Do you remember when 2020 sounded so futuristic and would conjure images of flying cars and robots? We are on the cusp of a new decade, and drones and artificial intelligence are now the norm. If you could fast forward 5, 10, or 15 years, what would you want your life to look like? During this month, we often think more about which Frozen or Jojo Siwa toys to buy than going to bed early to get our optimal eight hours of sleep. We obsess about our holiday menu and making the perfect dessert more than getting up early to exercise before work. And we definitely swipe more treats from the office candy jar than focusing on eating for fuel.
And I get it. I have a Christmas list of items to buy, and I want my kiddos to be happy (Julia better love her Princess Anna wig!). I want them to enjoy the Christmas tree, snow, family, and Santa for as long as possible so I can soak up the memories. Plus, Christmas is my birthday, so it’s festive around my house.
Here’s the thing, though. We then push off self-care and goal-setting until the New Year. We make New Year’s Resolutions, but we often ditch them by week three. But it’s not about the new year. It’s about how you show up for yourself today, tomorrow, and next month. If you want to know what your life will look like in 5 years, take a look at today. If you don’t change anything, nothing will change. You have to show up for yourself consistently, and that includes December.
I probably sound like The Grinch right now, but I will take the heat. How about this – I’m not asking you to run a marathon this month or write an entire book, but how about you don’t neglect yourself? Can you commit to my 3-Point Plan for Wellness and make sure you get enough sleep, exercise each day, and eat well? I’m not saying you can’t enjoy holiday food, but indulging should be relegated to a few select days. After all, how do you feel when you overindulge? You likely feel bloated, disappointed in yourself, and your pants are tight. It’s not worth it.
So, for the majority of this month, let’s focus on those three things. You are welcome to grab my free guide BELOW to help you create your own 3-Point Plan for Wellness. Let’s set those three tenets as the baseline for the month, ok? Now that we established that, we can look to the future. Remember, if you don’t change anything, nothing will change.
Sometimes we get so stuck in a rut that we don’t know where to start to improve ourselves. To help you brainstorm to create New Year’s Resolutions or goals, I’ve included a list of the goal domains Michael Hyatt lists in his Full Focus Planner (I just bought my first one in bright red!). I describe a few ideas as a starting point to inspire you to create your own.
Spiritual – Maybe you feel guilty about going to church only on major holidays; maybe you want to increase the frequency you go or develop a nightly praying routine. A friend of mine added devotional work to her morning routine, and you know I feel that all empowerment starts in the morning!
Intellectual – To keep growing as a person, we have to challenge ourselves, right? Duh. This doesn’t mean you have to be obsessed with a topic per se, but you should immerse yourself. For instance, if you are interested in quilting, consider enrolling in a digital course to learn more, listen to podcasts on the subject, read books, etc. Join private Facebook groups about the topic and “meet” people in the field who can teach you about it. Immerse yourself in the subject. Follow your spark – you never know what can come from a little interest; it could blossom into something more.
Emotional – I am a huge supporter of therapy. Unfortunately, for many families, therapy has a negative connotation, but for our self-confidence, self-efficacy, and relationships to be the best they can, sometimes we need a little help if we get stuck. Therapy isn’t meant to be permanent. It’s there if you need it from time to time. I sought counseling when I went through a divorce, when I miscarried, and after I experienced severe post-partum depression.
There is no shame in reaching out for help. Some of my students are embarrassed that they suffer from depression and think something is wrong with them. I tell them that if they had cancer, they would seek treatment, right? We don’t ask for depression or cancer, but sometimes they happen anyway, and we must treat them.
Because I went to therapy, I was able to allow myself to dream about having another child and develop a treatment plan to be proactive about post-partum depression with my second child. If you do go to therapy, you must be willing to do the work and be honest with your counselor. I know that sounds obvious, but sometimes people aren’t upfront with their therapist because they don’t want to “look bad” or the person to think ill of them. Therapy is extremely valuable if you are willing to take the necessary steps to get better.
