Are you feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed right now? Well, you have every right to feel that way. It is a good habit to reflect on all the things you have and not ruminate on all the things going wrong, to keep your mental health balanced. However, sometimes it is okay to just say “hey, I am having a hard time right now” and for someone else to validate how you feel. This is a tough time. Stress about health and worry for loved ones, concerns about personal and global finances, and other greater life concerns that many people are facing may only be part of what is causing issues. There are those who are alone and isolated, those who are overwhelmed by family at home, those missing important life events, and so on. Just because it is not a crisis does not mean it isn’t important and you don’t deserve to have feelings about it. Yeah, maybe someone does have it harder, but that doesn’t mean what you are going through isn’t hard or important. Be well friends.
It is important to acknowledge the impact the current covid-19 pandemic situation has had on our home lives and relationships with our families. Many people are experiencing stress for different reasons and are expressing their stress in different ways, but when we are locked in close quarters, it is hard for it not to all impact the entire family. I want to validate those who are struggling with their home lives and encourage them to keep doing the things they need to do to recharge their batteries and maintain good mental health.
Every January gym memberships soar, health foods are purchased, cigarettes are thrown out, financial savings plans are made, family time is instituted, and stress management strategies are created. People set goals every year to improve their lives, and yet only months later many will have given up on their resolution. Do those that fail to complete their resolutions just have less willpower? The answer is no, they have just either not chosen the right goal or need to plan more effectively. To help increase your chance of success with your resolution, here are some basic success strategies:
Set Meaningful Goals
If you are going to set a goal that will be difficult to achieve, it is critical that it is important to you or that you can see the importance of doing it to improve your life. Basically, when the going gets tough, will you care enough about the goal to keep on keeping on? Goals that are set to make someone else happy or are superficial in nature are often more difficult to achieve. The more meaningful the result of the goal, the easier it is to keep going during hard times. It helps to focus on why the goal is important to you.
Surround Yourself with Reminders
Find a way to set up your surroundings with reminders about the goal and why it is important, to help you stay motivated during difficult times. Carry or display a picture of your family, a letter you wrote to yourself at the beginning of the journey, a medical report, or a picture of that dream item you are saving for, anything that you can look at to remind you of your goal. The constant connection with what your goal is and what it means to you will help you stay motivated.
Set Realistic Goals
Often people want a great radical change but may not have the ability to make that great of a change right away. Huge lifestyle shifts can be difficult, and sometimes life circumstances make drastic changes impossible. Those who adopt an “I am either a success or failure” attitude, are likely to give up completely and label themselves as a failure at the first setback. Consider the amount of time and effort your goal requires and create a plan you can sustain through the most difficult and stressful times of your year.
Dealing with Setbacks
Setbacks happen. You have a busy week and can’t get to the gym, you take a week-long binge on junk foods, you light up a smoke after a stressful day, you made an impulse purchase, or the family has hardly seen one another in weeks, sometimes we just get off track. Does that mean you failed? No, it means you need to revamp that plan so you can be more successful in the future. Ask any great athlete, scholar, actor/actress, or business person and they will tell you their careers are built on learning from failure. So, if you experience a setback, look over your plan and see what you can do to make it better, and get back to it!
One way to help stay on top of your plan is to share what you are working on with someone else. Let that person help you look for potential areas where you might struggle for planning purposes. Then encourage them to check in with you regularly to check up on that goal. Just knowing that another person is going to ask you about your goal can sometimes instill motivation to stick with it.
Now Go Forth and Succeed
If you want to be successful in your New Year’s resolution, planning is key. If you choose a meaningful but realistic goal, set your surroundings to remind yourself why that goal is important, plan for difficult times and setbacks, and have some support for your process, you will be better prepared to take on that resolution. Above all else, take a moment to be proud of yourself for trying something new and be kind to yourself when things aren’t going well. Remember, failure only happens when you fail to try. If you have questions, feel free to reach on on the Guidestar Counseling Facebook page or at www.guidestarcounseling.com.