Christmas and Hanukkah have come and gone, the cold weather is settling in for an extended stay, and another calendar year is coming to a close. For some, this is a time of excitement and joy. For others, it can be stressful or even disappointing.
Wherever you are on the spectrum this January, you are likely reflecting on the successes and challenges of 2014 and wondering how to shape 2015 into a productive and fulfilling year.
This month, if you’re conjuring up those New Year’s resolutions, or simply looking for a way to achieve your goals more efficiently, here are 5 tips to keep in mind.
1. Focus on the process, not the result
It’s very common to fixate on an issue in your life, and create a general, overarching goal to help you solve it in the New Year. We tell ourselves, “This year I’ll lose weight,” “this year I’ll get a job,” “this year I will be a more positive person.”
The problem with these big goals, is that sometimes we are so focused on the end result that we’ve forgotten to figure out how to get there and how to know when we’ve arrived. What constitutes a success? Is it 5 pounds lost? Is it saying one nice thing to your neighbor? In order to set a SMART goal, it’s important to make it specific and measurable.
----> Example of a vague goal: I’m going to be healthier in 2015
----> Example of a SMART, specific goal: I’m going to exercise twice a week during the month of January
2. Start small
Feeling motivated in the planning stages of a new goal is easy: we feel ready for change, excited to get started, and we sometimes make lofty resolutions that are difficult to stick to. When this happens, we often end up putting so much energy into holding ourselves to an impossible standard that it is too overwhelming, and we don’t end up achieving what we set out to achieve.
To prevent this, it is best to start small. If you’ve never gone to the gym before, is it reasonable to set out to go every day next year? If you only read two books this year, is it reasonable to attempt to read 50 in 2015?
When setting a reasonable goal, it’s helpful to ask yourself these questions:
A) What progress have I made with this goal in the past?
B) What is a sensible goal to set?
C) Will I be able to do this thing as often as I think I should?
Regardless of your dedication and motivation, sometimes life gets in the way, and it’s nice to have some wiggle room. If, after some time has passed, you find your goal to be too easy or too hard for you, it’s a good idea to reevaluate and adjust your goals accordingly.
----> Example of an unreasonable goal: I’m going to eliminate all unhealthy foods from my diet
----> Example of a reasonable goal: I will only drink soda once a week this month
3. Stay Organized
Keeping track of your progress is essential for success. Websites like HabitRPG can help you to stay on top of your tasks and you can even download custom planners free of charge.
4. Find an Accountability Partner
When left to our own devices, many of us find it difficult to meet the goals we’ve set for ourselves. Whether due to time constraints, lack of motivation, or the feeling that we aren’t strong enough to succeed, our goals are at the mercy of our sometimes unhealthy thought processes.
It’s no secret that doing things together makes them easier, and working towards goals is no different.
Reach out to a friend, a coworker, a family member, the 7 Cups community, or an online accountability partner to:
A) Make your goals known
B) Work towards similar results
C) Share your struggles
D) Receive encouragement and a gentle push when needed
“What I’ve found that helps most isn’t me promising that I’m going to do it and then failing and promising and failing. What really helps is somebody out there asking me ‘how’d you do today?’ or ‘is there anything you need help with?’ and ‘what’s your plan for tomorrow?’”—Linda Roggli
5. Celebrate Successes
Dr. Kristen Neff, a researcher on self-compassion, says this about motivation: “While the motivational power of self-criticism comes from fear of self-punishment, the motivational power of self-compassion comes from the desire to be healthy, to reduce our suffering.”
It is hard, at times, to give credit where it’s due. It’s hard to tell ourselves, “I didn’t meet my goal, but I did make steps towards it.”
This year, I encourage you all to celebrate your successes—no matter how small—of which there are many! Whether it’s folding your laundry instead of leaving it in the basket, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, being kind in the face of adversity, or achieving a major feat you’ve been working towards for quite some time, you are amazing and you do amazing things every single day.
----> Ask yourself, what have I done lately that’s worthy of praise?
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2015,
List of things I hyperlinked:
The holidays are a time when families and friends come together. It is a time of reflection, kindness and being thankful.
