Looking for a quick way to get those “new year’s resolutions” logged? How about a way to ensure you actually find the time to accomplish them? Here’s my fresh take..
My New Favorite Hack for Goal Setting
In the past, I was all about vision boards and goal journals and benefitted greatly from them. However, the last two years felt different as I went back to work full time (and now part time). I went short and sweet on setting goals about two weeks into the month and new year. What that looked like for me this year: Opening my (free) Microsoft To Do: Lists & Tasks app for Android > Copying my 2022 bulleted goals list > Checking off the one thing I completed and tweaking a few of the other items to carry forward and adding one. Did I get discouraged that I only got to check off one? Nope, and here’s why:
I have 9 items on the list – mostly because they all fit on one screen. They don’t have specific numbers (I don’t care if I read exactly 12 books per year anymore as long as I make time for reading.) They are brief (one or two words each) and have loose timelines like daily, quarterly, or by the end of the year. And they fall into four buckets:
Growth: Daily practices I want to add to my life more regularly like meditation, journaling and reading fiction books
Fun: Big things I want to accomplish that just bring me joy like getting a new car, booking a family trip to Disneyworld, and signing up for a class to learn Spanish
Social: Ways to grow in community and surround myself with more like-minded people like planning my first girls’ trip and joining a group at our new church
Service: Things to do to give back like participate (or lead!) in volunteer projects
Did you notice that only part of my list is around growth? For years my list started with revenue goals at work, weight loss goals on the scale, or things I thought I “should” do like organize my house. Who says goals have to be all work and no play? My recommendation is to add some fun goals to your list too! Remember, the health triangle? Don’t forget to feed all sides of your wellness: social, mental, and physical.
Oddly none of my nine goals mentioned physical health like workout more or lose a certain number of pounds. I think by putting that down in writing and then often coming up short it can be more of a deterrent for me. But it was something on my mind, so I needed to ensure I made wellness a priority and changed something over what I’d done the year before. (Note: scheduling your annual physical in December can be a great motivator to kick off January in a new direction!)
168 Hours in a Week
That’s where the last item I have on my digital goals comes in to play. The last item on my list isn’t an actual task or goal but a list on its own. I heard about this “strategy” last year and it really stuck with me. It’s the idea that we all have the same 168 hours in a week… so how are you spending it and how do you want to be spending it? Being as I excel with a spreadsheet (pun intended), I loved the concept of getting analytical and calculating how I spend my time current-state. You can get a specific as logging an entire day in minute blocks and then going back and bucketing it or you can stay high level and quickly jot down in your phone where your time is spent totaling 168 (56 hours sleeping, 40 hours working, etc.)
Actually breaking down my week was eye opening and really made me appreciate what I do well and be much more conscious about what and where I want to change things. Some of it, I really had to contemplate as to where the rest of my time was actually going (don’t forget to add your social media scrolling!).
As someone who is always saying, “I don’t have time” to commit to another project or find time for self care, or trades sleep to get things done, this was a game changer. So in my app I added a task bullet called “168 hours” and in the notes section I wrote out how I’m currently breaking down my week and notes next to each of where I want to change.
If you don’t get tactical and figure out where you are going to cut something in order to grow something else, you likely won’t succeed in forming any new habits or routines. As they say “hope is not a strategy.” This is where I made sure I added more time for social outings and exercise over the previous year.
When I look at 30 minutes 3x per week of exercise or only 1.5 hours out of 168 in a week, it seems much less daunting to find time to workout. When I see how much of my time is still going to my children when I add up after-school and weekends, it ensures I don’t let any mom-guilt take over when I try to make excuses to give up my moms’ night out or workout class.
So give it a try this year if you haven’t already locked in those goals for 2023 and go digital. Find out what is draining you and where you can shift and prioritize to make room for a little fun!
What screensaver do you have on your phone right now? Pictures of your kids, pets, last vacation?
