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Why Your New Year's Goals Don’t Have to be Big!


Staff Stories – I don’t know about you, but every New Year I have always found myself agonising over the fact that I need to set myself some serious and lofty goals. This is definitely something that I’d done from a very young age, but truth be told as rewarding as it was to achieve them it was also quite stressful.

Having been a contemporary dancer as a teenager I enhanced my physical discipline to complement the mental discipline I had developed incredibly early. It was always about perfecting and achieving. I definitely think like most of us, I felt I had something to prove – and to myself most of all.

Many years on, I’ve been thinking about why these personal goals have been so difficult to reach. It has been hard to understand until now, but it was for a reason. It was about being kinder and more accepting of myself. So this is why I am writing this blog article, because I can see now it is actually a positive development and I feel that it’s important to share these thoughts.

As my younger self, bigger more impressive goals were more important. Now, after working on myself and reflecting and growing, I have come to appreciate the simple things in life. For example having a lighter exercise regime (work in progress), having a cup of tea and a chat with someone; most important of all appreciating time with my family and friends with laughter and nourishing food.

If I needed I had shortened my to do list in my personal life and accepted that if I needed a duvet day then that was OK. If I could only speak to one friend a day during lockdown then that was fine too. It wasn’t about pushing myself more and more until I slept for the whole weekend to recover. It was about listening to my body and being kind to me! Allowing myself to have a guilt free rest.

I realised that a small 5 minute goal like painting my toe-nails to make myself feel good, or making time for a hot bath when usually I’d have a shower was actually a win. There was no need to be concerned – I had started to choose to do personal rituals that made the biggest difference to my life.

Now I can see, personal goals are just as important. The reason why I wasn’t achieving the big lofty goals was because I was running out of time to realise it was these smaller ones holding me back. After all, we need to look after ourselves to enjoy good healthy relationships; our relationship with the world and nature can impact on our mental health.

I came across a quote recently which read “Sometimes you don’t get what you want, because you deserve better”. I’ve come to understand how true this really is! I can’t wait for the next chapter in my life, because I can now see the future I want more clearly.

So in a world where we can’t afford to have ill health or feel lonely, let’s look after ourselves so we can live stress free for longer and mould our lives by having those things we love around us. For example like long walks with the dog, being able to do our favourite hobbies and most importantly having time for the people that love us unconditionally around us.

Jo on nature walk

Image credit: © Barbara Antinoro

The Author

Joanne Spiteri

Age UK Thanet – Fundraising Manager 

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