But it can also be a challenging time of dealing with judgemental family members and people who "just don't get you." For everyone out there who needs a little encouragement this time of year, this blog post is for you.
The 7 Cups Holiday Dinner Survival Guide:
aka., how to field questions from your jerky (insert appropriate relative here)
1) On a small index card, make a short list of 3 or 4 thing that you are doing and feel comfortable sharing.
2) Recognize that most people prefer to talk about themselves. Just lean on you active listening skills and listen to them :)
3) Fake it to you make it. If you are experiencing some low self-esteem, no worries! Pretend as if you have confidence and are doing great. Judgemental people can smell fear. If you act confident they'll be more likely to leave you alone.
4) Bring a list of 2 or 3 current events with 1 or 2 points for each that you can talk about if something awkward arises. Transition by saying something like: “Good thoughts; on a different note, what do you all think of the Pope saying dogs go to heaven? I think that is great!”
5) Make eye contact and converse directly with people that you like or like you.
6) Try to spend 90% of your time talking with people that you love. <3
5 Open Ended Questions to Ask During The Holidays:
An open-ended question demands a reply with more depth and thought. Open-ended questions are a cornerstone of active listening and can be used to your advantage in a variety of situations, including the holiday dinner table. They are helpful in finding out more about a person or a situation and moving a conversation in a positive direction!
1) What are you thankful for this holiday season?
2) What is your best memory from the last year?
3) Do you have any plans for the new year?
4) Where did you learn [insert topic relevant to person you are talking to]?
5) What is your favorite holiday movie?
Compiled by LauraS
Sending you all a big holiday hug!
We all know that feeling when anxiety begins to creep over us.
The feelings of worry, of not being good enough, and the feeling of overwhelm that washes over us like a tidal wave.
There’s a lot of anxiety triggers out there, and at times it can seem like there just isn’t a way to beat the odds. Let alone get through an entire day without having to worry about what we look like, while we are worrying about what we look like. It can be beyond frustrating. But there are a lot of different creative things we can do to battle the seven headed hydra that anxiety pretends to be.
-------> Here are 5 coping mechanisms and tips I hope you find helpful on your journey to defeating anxiety.
1. A Game Plan
Sometimes we need to have a game plan to know how to win the game. It may take the form of a list of whatever stressors and triggers are in your life or it could take the form of anything else you can imagine. The important thing is to find out what those stressors are so you can work towards strategies to work through them.
2. A Box
The box is important and even fun to make. What you do is put everything that you love in it. Whether it’s snacks, music that keeps you calm, a favorite TV series, a journal, or even a worn out sweater and you put them inside. Whenever anxiety starts to wear away at your edges or just becomes too much. Go get your box and dig in. The important thing is to have fun with it. Get lost in the good times and the anxiety will drift away.
3. A Glitter Jar
I know it sounds weird.
But a jar filled with gooey glitter glue and extra bottles of glitter dumped in can help a ton. Why? It gives you something to focus on and it keeps you mindful of the things that are happening within you. And mindfulness can help you recognize when you are going to have an anxiety attack before it happens. So a glitter jar is a lot more than pretty sparkles floating around. It’s a great way to promote focus and introspection of your emotions.
4. Write Something
Writing is one of the best ways to work through emotions. It can help when having anxiety attacks. Whenever you need to just grab some pages a go. You can write in a journal and vent your feelings away. You can practice positive thought processes and start a gratitude journal. Or you can channel all of those experiences and all of those feelings into a novella and become an author. It’s all up to you.
5. Selfhelp Apps!
There are tons of other things out there that you can do to help you cope with anxiety. If you have a cell phone, there are Apps made specifically to help. iCBT, helps you manage your thoughts and work through them towards positive outcomes. Windy, allows you to just listen to nature for a while and get lost in the sounds of the wind blowing through different landscapes. SAM, is a social network and monitoring tool to manage how you are feeling and to connect with others.
Whatever ideas you choose, I hope you use creativity when battling your anxiety. I hope you experiment and dabble with paints, sling ink, battle monsters, and get lost in an amazing story. You never know what kind of adventure you’ll have. But whatever it is, I hope you make it a good one.
Written by Listener: Remnantshadow