Mine is the words “You are enough.” That’s right, I have a problem with feelings of enough-ness. I’ve been working on it with a therapist throughout the past year and recognize now how often my self-worth rises and falls based on what others think. When she said these 3 little words to me one session, I just kept repeating it all afternoon whenever those feelings crept in and realized how much I need to hear it over the negative self-talk. So now it’s on my phone as a daily reminder.
Apparently its not an uncommon sentiment. According to surveys, 8 out of 10 millennials (ages 22-38) believe they aren’t “good enough” in virtually all areas of their lives. 75% of the respondents felt overwhelmed with pressure to succeed – in careers, romantic relationships, and meeting others expectations. 70% said that daily tasks like working out regularly, eating healthy and making enough money were some of the top sources of pressure, even impacting their sleep and mental health.
So clearly, its not uncommon to experience a feeling of unworthiness on occasion – we feel we just aren’t worthy of care or another’s love and affection, respect or admiration. It can change over time with age or hardships.
Self worth is your inherent value and should come from within NOT based on performance, money, appearance, academic prowess, athleticism, helping others, relationships, or family approval. It differs from self-esteem that says “I got this.” Or “I’m the best.” Self worth says “This doesn’t define me” and “This is important and I’m going to do my best.”
Unfortunately, not feeling like enough can prevent us from taking risks we might otherwise take, neglect certain relationships out of fear, shame, or guilt, and even internalize the negativity until our body suffers medical and psychological consequences. It’s not the feeling that causes concern, it’s the inability to deal with it when it does.
Your problem is you’re … too busy holding onto your unworthiness.”
– Ram Dass
So, where is all this pressure coming from?
Attachment Style: If your childhood involved instability or a lack of consistent love and emotional presence from your primary caregivers, you may have an anxious or avoidance attachment style and struggle with intense emotional connections and develop reasons why we don’t want them, deserve them, or need them. Take a quiz to learn your attachment style here.
Parental attention: Did your parents give you more attention on the field than for your art projects? Often achievement-based-worthiness starts based on parental reinforcement.
Romantic partners: Past toxic relationships can impact future relationships. Being a survivor of emotionally or physically abusive romantic relationships can lead to low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness.
Peers/friends: Do you feel more favored in a group when your looks or talents are valued? Does your friend group worry about comparison to others?
Media: The media tells us we aren’t enough. Advertising hinges on a lack or need to get us to buy more. Social media creates a constant comparison, often to perfection.
Pressure to Succeed: American culture is one of achievement that highly values drive and ambition, assuming obligation to say yes – to work more hours, to join more groups, and to looking like we have it all together. We give our children participation medals and push them to graduate with top grades in advanced classes.
Major Life Events: Living up to your own expectations or other’s standards during big changes and new stages in life can create pressure.
Religion: In the Christian tradition, I often think that pastors and teachers tend to focus on our sinfulness and valuing others above yourself, which while honest and virtuous ignore the also important love of self and inherent value as a child of God. I would love to see more sermons preaching self-care in response to Jesus’s commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22: 37-39).
A mood disorder: Feelings of worthlessness are a common symptom of depression. If they persist or are severe, please recognize that these feelings are not your fault and seek the help of a professional counselor as soon as possible.
So how do we recover our self-worth?
Feelings of guilt, self-doubt, and sadness can make it hard to stay motivated and accomplish what you want. While these feelings can be deep-rooted, you can work on freeing yourself from this thinking. With small changes to your daily routine to help beat those negative feelings and professional counseling, it is totally possible to recover your internal self-worth, even if it is a lifelong process.
Acknowledge the feelings. Feeling unworthy is a natural reaction to some stresses in life. Acknowledging the emotion can help us access our natural resilience as humans to gravitate toward peace and wholeness.
Deal with the past. Look back on other points in life when you felt this way. Somewhere along the way you concluded you aren’t enough because of how others reacted toward you. Every time these thoughts appear, let them float by. Learn more about attachment styles and how to grow in secure relationships. A Secure Relationship on Instagram is a great starting resource to understand attachment styles impact on relationships.
