With a title like “How to set self-care goals and actually achieve them,” I bet you can guess what this post is about! I am a firm believer in using any and every opportunity as a fresh start. Just because it’s not January 1st or the first day of the academic year doesn’t mean it’s too late to care for yourself. You matter and deserve love every day, you hear me? Okay, now that that’s out of the way let’s talk about how to set self-care goals you’ll actually keep.
Have you ever looked at someone’s fabulous life on Instagram and think to yourself, “Wow, she must have more than 24 hours in a day.” Spoiler alert: she doesn’t, honey. It’s alllll about how you spend the time you have. You and I could collectively brainstorm a million and six reasons to avoid setting self-care goals, but if you want to reach a goal, you have to start somewhere.
Everyone is different and lives in different circumstances, so self-care goal setting isn’t formulaic. This is just how I like to think about setting and keeping my self-care goals!
*Disclaimer: I am NOT a licensed therapist or counselor and nothing I say on here should ever be taken as medical advice. If you are ever feeling anxious, hopeless, etc. please tell someone. Asking for help is a sign of bravery, not weakness. Your feelings are valid.*
Tips for achieving self-care goals:
1. Write it down.
Just suck it up and write it down on a piece of paper.
2. Start small (and I mean itsy bitsy teeny weeny).
Sorry for the cliché metaphor, but if you decided that you were going to take up running, you wouldn’t start by running a marathon. Depending on how comfortable you are with running/cardio exercise, you might run for 20 minutes, or you might take a walk around the block. Even baby-steps move you forward. Say it with me: Even baby-steps move you forward.
3. Identify why this is your goal.
Is the motivation coming from a place of passion? Curiosity? Guilt? You might want to start running because you want to challenge yourself to move your body in a new way, or maybe it’s because all the cool kids are doing it and you feel guilty that you’re not. If you take some time to consider the “why” behind your goal, you can either reinforce that motivation, or use it as an opportunity to reevaluate/adjust your goal.
4. Brainstorm how you will achieve your goal
For example: wake up five minutes earlier to fit it in, clear off your desk to make space, plug your phone in a different room. This is where the “how you’re spending your precious time” concept comes into play. Life is about sacrifice and all that crap, but not every sacrifice you make is dramatic. I know personally that getting 5 fewer minutes of sleep in the morning can feel like you’re missing out on an eternity of rest; but imagine using that eternity of five whole minutes to practice deep breathing, doodling/journaling, washing your face. The same goes for plugging in your phone so you can focus on reading a book: set a time during the day that you usually spend scrolling and whip out a paperback.
5. Write it down or tell someone about it.
I put write it down on this list twice. (Partly because science says writing things down helps you retain them better.) I think of writing down my goal as committing to it three times: once in my head, once with my eyes (seeing it written), and once with my hands (the feeling of writing it). Engaging more than one sense helps ground me and center myself on the moment. Telling someone about your goal can be a very personal and vulnerable experience, so I don’t suggest shouting your self-care goals willy-nilly. But, sharing it with someone you trust in your life is a completely different thing.
If you have any suggestions or tips for self-care goal setting, please comment them below!
If you need help brainstorming solid self-care goals check out these nifty guides I made for you!