Better Goals, Better You: Tips for Setting and Hitting Your Self-Care Goals
By Brad Krause
When it comes to self-care, almost all of us have room for improvement, but achieving better mental and physical health is rarely easy. If you want to see changes in your life, it’s important to create a clear plan, set achievable goals, and stick to them - here are some tips to help.
Areas of Importance
Identifying the key areas of importance will help you to avoid wasted time and see developments faster. Here are a few to consider.
- Sleep: It’s difficult to overstate just how much of a difference a good night’s sleep can mean for our energy levels, mood and productivity. You can often improve your sleeping pattern by reducing caffeine, drinking more water, and switching off screens in advance of bedtime.
- Diet/exercise: The fastest, cheapest, and most effective way to improve your wellness and mental health is to eat healthier and exercise more. Try to adopt more recipes with fresh ingredients and take every opportunity you can get to work your body, prioritizing cardio workouts for the release of endorphins.
- Home: A clean, calm home environment is critical for our sense of well-being. Learning about cleaning products and ingredients can help you to keep your family safe (some products may have harsh chemicals), and many supplies already in your cabinets (such as baking soda, vinegar, tea tree oil, and hydrogen peroxide) can be used to sanitize and clean effectively.
- Career: We spend a huge portion of our time working and so it’s important that you earn doing something you enjoy or that you find value in. If your work life is making you unhappy, consider if there is a passion, skill, or vocation that you would be interested in pursuing in a professional capacity.
Creating a Plan
Once you’ve identified your goals or areas of importance, your next task is to create a plan of action, building the framework that’s going to keep you on target and working hard.
- Scheduling: For most of us, the main obstacle in the way of better self-care is time. You can help alleviate time constraints by laying out your weekly schedule and trying to identify free slots to be spent on yourself. Time management apps can also help you to keep track of your weekly activities and to alert you of when a task begins or ends.
- Momentum: When it comes to exercise, dieting, or anything that involves delayed gratification, we should always keep momentum in mind. It takes time to develop healthy habits - often, it’s smarter to start off small and work our way up to the more intimidating goals.
- Reskilling: If you have identified an area of work you want to try, but you don’t have the experience or credentials, it could be worth reskilling. Going back to school to earn an education degree, for example, will allow you to learn about instructional practice and learner development (along with key knowledge in particular subjects). Here’s a good option for a course that can be completed entirely online, working around your existing routine.
Setting goals is one thing; maintaining progress is another. If you want to cultivate good habits, you can try some of these clever hacks to help.
- Positive reinforcement: Rewarding hard work will make you more likely to keep it up. This could mean afterward treating yourself to some screen time, eating a tasty snack, or even using relaxing essential oils to create a calming ambiance.
- Buddy up: Bringing in a friend or family member to help us meet our self-care goals is often a winning strategy, as we’ll have someone to hold us accountable and encourage us when motivation diminishes.
Ultimately, wellness and self-care should make us happier and healthier. Only you know what lifestyle changes can help you to achieve these goals - identify them for yourself and make sure that once you’ve started, you keep up the momentum.
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