Hello, internet! And welcome to our second blog in a little series dedicated to mental and emotional health in a chaotic holiday season. If you didn't read our first blog last week about family estrangement and difficult family dynamics, please check it out here! Today we are tackling the topic of "New Years Resolutions". I don't personally believe in them, or institute them myself, and instead am constantly working toward embracing the ebb and flow of life - the need sometimes for greater routine, and at other times - for ease and rest and letting go. For accepting things as they come, for allowing myself to change my mind, change direction, take two steps forward and twelve steps back, if needed. I don't believe in the need to make concrete and measurable change from one arbitrary calendar year to the next. Instead I embrace the constant of change in the world around me, and that within me. I embrace the need to love who I am at my core, and to let go of the rest - of the things I cannot control. I want to love myself from one moment to the next, whether I have changed...or not. No matter what I've consumed, or contributed, or accomplished.
For me, at least, this type of self love and acceptance does require work. Insert Christina Solis and her passion for helping people discover, embrace, and yes, truly love their authentic selves. Christina is a mental health professional, counselor and creator of Sunshine Safe Space. She just finished up her Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and Counseling and is a counselor at a Short Term Acute Residential Treatment center in San Diego. We invited her to share an impactful goal setting technique called "SMART" goals, and chat about self love and incorporating it into your New Years intentions. All words mentioned below are Christina's - read on for her tips and tricks.
I wish you peace, love, joy, calm, acceptance, and the here and now - today, tomorrow and for all the days to come.
Christina Solis - photography by Ava Walker
I think it’s fair to say we could all use a little more self love, am I right? Let’s make 2023 the year of YOU and set some healthy goals that will give you the time and space to take care of yourself. Seriously, you deserve it.
Before we get started on what we want to bring into the New Year, you’re invited to pause for a minute, close your eyes and think of a moment that brought you joy within the past year. Once you’ve thought of the moment, give yourself a hug or smile in the mirror. You made it through another year and that is something to be proud of.
Okay, back to the goals. Setting goals is SO much easier said than done which is why we are introducing our favorite goal setting technique, SMART goals. SMART goals are effective because they are designed to be realistic. When a goal is realistic, it is more likely that you will complete the goal. SMART goals are also designed to be measurable so you will know when you have completed them, and then can acknowledge your accomplishment.
The SMART goal breakdown:
S: Specific – Get as clear as you can on what will be done and who/what is involved.
M: Measurable – This is important as the action needs to be measured. Measuring your goals helps you determine if you are making progress. It keeps you on track and on schedule
A: Achievable – Goals need to be realistic. Be real with yourself and set yourself up for success. Pro Tip: Start small and reassess your goals to ensure they are aligned with your mental/emotional/psychical bandwidth.
R: Relevant – It is important to make sure the goals are relevant to what you want to accomplish overall.
T: Time-bound – Include a specific timeline for completion. This can include frequency throughout the week, dates to reassess the goal/progress and how much time is spent on each specific task.
Here is an example of how to incorporate SMART goals into your New Year intentions.
Overall: I want to spend more time doing things that bring me creative joy.
- SMART goal 1: I will spend 45 minutes painting with watercolor, while listening to my painting playlist on my balcony one time this month.
- SMART goal 2: I will make one new recipe from my favorite cookbook 2 times this month and set the table with my favorite plates, cups and candles.
- SMART goal 3: This month I will spend 15 minutes, 3 times a week, writing creatively in my green journal (poems/short stories/blog posts).
Do you know what is even more important than goal setting…? Keeping the momentum. The momentum is alive and well in the first few months of the New Year but how do you keep that momentum alive?
The answer: Only focus on 1-2 “overall goals” at a time and then move on when that feels second nature. It’s easy to overwhelm yourself with wanting to immediately work on everything you want to accomplish. So take it slow and watch the progress happen naturally. Things take time, even if you are a goal setting baddie like yourself.
HERE’S THE HARD PART: knowing what you need. It’s easy to get caught up with what works for everyone else, especially in the digital age we live in. You are the expert of YOU meaning, you are the only one who will truly know what you need. There’s no one size fits all to self care and self love, which is why the most important question to ask yourself when setting your “Year of YOU” goals is, What does self love and taking care of yourself mean to me?
To help you get clear on what you need, here are some other questions to reflect on:
- What relaxes me? What stresses me out?
- Do I feel guilty if I put my needs first?
- How often do I spend time and energy taking care of myself versus taking care of others?
- When was the last time I told myself “good job”?
- What are the top 5 things that bring a smile to my face?
- How important is my own happiness?
- What’s preventing me from being truly happy now?
- What does a “happy life” look like in my mind?
- What helped me regain my motivation in the past when I lost it?
- What activities make me feel productive, engaged, and deeply content?
- If I had all the time in the world, what would I do more of?
Once you’ve gotten clear on what you need, it’s time to put yourself first and set some self-lovin’, “I deserve this,” “it’s my time goals”! To help kickstart your 2023 goals, we’ve created a little template for you to write down and track your goals! We recommend printing this out and putting it in a place you see it everyday! Self-love is a sustainable practice - and there's no better time to start.
Click below to learn more about Christina Solis and how you can follow along with her journey: