UCFS: New Year's Resolutions and improving your physical, mental health

·2 min read

The start of a new year is often time for celebration, reflection and, of course, resolutions. But what about when you are starting your new year off during a pandemic? As we continue to navigate this pandemic, coping with loss, illness, separation from family and community and anxiety, you may find you don’t want to reach for the traditional New Year’s resolutions of going to the gym, getting more organized or being more productive. To many, the pandemic has changed our views of what is important and where we want to focus our energy.

If you are thinking of setting goals and intentions for 2022, consider something that is meaningful for you. Maybe reflect on where you want to spend your time, who makes you happy, what feels good to you physically and emotionally. This could be finding time to be active in nature, trying a new hobby, or spending time with loved ones and friends.

Margaret Schmidt, LCSW
Margaret Schmidt, LCSW

Meaningful goals could help create intentions that improve your physical and emotional well-being. Let 2022 be a time of healing and recovery, which may mean taking things day by day. Be mindful that a New Year’s resolution could bring pressure to make a decision that would last for an entire year. Also note that it is OK to take time for yourself and whatever goals you set for yourself, even if that means not creating goals.

When establishing a goal, think about the goal being SMART. SMART is an acronym meaning: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound. Research has shown that when goals are written in this manner, they are more likely to be achieved.

Research also tells us that SMART goals written down, versus the “idea” of it, will also be more successfully completed. For example, this year I will try one new recipe a week instead of, "I want to cook more this year." Giving your goal detail and structure often helps people stay on track.

I believe now more than ever we may all need to offer ourselves grace, understanding and flexibility as we start another new year with the COVID-19 pandemic. Have hope in yourself that you can achieve any goal you set your mind to. Goals or New Year’s resolutions are meant to help you grow and be a better you.

Margaret Schmidt is a social worker at United Community & Family Services.

This article originally appeared on The Bulletin: UCFS: New Year's Resolutions and improving your physical, mental health

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