Challenge your mindset. Ask yourself: Would you ever talk to your friend or your child the way you talk to yourself? Create new self talk to replace the current negative stories. Literally make a list of the things you tell yourself about your worth and enough-ness in the left column and then strike through them and replace them with the truth on the right. Challenge the self-critical thoughts: “I’m stupid”, “I will be laughed at”, or “I’m unlovable.”
Example: Negative Story: I’m a bad mom if I don’t volunteer in my child’s classroom.
New Self Talk: My child is loved and taken care of and feels my genuine interest in their school day and schoolwork.
4. Start new habits.
Every day when you look at yourself in the mirror say one nice thing to yourself about yourself. If you can’t say anything yet, start with a high five in the mirror. Check out Mel Robbins new book#ad on her habit that is revolutionizing people across the world. It is actually scientifically proven that you can’t think negative thoughts while doing the high five motion.
Exercise can give you a rush of endorphins, boost your mood, and provide a sense of accomplishment.
Mindfulness: Take a step back to consider your own thoughts and feelings in the moment through meditation, journaling, and relaxation.
Pick a mantra to repeat and meditate on. It may be as simple as “I am strong, I am loved, I am worthy, I am enough.”
Set reminders – sticky notes on your mirror, your phone background. I even bought myself a ring#ad with the above mantra because I need the reminder often.
Get a new buddy. Surround yourself with others that don’t make you feel less than you should. They should encourage you and value your strengths and not perpetuate feelings of comparison.
Do what makes YOU happy. Pick something and do it just because you enjoy it. Not because it’ll end up on your resume or make for a great conversation at your next dinner party or because you don’t want the boss or PTA president frowning at you at the next meeting.
Focus on the little things. Take each day one step at a time. Set small, achievable goals for yourself, and take pride in reaching them. Remember, everyone’s journey in life looks different and no one can do everything at once!
Create an introduction. Come up with how to introduce yourself that doesn’t involve your job, title, or other “labels.” Be justifiably proud of your talents and strengths. Everyone has things they’re good at and confident doing.
Break the cycle. Respond to your loved ones successes and failures with love and acceptance. Model a new way for future generations.
Therapy. Healing old wounds is the only way to ensure that negative experiences in the past don’t affect your ability to carry out healthy and happy relationships in the present. If paying for therapy out of pocket isn’t an option for you, be sure to check with your health insurance provider, college health center, employee benefits, or reach out to a community mental health center near you to find out about more affordable options. There are even online resources like betterhelp.com.
Impact on Self Care
While logically many of us believe the messages we internalize aren’t realistic, we’ve still let them condition our self-worth. Saying no, pulling back, going through a season of hard things doesn’t make you any less lovable, worthy, or capable.
It means your human.
And yes being human can be hard, messy, confusing, and unfair.
Do you feel like you don’t deserve to be taken care of? If you have an achievement based definition of success, your self-worth will also be about outcome – counting steps, calories, pounds – and you’ll feel less worthy of self-care.
But self care is about self-respect – you deserve respect. Regard self-care as something naturally part of your day for your wellness. Taking good care of yourself builds self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence. It doesn’t mean lowering the bar on achievement, but it means that there is a baseline of worth that you cannot go below. As much as I appreciate those who are driven, you don’t need to earn your worth. It already and always exists.
It’s never to late to start loving yourself enough to take good care of yourself. The pattern of unworthiness might have been with you for decades. Be patient. Give it time and loving attention, and it will loosen its grip.
You are enough. You are worthy and loved BEFORE you achieve a single thing.
“Music can heal the wounds which medicine cannot touch.”
