You don't have to wait for the new year to set While many people’s goals are focused on their health, there are many other ways to prioritize bettering yourself in the coming year. Setting boundaries, focusing on opportunities for self-growth, and self-acceptance, and prioritizing your own needs are essential to achieving your goals.
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The Importance of Setting Personal Goals
Setting realistic goals for yourself can have several benefits in life. Edward Locke and Gary Latham (1990) are leaders in the goal-setting theory and found that goals affect behavior and job performance while helping to mobilize energy, which leads to an increase in effort. Goals help motivate us, and accomplishing our resolutions can lead to satisfaction and habits.
In 2021, the most popular resolutions people made last year were: exercising more and improving fitness (50 percent), losing weight (48 percent), saving money (44 percent), and improving diet (39 percent). While prioritizing your health each year is incredibly important, you should also prioritize other aspects of your wellbeing. To do so, setting boundaries should be at the top of your list, but instead of trying to achieve a certain number on a scale, consider ways you can also foster your mind and your relationships. According to Locke and Latham, these are the five goal-setting principles that can help improve your chances of success.
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Last year, of those who made a New Year’s resolution, only 75 percent were still successful in keeping up their goals during the first week. By six months, only 46 percent of people who made a resolution were still successful in keeping it. We spoke with several life coaches and health professionals to build a comprehensive list of personal goals to help you become the best version of yourself in 2022.
1. Setting Boundaries
Setting boundaries is imperative to stick to your personal goals, so it’s the perfect place to start. Billy Roberts, Licensed Clinical Therapist and owner of Focused Mind ADHD Counseling, highlights the importance of setting boundaries. He says, “if folks want to become the best version of themselves, then setting clear boundaries in 2022 is key. The primary value of boundaries is that they are an exercise in self-worth. For starters, just setting them demonstrates that a person values their time, emotional well-being, and happiness.
However, setting clear boundaries also yields more time, more emotional well-being, and happiness. Oftentimes folks fall into a habit of people-pleasing and overcommitting, so building the skill of boundary setting can take some effort. However, working on setting boundaries, such as saying no or being clear about one's needs, over a period of time builds it up as a habit. Once a routine is rehearsed enough times, it gets easier, ensuring that 2023's resolution can be a different one.”
Certified Life Coach Virginia Walton echoes these sentiments regarding the importance of boundary setting. She says, “when we talk about setting boundaries, we often think it means saying no to something such as staying late at work. I believe the first boundary we need to set is with ourselves. Making your wellness a priority is part of setting boundaries. If you need 7-8 hours of sleep, you need to make bedtime non-negotiable. If you volunteer with an organization because helping others fuels you, then make sure you have that time on your calendar.”
Self-growth is a broad category for goals, so setting small and manageable intentions for your growth can help you attain this goal. For example, if you want to grow in the following areas: managing worrying thoughts, learning in an area of interest, or focusing on the good things in your life, consider these actions as suggested by Melissa Jones, teacher, international speaker, girl’s empowerment coach, and founder of Girl’s Positivity Club:
- Start by making a small change in your morning routine.
- Listen to a podcast on your topic of interest for 30 minutes on your way to work or as you’re getting ready for the day.
- Jot down five things you are grateful for from the day before, and this will help you shift your focus to having a more positive outlook on your life.
Jones also suggested that if you start a small change and miss a day, don’t beat yourself up for it or throw the new habit out the window. Instead, try squeezing that task in later in the day or pick it back up the following day.
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Self-Acceptance is acknowledging your past mistakes as milestones that grew you into the individual you are today. “Too many clients I see beat themselves up for what they did in the past. The secret is to forgive yourself, understand your key lesson from experience, and move on. Then you are free to experience life to its fullest,” says Elena Mosaner, Certified Coach and Hypnotherapist.
According to Allie Burch, Functional Medicine Nurse Practitioner, and Mind-Body Medicine Health Consultant, “People are always searching for something outside of themselves, but the relationship we have with ourselves is more important than any diet, fast, or detox protocol. Cultivating a mind-body medicine practice such as meditation, yoga, or a gratitude practice has been shown to help us create a deeper connection with ourselves, allowing for more self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-love. Self-acceptance is not only the foundation to healing, but also to creating sustainable health and wellness throughout our lifetime.”
4. Appreciate the Present
Jeff Mains, a five-time entrepreneur, and CEO of Champion Leadership Group LLC, suggests you take a moment to answer this question: how much of your day has been occupied by thoughts of the past or future? “The majority of individuals spend a significant amount of their time worrying about prior talks or agonizing about things that haven't occurred yet. It is my sincere belief that the time-honored principle of being present may support us in attaining better pleasure. Throughout the year, encourage yourself to be thankful for the blessings in your life, take note of the beauty in your surroundings, and enjoy the present moment for what it is.”
5. Improve Your Health
There are several ways that you can prioritize your health. Oftentimes, people think of health as just diet and exercise, but achieving proper health means modifying your lifestyle, not just your number on a scale. Consider the following seven dimensions of wellness:
Improving your health also means prioritizing your mental health, including bettering your emotional well-being and intellect. You can leave your job to begin your dream career or have difficult conversations in the workplace to make the environment more suitable for your health. Understanding your health is not pushing yourself to look a certain way for a photo in the age of social media, but rather adopting healthy and sustainable lifestyle choices. You can take so many additional steps to improve your overall wellness and feel better mentally and physically.
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6. Make Time for Your Hobbies
While you prioritize yourself in 2022, be sure to set aside time for things that bring you enjoyment and make you a unique individual. Andrew Johnson, CEO of Prime Seamless, suggests that for people to become the best versions of themselves, they should thrive on learning new skills and talents. He explains that “people need to explore sides of themselves that they've ignored or kept hidden for a long time. Do you have an interest you wanted to pursue but never had the time? Do it now! Make time for following interests and hobbies this year to let yourself grow and accept your true self.”
7. Better Your Relationships
Bettering and changing relationships may vary significantly from person to person. Across the board, many health and wellness professionals we spoke to emphasized the importance of listening and empathizing with others. Listening is more than just hearing; it requires your undivided attention and putting your schedule and needs aside. Listening helps strengthen relationships and demonstrates attentiveness, caring, and respect.
Romantically, you may want to think about how you can sync up your partner’s love languages with those of yourself. Perhaps they’re attracted to acts of service, but you are someone that gives love by offering words of affirmation. Try to step out of your comfort zone and engage in actions you know they will appreciate. Even though this may seem like a foreign behavior, the benefits of these changes in your relationship can be everlasting.
Setting goals for yourself can seem daunting if you have a new list of tasks that need to be completed each day. If these goals align with the values and achievements you wish to accomplish, hard work and a learning curve are likely to follow. Despite the obstacles you may face in achieving your goals, remember your initial motivations as to why you set these for yourself in the first place. A healthy mindset, habits, boundaries, and prioritization of your values can be the start of a positive chapter in your life and relationships.
If you want to make better financial decisions and take control of your health as part of your goals, consider joining Mira! Members have access to low copays, highly discounted prescriptions, lab testing, and even discounted gym memberships with Mira. Prioritizing your health can save you money later. Sign up today!
Ashley Brooks works in Healthcare Consulting and graduates with her MPH in September of 2022 from George Washington University, but graduated with her B.S. in Health Science from James Madison University in 2019. Ashley has been with Mira since June of 2021 and shares the passion for creating affordable healthcare coverage for all!