Happy New Year!
I little late I know but stay with me there is a method in my belated Happy New Year. 2020 a new decade and if you are anything like me the New Year brings a time of reflection and thoughts turn to our New Year’s resolutions or aspirations as I choose to call them. The trouble with New Year’s resolutions is that we tend to express them in terms of what we want to give up, for example, drinking, smoking, eating the wrong type of foods, stop sitting around. Giving something up makes us feel that we are losing something and is actually harder for us to achieve psychologically. Often a couple of weeks into the New Year those resolutions fall by the wayside and by March we start to beat ourselves up for not keeping our resolutions. At this time of year, there are many articles that offer ways to keep your New Years resolutions. However, ultimately it comes down to us as individuals and our mindset and how we set ourselves up for success to achieve our goals.
Self Care and Resilience
I work with senior nurses supporting their work-life balance through coaching. So many times a real source of workplace stress is identified as a lack of self-care that creates an imbalance in work and home life. I often hear words like exhausted, no time for me, just keeping my head above water, feeling under pressure, can’t switch off, can’t sleep, self-care is an indulgence. It is not that nurses don’t realise how important self-care is after all part of a nurses role is to educate their patients about self-care but when it comes to ourselves we are often the last on the list of self-care. This is common to all professions not just nursing and is a product of how busy our work life has become.
Not listening to your body
How many people can relate to the Christmas madness were you run around planning and preparing for the holiday period to the point of exhaustion and when Christmas finally arrives you collapse in a heap and your body goes into meltdown. You spend the next week coughing, sneezing feeling totally run down and lethargic. If your body could speak to you it would probably say; “well I did give you a warning remember that headache and tickly throat that you ignored and thought to yourself I don’t have time to be ill right now”. Our body does tell us when we need to stop and just be, part of the problem is that we don’t listen to the warning signs until it is too late and we are totally exhausted and susceptible to every virus going because we have let ourselves get so run down.
It doesn’t have to be this way
Here’s the thing it really doesn’t have to be this way. Self-care does not have to be expensive or complicated or take up huge amounts of your time and there are many simple practical ways that self-care can be built into our everyday work and homelife practices. It is amazing how our mind can convince us not to do something by finding reasons that in our head make it seem like too much of a challenge or creates a fear (False evidence appearing real) giving us reasons why not to do something. For example too expensive, too far to go, too late at night, too tired and we simply slip back to our favourite Netflicks show! It all becomes too hard and complicated.
Reframing our resolutions
If we reframe our New Years resolutions from giving up something to set goals around what we truly want to achieve over the coming year or even decade goals; now there’s a thought, it shifts our focus to a more positive aspiration and has potentially a greater impact on others not just ourselves. This goal can then be broken down into more manageable smaller steps where the aim is to achieve daily or weekly smaller goals that together contribute to the larger goal for 2020.
Setting yourself up for success with Goal setting in 2020
How can we keep ourselves accountable for the goals that we set so that those aspirations and positive affirmations don’t disappear by the time we get to March? Some people find writing these own and keeping them somewhere where you can see them every day, for example sticking them on the bathroom mirror. Setting reminders on your phone. Using a weekly planner to write down what it is you’re are going to do and letting your friends and family know that this is protected “you” time. Find an accountability buddy who might like to share the same goals and together you can motivate each other. Finding a coach to help you set and achieve your goals.
This year I have set three personal Decade goals starting this year for each of the following areas;
- Kindness to self – I commit to undertake one small thing for my self-care each day
- Kindness to the environment- I commit to changing one thing in my life that will contribute to kindness to the environment
- Kindness to others- I commit to one thing that demonstrates kindness to another every day
Here are some examples of ideas for each heading there are many more that can be added. Just by practising one thing from each area will have a positive impact on your frame of mind, your self-care and boost your resilience whilst you are doing these things. These simple acts of kindness collectively will improve your health and well-being and has a ripple effect on others too. Kindness to the environment for me personally is hugely important this year as I live in Australia and as Brene Brown put it “Australia is the canary in the climate change coal mine”. If we all commit to changing one thing on a personal level then collectively that creates a ripple effect.
Kindness to self
- Solitude and quiet time
- Have a bath
- Drink more water
- Catch up on sleep
- Go and see a film
- Do a home yoga session
- Doing unproductive things
- Taking a nap
- Nature walks
- Giving yourself permission not to respond
- Exercise with no agenda or gaol
- Drawing, art, journaling, reading, listening to music with your eyes closed
- Rediscover old hobbies, knitting, sewing, craftwork
- Technology breaks
- Plan a holiday
- Keep a gratitude journal
Kindness to the environment
- Up your recycling
- Car sharing
- Commit to no plastic bags ever
- Support local businesses
- Waste less
- Sell or give away unused clothes, household items
- Buy less by asking yourself do I really need this?
- Cook home meals with food sourced locally
Kindness to others
- Say hello to someone you don’t know
- Pay forward coffee at your local coffee stop
- Give someone a compliment
- Sponsor a child with their education
- Donate to a good cause
- If you grow things share with others for free
- If you make things share with others for free
- If you see someone struggling, ask them if they need any help
- Count to 10 and be patient with others even though you are in a hurry
I would love to hear your New Years Aspirations on how you will make your self care a priority for 2020 and if you have set any decade goals around maintaining a positive work-life balance?
If you would like help with setting achievable goals for 2020 through coaching please get in touch.