– Debasish Mridha
The kids are running around the living room in circles….which means the dogs are chasing them, barking, loudly….my husband is watering the plants out back…I’m trying to make dinner so it will be ready at a decent hour. I’m also highly sensitive and overwhelmed easily. So here is my go to when things get too stressful quickly –First, I send those kids and dogs out back. Then I ask my Alexa Echo Dot to play “Weightless” by Marconi Union.
I can’t recall where I first heard about this song but it stuck with me. By the end of the song (its relatively long at 8 minutes), I’m much calmer! And according to science I actually am.
So whether you are having a momentary stressful moment like my dinner hour, or you are experiencing chronic stress, finding ways to manage stress levels are important to your health. We know that stress causes chemicals like cortisol to be released that increases health risks like heart disease, depression, and many others.
Music therapy is available and studies have long shown that music can impact performance and mood. But the British Academy of Sound Therapy took it a step further and partnered with the Manchester band Marconi Union to produce a relaxation song featuring guitar, piano, and electronic sounds of natural landscapes that can actually lower blood pressure, slow heart rate, and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) at never before seen rates – “Weightless.”
It starts at 60 beats per minute (bpm) and slows to around 50bpm which allows your heart rate to fall into sync with the beat after about 5 minutes, so make sure you listen to the end. The lack of repetitive melody prevents your brain from trying to predict what comes next so it can essentially “check out.”
Neuroscientists have confirmed that “Weightless” is 11% more relaxing than any other song including the likes of Mozart and Enya. Anxiety dropped by 65%, even below the participant’s usual resting rate.
It should be noted, that some women were so relaxed they became drowsy so its been advised against driving while listening to this song!
So I hope you’ll take this little calm-down hack and incorporate it into your days when they get hectic. I even created a playlist with the Top 10 Most Relaxing Songs according to the study just for you – enjoy!
Go old school and create a vision board! First you have to identify what your dreams and goals are – go back and read my post on goal setting – then grab a bunch of magazines and a pair of scissors and get to work!
Here’s mine from 2019. It was hanging in my closet so I would see it regularly.
Are you tech savvy? Create a digital vision board instead. Save it to your phone backdrop so it stays top of mind.
Some people love goals…New Year’s Resolutions? Yep. Career goals and milestones? Love ’em! I’ve always loved the sense of accomplishment even as simple as making a daily to-do post it note list just to I can check it off. I also thrive on recognition and external praise – ready for my yearly review with my boss? I’m prepared! Up for an award? Awesome!
But if you aren’t motivated by the same feeling, hear me out.
Daily, intentional focus can be so helpful. There is so much power in focusing on the outcome instead of just a mental to-do list.
Maybe you like the idea of goals but get frustrated and beat yourself up when you fail to achieve our goal or give up.
Often, I think it is because we get so fired up for change, we bite off more than we can chew. Too many resolutions, priorities, and things to keep up with and it will rob you of motivation.
Your goals may not be too lofty, just too many.
When everything is important, nothing is important.”
– Rachel Hollis
You don’t have to do it all to see massive change. Narrowing your focus on one goal and work until it becomes second-nature…habit…success. And when you start to grow in one area, you might be surprised that other areas grow along with it.
So how do you figure out what to focus on first?
I absolutely love Rachel Hollis’ 10,10, 1 practice. Regardless of what you think of her rocky last year in the public eye, I still think her method is rock solid.
Ten years. Ten dreams. One goal.
Visualization Exercise: The best of me…
Close your eyes and envision who you want to be in 10 years, like a movie in your head. Imagine your best possible life – no limits on it. Don’t listen to the voice in the back telling you to play it safe. Your dreams should light you on fire and make you a little nervous!
What are you doing? Wearing? Driving? Are you joyful? Energetic? Do you have a home? Kids?
What do you do all day? What do you do for work? Are you a great cook? Love to run? Travel?
Who do you surround yourself with? How do they treat you?
Now open your eyes and jot down or draw all the things you saw in your mind. Don’t worry about being “realistic” – fill up the page!
