Are your regular new year’s resolutions bringing on that futile feeling? Consider the following goals for small changes that will make a big impact.
Prioritise self care
“Resolving to take care of our own mental and physical health is not selfish and does not make you weak,” says clinical psychologist Mareli Fischer. “It will prevent burnout and ensure optimal performance and contentedness.” Self-care might look different from person to person. It includes taking time out for hobbies that you love, getting enough sleep, spending time with loved ones and exercising. It also involves going for regular check-ups, eating a healthy and balanced diet and being in tune with what your mind, body and soul needs. “We should all slow down from time to time; have moments of introspection and reflection. In our busy schedules it is necessary to routinely schedule time for self-care activities and rest,” she advises. What does self-care look like for you? Is it more time in the mountains? Fun with family around the camp fire? Figure it out, and do more of it!
Drink more water
The 3 o'clock lull that many people feel at work can be due to dehydration, explains Run/Walk for Life Group Operations Director Ray Bienedell. Drinking an adequate amount of water – eight to 10 glasses every day – can help keep you hydrated. He recommends putting an hour mark for each hour at work on your water bottle (or get a bottle that already has marks) and drink accordingly to try to finish it by lunch, and then fill it up again and finish that by 3 pm. By 5 pm, finish a third bottle. Alternatively, invest in a good fitness watch or activity tracker that can send you reminders when you need to drink.
Learn how to say no
“Get comfortable saying no to things that aren't in line with your priorities – and don't move you closer to your goals,” recommends confidence coach Lisa Welsh. Saying no will give you more freedom... and bags more time and energy to do the things you love!
Welsh gives the following tips for saying ‘no’, without making you cringe too badly:
1. Pause and stall in giving your answer if you need to.
2. Tell the person that you appreciate them thinking of you.
3. Let them know that you are not able to help this time – in a polite but firm way.
4. Try not to overly apologise, explain or lie – you can end up tying yourself in knots.
5. Suggest an alternative.
6. Then, change the subject or end the conversation.
7. Don't be tempted to change your mind because you feel guilty!
Improve your posture
“Bad posture is one of the leading causes of stored tension in the body,” says Body Stress Release practitioner Meg Ringdal. “You want to do everything you can to preserve the natural curve of the spine,” she says. If you’re working on a laptop, she recommends getting a separate keyboard, and making sure the top of your screen is eye level, so that you’re not hunched over all day. Likewise, be mindful of stooping your neck when you’re on your phone, she cautions. When sitting, push your bum as far back in your chair as possible, and use a small cushion to support your lower back, and ensure that your shoulders are stacked over your hips, and your head is over your shoulders. “Practicing good posture now is an investment in the future comfort and wellness of your body,” says Ringdal.
How to smash your goals
Resolutions are not just about the end destination, says Bienedell. “It’s more the journey to get there and how worthwhile resolutions can turn it from a fleeting wish into something imminently doable,” he says. “It’s part motivation, part focus, part seeing the steps to the finish line.”
The S.M.A.R.T. system is used by life coaches and business mentors the world over to break down goals into the smaller steps to help you reach your desired destination. S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Use these five steps to create and achieve your goals.