Once the holiday season is over, parents are exhausted. And then before we know it, we have to think about turning the page on a new year. How do you fit one more thing into your schedule? How many times have we all set New Year’s resolutions only to break them before the first thaw?
We all do it, but we still tend to set ourselves up to fail, creating shame and frustration.
We’d like to propose a different approach this year; one that’s a little more gentle and kind. And even though we're already into 2017, you can still do it.
It starts with today. Think broadly: where would you like to be right now? What do you want your work to look like? Your health? Your relationships? How you parent? Ask yourself the big, uncomfortable questions – and forget about the 10 pounds you’ve been trying to lose for the past handful of Januarys.
When you start with right now, you get to evolve into where you want to be instead of setting yourself up to miss an unrealistic goal. Goals are the end result, the final step. It’s good to have them, but they change over time. Think of setting daily intentions versus big goals. It’s time to narrow the focus to small, manageable steps; something you can do every day that will slowly help you evolve and take shape over time.
Let’s say you want to keep up with your children or maybe even join them in a 5K next year. Your small step today may be to download the "Couch to 5K" app to see if that’s even feasible for you to do. The next day, try it out. See what happens. Get curious and be compassionate with yourself. Research shows us that lasting change is not made by beating ourselves up. We make significant change by being kind to ourselves. So, if the 5K app is too much for your joints, you may have to start slower. That’s okay! Start where you are and focus on how you want to feel today, in this moment.
Another way to create change in 2017 is to remember to be flexible. Not just physically flexible, but mentally as well. We tend to think there is one path, one way to that end result, but there are often many paths. Maybe that 5K app isn’t the best fit for you right now. Your small step might be to incorporate yoga at least once a week to keep your muscles long and less prone to injury. Changing where we are right now is much easier than reaching a far off goal. Be compassionate with yourself, be patient and be open to all possibilities.
As you will soon see, these small steps will come together quickly to benefit you in so many other ways – your health, your work and your relationships!
Next, whatever your intention and the resulting small steps turn out to be, write them down and keep them somewhere close so you can review them daily. You’ll want to celebrate small successes along the way by buying new exercise clothes, shoes or a GPS watch to track your time. Make it fun by including others who lift you up. Expect what you would’ve otherwise seen as “failures” and use them as a way to learn about yourself; it’s all an experiment and you can start again now. You are putting this intention for your life out into the universe. The intention is based in love, joy, grace and self-compassion – just like all radical self-care. There is no room for self-deprecation, shame or guilt.
Often times, our resolutions fall flat because we’re skipping the small but important steps and taking a narrow view of what we want. A goal is an end point, the final step. We can’t know what the final step is until we get there. Too much happens on the road of life. What we can explore are our intentions and how we want to live today, and allow ourselves to evolve from there.
This is what we want to take going forward into 2017.
Omaha Integrative Care is launching #IntentionsB4Resolutions campaign to encourage everyone to ditch the resolutions and focus instead on intentions for growth and manifestation. Join in the fun by following OIC on Twitter. Intentions for growth and manifestation will be shared, and we encourage you to share your intentions too!
Julie is a psychotherapist and owner of Omaha Integrative Care. She specializes in working with stress-related conditions, teaching mindfulness and training in learning how to live and work from an integrative perspective. She and her husband, Tom, have two children – ages 10 and 13 – two dogs and two passions – bringing an integrative perspective to health and wellness to as many people as possible and practicing living an integrated life to the best of their abilities.
Wendy is a family nurse practitioner at Omaha Integrative Care specializing in an integrative approach to overall well-being. This involves guiding patients to learn to listen to the cues their bodies are giving them. She and her husband Rich have four children – three of them grown and in their 20s and then one who’s 11 and considers herself the “bonus baby” – one grandchild, two dogs, a cat and a resolve to live their best lives through the chaos while they’re here.