It seems as if we are still living in times of great uncertainty. COVID is still very much a part of our worlds, and at least for me, it seems hard to keep track of the months that have turned into years. Despite all the unknown around us, we are yet again entering a new year! 

I know that around this time every year, I speak with folks who are talking about what goals or resolutions they might want to start implementing. Perhaps they want to start a new exercise routine, they might want to start maintaining their relationships a little differently, or they may even want to explore new career or schooling opportunities. Whatever these goals might be, I find it important to be in conversations about how these folks can realistically achieve their goals. 

If you are thinking about implementing some new initiatives this year, check out some tips below about how you might realistically attain them. 

A woman does a side plank as a way to listen to herself.

Listen to your own advice: 

When you’re thinking about what you might want to shift or pay more attention to this year, imagine that you are having a conversation with your best friend or partner about their goals. If they were to come to you with a goal that seems like it might be bordering on impossible, then you might ask them more about it or help them come to a goal that seems more reachable. Imagine that you are your own friend or partner when thinking about your goals. What might you tell you?

A woman eats a healthy breakfast as an idea to think about your habits.

Think about how your habits:

It can be wonderful to think about some broad goals that would help you this year. If you want to feel less stressed, that’s great! However, it might be helpful to think specifically about what contributes to that stress. Could it be certain habits? Relationships? Jobs? 

When setting resolutions or intentions around mental health, it can be helpful to be as specific as possible in your language. Instead of feeling less stress, you might want to think about looking into the things that contribute to my stress and doing the things needed to reduce the stress. This also puts some power back into your hands rather than looking to the stress to lessen. 

A woman rides a stationary bike as a metaphor for preparing yourself for obstacles.

Prepare yourself for obstacles: 

If the past almost two years has taught us anything, it is that obstacles may come in the way of our goals. Sickness, loss of loved ones, losing work—all these big life events can impact movement toward what we might want most. When thinking about setting realistic goals for our mental health this year, it can be helpful to keep in mind that obstacles may come up. You may feel discouraged, or things might pop up to throw us off our game. 

One way to stay on track with goals when these hardships come up is to have smaller and more attainable goals from the beginning.

I am by no means trying to discourage you from dreaming big or keeping positivity in your life. However, in this already overwhelming world we live in, it might be good to focus on the more manageable wins this year.

However you might set your intentions for this year, we wish you a healthy and focused year filled with Jubilance!

About the author

Becca is a registered Marriage and Family Therapist Associate who gives us her expert perspective on Emotional Health and Wellness. She holds an M.A in Education with an emphasis in Counseling as well as an M.S. in Counseling with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from San Diego State University.  Each month she writes about mental health and how to feel your best!
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