As we end 2017, let’s begin to mentally and emotionally prepare for 2018 and how we want to make it our year.
Let’s process all that 2017 has left us, the heartaches, the losses, the growing pains, the happy, successful moments, the new friendships and new adventures.
Whatever 2017 left you, it’s time to reflect and begin to make plans for 2018.
Here are some questions for moms to ask themselves:
What do you want to do differently in 2018?
What goals do you want to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue?
What trips do you want to take?
What changes do you want (physically and emotionally)?
Have you thought about how to make 2018 your year?
If you experienced some of the things that I did, then you’re definitely ready to move past the darkness and pain.
Yes, the hard times helped me grow and taught me lessons I never fathomed but I’m now in a healthier place and I want to take all of it and make 2018 the year I put my goals into action.
Everyone gets caught up in the hype of “New Year Resolutions.” I know I used to jump on this wagon when I was single. Then I realized none of my resolutions where taking effect. I got too overwhelmed to make anything happen. What was I doing wrong? I remember writing them and putting my intentions out into the universe, yet nothing or very little changed. After many setbacks and failures, I realized my goals where too general. I was not being specific and without consciously knowing it, some of my goals were being sabotaged by my own fear of self-growth, change and inconsistencies.
It’s not difficult to put a plan of action together and set goals that will help you make 2018 your year. The key to anything is consistency and hard work. Our goals need our attention, time and effort. Throughout the years, I’ve learned some successful tips to help achieve my goals. It doesn’t matter if you work full-time, stay-at-home mom, single, or a student (with kids). We all have identities outside of being a mother, there is always something we want to achieve or accomplish.
Here are 5 steps to helping you plan, organize and kick of 2018 with a bang!
VISUALIZE YOUR GOALS.
Where do you want to be in 2018? How do you see yourself in the different crowns you wear (mother, career women, wife, friend)? What are the steps you need to take to achieve your goals? Visualizing your goals helps you with the process of elimination. You begin to visualize more of what your truly want and the passion inside you becomes an ultimate motivator to help you achieve that goal. When we visualize our goals, we are setting an inner drive to achieve that goal. Vision boards can lay out the foundation of what your goals are.
WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN.
When jot down our goals, we are being more specific about what we want to accomplish. We have a more concrete idea as to where we are going to focus our time and effort in order to achieve our goals.
MAKE SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE GOALS.
One lesson I am so thankful I learned as a clinician is to be very specific when making goals. When you make general statements such as, “I am going to lose weight” you make it difficult to stick to a plan that will lead you towards your goal and you leave yourself open for error. So change it around to specific questions like, when will I lose the weight? In the first month or two? How much of it are you going to lose? Will you be happy with a 10-15 pound loss? When goals are measurable, you can track your progress and see what needs to be changed. For example, by 01/30/18 I will lose 10 pounds. In order to meet this goal, I will work out for an hour 5 days a week and increase my intake of water to 5 glasses a day. This goal is specific, measurable and action-oriented. Not only is it easier to work towards this goal but it can also be broken down a step further and you can specify how much you will lose a week to get to your monthly goal. The key here is to be as specific as possible with your goals.
USE PLANNERS, CALENDARS, STICKERS.
Get excited working towards your goals! Use things that help pump your excitement. I’m very big on using fun decorative calendars, planners, colored pens, highlighters, and stickers that help me see my goals, track my progress, from beginning to end. Just like kids get excited with stickers and rewards to reinforce their positive behavior, we also have to motivate ourselves and reinforce the positive work were doing towards our goals. Using a personal planner or calendar helps to focus on those goals.
Just like children learn from being rewarded for positive behavior we also learn to continue to work towards our goal when we’re rewarded. Humans thrive on instant gratification, so why not celebrate what you have set off to accomplish? When you meet a goal, reward yourself but don’t sabotage yourself or your goals. For example, food is used way too commonly as a reward for children and adults alike. So it’s only common that when someone loses weight they think, “great, I am eating a cheeseburger today.”
That mentality will get you back to where you started. Reward yourself with things that will only push you towards your goal even more. For example, “I lost 15 pounds, I am going to go buy 2 new outfits to take on my summer trip that will look great on me and enhance my weight loss.” This will continue to push you towards staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
2018 can be your year to make your dreams happen but please take this piece of advice–– be gentle with yourself always!
Even if you have it all written down, as specific and measurable as possible, we must understand that things happen and we may not have control over that. Attempting to meet goals when not in a good place emotionally, mentally and physically will only be overwhelming and stressful.
If you need to take time to take care of things, address personal issues or care for someone or yourself, don’t stress yourself out or be hard on yourself. Put your goals aside and get back to them when you are ready.
Happy 2018! Make it your year, blaze your path, but most importantly take care of you always!
Feel Empowered. Feel Strong. Feel Validated Mamas.
About the Author: Susana Marquez
I am Susana Marquez, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT105624) and a specialized Maternal Mental Health Clinician. My services include therapy and support groups for mothers suffering from a perinatal mood disorder during pregnancy and/or postpartum. I help mother’s take control of their mental and emotional well being through their darkest and most challenging moments. With empathy and understanding, I help them heal and grow into better versions of themselves while knowing the value within them.