind. No rules, just a dream-catcher of thoughts. You may decide to leave this magical sheet of paper on your desk or kitchen table for a few days until you are sure your have captured all of the ideas floating around in your mind.
STEP TWO: Identify several broad categories for these goals. Your magical thought catcher might have dozens of ideas. However, a closer contemplation will reveal that many of these are the same or similar thoughts. Try identifying four to six board categories. For example, Physical Wellness, Intellectual Wellness, Nutritional Wellness, Creative Wellness. Hint: These broad categories may be written in the form of an affirmation statement.
For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose ten pounds, exercise three times a week and do more sit-ups”, your broad goal might be, Physical Wellness. An affirmation (if you choose to use one) might look something like; “I dedicate time each day to check in with my body and assess my feeling of physical wellness.”. Keep it simple.
STEP THREE: Ah...the trusted index card. We will call them Wellness Cards. Smile. Write down the four to six broad wellness categories on the front of an index card. If you choose to adapt the positive affirmation, add that too!
Example (Front of Wellness Card): PHYSICAL WELLNESS I dedicate time each day to check in with my body to assess my feeling of physical wellness.
On the back of the Wellness Card, write down specific ideas you have for how to do this. Remember the “changing circumstances”? Give yourself options. It is unlikely that every single Wednesday of the year, you will be in the 6:30 yoga class. Stuff happens. If you are having an off day, perhaps you simply choose to stretch at home and defer class until you feel better. The idea is to set your self up for success with flexible options instead of creating sneaky opportunities to feel disappointed for not following an unrealistic routine.
Example (Back of Wellness Card): Yoga 1x week. Meditation and breathing exercise. Run 3x week. Stretch.
HINT: Colorful index cards and inspiring stickers may add an extra touch of positive energy.
STEP FOUR: Identify your main source of organization. Do you use your phone, a spiral notebook, planner or a journal to keep track of your life? Determine your main system of organization and keep your Wellness Cards near. Commit to starting each day by quickly reviewing the cards and noting your achievements in your calendar each evening.
STEP FIVE: In your calendar, note periodic dates throughout the year to review your Wellness Goals. March, June, September, December are good three month markers to conduct a goal refresher. You may decide to make this review a special occasion. A Personal Wellness Date with your self so-to-speak. This time of reflection allows us to refine our specific goals for current circumstances and add new ones to the list.
Setting realistic objectives for personal wellness is an essential part of a healthy and happy lifestyle. Everyone has a unique approach to transforming aspiring thoughts into tangible action steps, this is just one. However, you decide to approach it, remember to celebrate each accomplishment and reinforce achievement with the positive self-talk you deserve. You are the master of your own destiny and each of us innately owns the ability to live a powerful life.
If you would like to take a deeper look into your personal wellness practices, consider taking my Six Week Wellness Journey online. The Global Wellness Center offers a unique opportunity to create a thorough assessment of personal wellness, create a comprehensive goal plan and talk through the strengths and barriers that affect productivity and happiness.
Many of those who are close to me have come to learn more about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) than they probably ever wanted to know. As a mental health professional, who has specialized in women and relationships, I naively believed I that I was immune to the perils of the sociopath. I would certainly be able to spot one coming a million miles away. I would straighten my professional jacket, point him out with my pen in hand and clearly declare a safe and solid boundary.
Some of you, who do not know me as well, may have missed the fact that I spent nearly four soul-splitting years in a relationship with a narcissist. If you, like me, have ever hung out in the “I survived Narcissistic Abuse and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” club, you can attest to the fact that it is certainly a life changing experience.
There is no shortage of literature available online discussing this topic. It is like Googling, “how to fix a busted water pipe” - you don’t know you need it until you really, really need it.
In hindsight, it is so clear. What I was experiencing ticked ALL of the boxes on the hundreds of lists circulating the web on How to tell if you are in a relationship with a narcissist. Unfortunately, the nature of this creepy and clandestine mistreatment is more like a very, very slow leak than a sudden and obvious POP. It is wrapped in an overly decorated package and deliberately designed to make you question your sanity, lose your cool and feed your own self-esteem to someone else’s birds without even knowing what has occurred.
And just when you have mustered up and spent every last ounce of your sacred energy trying to fix the horrible scene unfolding, you are quickly discarded without a second thought. Without remorse. Without explanation. Without reason. Like it never happened. Talk about a serious WTF experience? Welcome to the world of Narcissism.
But wait...there is an upside. Actually, there is an incredible, amazing, unimaginable upside. Life changing experiences like these can open up doors for us to connect to ourselves on a very deep level. In this space, we can access unexplored parts of ourselves, make new healthy connections, and realize things we had never known (or had forgotten) were possible. So now, the name of the club has changed to the, “I have survived everything that life has thrown my way and I am rocking this f*ing t-shirt” club. You feeling me?
I have deliberated for months about when and how to share my experiences. How much should I share? What should I say? Who will read it? Why? I am a therapist, a counselor, and an advocate for personal development, wellness and self-actualization. I always have been. This is my gift and therefore my responsibility. I have experienced an incredible chapter of my own journey and I recognize the value of paying this forward. If something I say or write along the journey touches even one woman or provides insight to a friend or family member of someone experiencing narcissistic abuse, it’s totally worth it.
More and more attention is being given to understanding Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) and how it affects those whose lives have have been impacted by involvement with a narcissist. What seems like a devastating blow can actually be a great gift on our own journey of self-discovery. There are definite things we can do to support resilience, overcome loss and benefit greatly from thriving in the face of challenge. There is a growing community of men and women who have overcome narcissistic abuse and are all here to help others make sense of the rubble and re-build an even stronger fortress of self-love.
Today is the first World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day and I felt inclined to support and promote this initiative. I intend to be open about my own experience and to incorporate the treasures of insight and understanding that I have gained, into my work with others. So…you may be hearing more from me on the subject of resilience.
My online counseling practice, Global Wellness Center, specializes in working with folks navigating the journey of life. From grief and loss to relationships to vocational stress, self-care and creative goal setting. Global Wellness Center was created to offer support and clarity on the bumpy (but also amazing) road of life.
If Narcissistic Personality Disorder has affected you, or someone you know, please share, and get in touch. Let’s talk about it. There is hope. I promise. Looking forward to hearing from you.