As I sit here and type I am officially 29 and in the last year of my twenties.
I remember at 9 thinking 10 was so grown up. From birth-9 it was about acquiring knowledge, learning basic life skills, increasing communication and gaining more responsibility. I couldn't wait to be "double digits". I remember feeling like 10 was this major milestone. At 9 I was just a "kid", but 10.....that was going to be different. From 10 to 19 academics and social activities were the driving force in my life, it was about doing well in school, hanging out with friends and gaining more autonomy.
At 19 I remember feeling slightly different about turning 20. When I was 19 turning 20 felt like I was "letting go" of being a teenager and it meant I was "really an adult" (HAH....little did I know). 20 felt like I was entering a new chapter of independence, maturity, and real life decisions. 20 meant "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE?" So here I am 29 years old with a year until I am the big 3-0. I have been thinking about how I want to end my twenties. I am very proud of all I have done in the last 9 years, all of the milestones and accomplishments I have achieved. 20-29 has been about my career, relationships and family, and I am thankful and blessed to have been able to build relationships and share love with others, and help two amazing little humans grow.
With all of this said in the last 29 years I have not always been the kindest to my body and mind. As a clinical social worker I have spent many sessions and groups with clients stressing the importance of self care, healthy lifestyle choices, and fostering passions and hobbies but it's 100% true, it is easier to give advice than take your own. I have taught classes on how to set reasonable goals, take time for yourself, and set boundaries, and in the same day break all these lessons myself. I have on countless occasions told myself "Okay today is the day you make a change", " Today is the day you start exercising", "Today is the day you meditate"....the list goes on. I start...become frustrated...allow my mind to take over, and ultimately give up. I come up with excuses and later feel guilt and anger for allowing myself to not maintain strength. I say all of this because at the end of the day the person who is hurting most is myself.
I would like to end my twenties having accomplished a different set of goals that are focused on self care and self actualization.
So I have a plan.
12 goals for the 12 months leading up to my 30th birthday. Goals are wonderful but useless if they don't have specific intentions with observable outcomes. If I just say my goal is to be healthy it's so vague that I won't be able to measure progress. So I am pulling out my social worker hat and implementing SMART Goals.
What are SMART Goals you ask? Well I will be glad to share that with you!
SMART Goals are:
Specific: They are clear and concrete. Setting a goal like" Get in Shape" is broad, something specific may be " I am going to exercise"
Measurable: It needs to have some type of quantitative property. So if my goal is "I am going to exercise" to make it measurable maybe I will say ' I am going to exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes a session".
Attainable: It needs to be something you can accomplish. So if I am not someone who exercises regularly saying " I am going to run a marathon in 30 days" is likely not going to happen. Alternatively, recognizing realistic time frames based on my needs, skill set, and availability is important.
Relevant: Does the goal make sense for me, is it personal to me, important to me, and reasonable for my life and needs. Picking a goal that is not pertinent or realistic for my lifestyle will not create favorable outcomes.
Time Based: This is a big one. I need to set limits, start dates, end dates/expectations in which the goal will be measured on. This helps create motivation to achieve the goal.
I have spent the last month thinking about what is important to me and what I would like to focus on in the next year. I have laid out several intentions that I would like to work on and plan to implement a new one each month. My hope is the reasonable and realistic goal I set for myself will help me maintain these aspirations past the initial month. I want to implement these changes with the hopes of creating a lifestyle change overall not just 30 days of being consistent. While I have several goals in mine I am choosing to only focus on one at a time. I imagine things may change in a few months and something new may arise that is important to me that I would like to implement/work on.
Self Care is hard. We really only have ourselves to rely on to stay motivated. If I don't do something one day I am the only one who knows and I am the only one that can push myself and hold myself to being consistent. I know I will not be perfect. I know some days I may not achieve the specified intention, but that is okay. The biggest thing I can do is not allow one day, or even one moment to decide I am not going to keep trying.
So here goes month one. My intentions are to follow up monthly on my progress and the goal for the month prior. So I will end this post with this quote:
"Re-Set, Re-Adjust, Re-Start, Re-Focus....As many times as you need to."