Physical – I passionately believe that exercise is crucial for mental health. Studies enumerate the physical benefits to exercising, but there is a list of basic ones that we know just from experience: Exercising helps us maintain or lose weight, helps us keep on track with eating well, makes us more productive, gives us more energy, puts us in a good mood, and more. I’m a huge exercise pusher, and you know I’m obsessed with my Peloton spin bike! I officially made this domain about me, but I didn’t mean to.
If you are interested in pursuing goals in the physical domain you could consider running a 5k in 2020, becoming a morning exerciser (I got you covered on this one – The course I’m launching in February will be your guide!), start strength training, join a gym, or grab a friend to exercise with for accountability. Find exercise that you like (yes, it’s possible), and you will be more likely to stick to it!
Mental – Get ready, because I’m about to sound like Debbie Downer. This category is top of mind for me because my precious grandma and four of her siblings had Alzheimer’s. I’ve read that challenging oneself and keeping our thoughts sharp can help decrease the likelihood of Alzheimer’s, so I routinely participate in mini-challenges related to Follow Your Spark goals. The challenges keep my mind engaged and help me develop new twists on goals. Other mental goals could include doing large puzzles, joining an intellectually-based team (like a chess club, which also fits the social category), or journaling.
Financial – One of the most common financial goals people have is to be debt-free. Other goals could include starting an IRA, CD, college fund, shoe fund (hahahahaha, just me?), a vacation account, and more. I’ve heard of some people having savings accounts specifically for vacations and house repairs. To surprise my husband for our 10th anniversary, I opened a private savings account and saved for a year to plan a romantic vacation. #goals If this domain resonates with you, think about what you want your life to look like and how you want to feel. Then work backwards and start creating a plan to reach the financial goal. More on that next week.
Avocational – Avocational goals relate to interests or hobbies outside of your paid job. My long-term goal is to be a full-time writer, speaker, and course creator. For now, that means those categories are considered “avocational.” I write weekly, host a weekly Facebook Live show “Friday Eve Party” (join me! 8:30pm CST for a girls’ night out at home!), and work on my digital course launch for February. What hobbies or avocational interests do you want to create or continue to develop? Do you want to take a class at a community college? Learn about gardening? Teach a class? If this domain resonates with you, make a list of three areas that you want to pursue more.
Vocational – The opposite of avocational, vocational pertains to your paid job. I am a high school counselor. For me, this could mean attending conferences on bullying, touring colleges to help students with post-secondary planning, or participating in webinars. If you are a hair stylist, you could attend industry trade shows or take classes. If you are a baker, you can earn certifications in new areas like pastries or bread making. The sky is the limit! Again, if this domain resonates with you, make a list of three areas that you want to pursue.
Social – Socializing helps us grow, but it can be tough for introverts, if you recently moved, or are at a new job. Making new friends is challenging as adults. Social goals could include joining a book club, participating in an athletic team through your park district, or partnering with your spouse in a bowling league. An easy way to make sure your friends are always on your calendar is to book your next outing before the current one is over. Every year, I go on a summer trip with my two besties. This year, we added a new tradition and will be spending the night in Chicago next weekend. Before we part ways, we will jot our next outing down in our planners.
Parental – This is a big one. We are torn every single day by the 87,000 responsibilities we have, and by the end of the day, sometimes we have less patience for our children. By the time I put my daughter to bed at night, I feel depleted, and I sometimes become more aggravated by her taking 10 minutes to do any one thing (she’s 2; that should explain everything). Is this resonating? Parent goals could include being more patient, helping your kids do more extracurriculars or develop new habits themselves, or to be a better role model in a particular area.
The long list of domains can be overwhelming. I encourage you to pick the top three domains that resonated with you and develop goals in those areas. Take this week to work on what your three domains and goals will be for 2020 (that sounds so Marty McFly, doesn’t it?), and next week, I will teach you HOW to implement them.
I chose avocational, physical, and social for my three. I want my marriage and kids to always be paramount, so I included them both in the social category. Sound off! Which domains resonated with you the most? Don’t overthink it. Go with your gut. Which three interested you right away when you read them? Go with those! Comment below with which areas you chose!
P.S. Helping people develop their ideas is a passion of mine. If you have an interest, but aren’t sure how to pursue it, email me, and I can help!
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