Now that you know who you want to be, look at that list and what are 10 dreams that would make your vision a reality? A dream is something you obsess over and fantasize will come true. Think what dreams, if they were to come true, would make your future-self real? For example, if you envisioned financial freedom, maybe your dream would be making a six-figure salary or getting completely out of debt.
Some are things you want to achieve, others you can accomplish daily.
I have a million $$ in the bank.
I am a calm & peaceful parent.
Here’s another important piece of the puzzle. Like the examples above, write them as if they’ve already happened. Yep, we’re going to trick our subconscious. It will focus our mind on how to make them real right now instead of just another mental wish list.
What is one thing you can do to get you closer to that 10 year-from-now you the fastest? Which one of the those dreams are you going to turn into a goal and actively pursue first?
A goal is a dream with work boots on.”
If one of your dreams is to get into shape, it becomes a goal when you sign up for a half marathon, join a running club, and start putting in the miles.
And yes it has to be specific and measurable. Turn “I want to do better with my finances” into “I want to save $3000.”
Here’s the twist – don’t set a time limit. It sets a lot of people up for failure. Working on yourself is a lifelong process! What matters in consistency, not perfection.
Start everyday meditating on your one goal. Are you a journal person? Write your dreams down daily. The same 10. Instill in your head where your focus should be. Now you know where your headed and can build your habits around the results you want!
Health is the measure of our body’s efficiency and overall well-being. The health triangle is a measure of the different aspects of health and includes physical, social, and mental health. Created in 1997 as a project for an Alaska Middle School, the Health Triangle creators used an equilateral triangle to represent these aspects of health. Because all sides of this types of triangle are equal, it stresses the equal importance of each of these aspects. Devoting more attention to one particular side, while neglecting the others, can lead to health imbalances.
This blog is divided into the 3 sides of the health triangle and all posts will be categorized as such:
mind (mental health), matter (physical health) and meet (social health).
Matter: Physical Health
Deals with the body’s ability to function
Includes exercise, nutrition, sleep, alcohol & drugs, and weight management
Proper balance results in more energy, maintaining a healthy weight, increased confidence & self esteem, and decreases risk of certain chronic diseases
Mind: Mental Health
Deals with how we think, feel and cope with daily life.
Includes learning, stress management, and mental illnesses or disorders.
Proper balance increases self-confidence, awareness, and self perception. It also deals with the way our bodies and minds deal with life changes and decrease risk for anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses.
Meet: Social Health
Deals with the way react with people within our environment.
Includes public health, family relationships, and peer relationships.
Supportive, loving relationships help eliminate stress, increase happiness and self-esteem, and help celebrate accomplishments, promoting a safe environment.
The three components are dependent on one another. For example, someone who stays out late socializing might not be getting enough sleep. Someone strict about exercise might neglect other aspects of life in order to not miss a workout or a meticulous dieter may avoid going out to dinner because of their self-imposed rules.
It’s important to reflect on your own balance. Use the below Health Inventory tool as a means of evaluating and possibly changing your habits. Do you have excellent physical health, but inadequate social health? This can lead to loneliness, which might eventually compromise mental health. Consider joining a gym and fitness class to meet new workout buddies. Connect with a like-minded group on social media. Your support system can help you adhere to healthy habits.
Want to take it a step further? Think of 5 of your favorite activities (hobbies, interests) and then reflect on what impact each one has on each side of your health triangle, positive or negative. For example, yoga: builds core strength and flexibility (physical), relaxes and reduces stress (mental), and you meet friends there (social). Sounds great on all sides…so make that interest a priority in the coming month!
Let’s not beat ourselves up on where we’ve been or where we are on this journey. Let’s stop letting insecurities tell us who we ought to be and let our future shape us into who we were made to be.
I encourage you to start your journey by setting goals, practicing behaviors that achieve those goals and getting support to do so, and reflecting on what helps or hinders you achieving personal wellbeing. You’re worthy…now let’s get healthy!