Self-care: A Simple Plan for 2023
It is a truth universally acknowledged that resolutions are made to be broken. They’ve got their brittleness built in. But planning is a little different from making resolutions. It’s got flexibility built in.
We’re not taking vows, we’re just trying to get somewhere. And we already know we’ll have to revise the map at some point, so that won’t be a failure.
Some like to go big with their planning. SMART goals, milestones, deadlines, check-ins. If you’re a planning nerd, you’re probably only reading this for an inspo amuse-bouche. You’re probably looking at your giant progress chart right now. (Are you using stickers or gold stars? I hope so. Science confirms: stickers are very motivating.)
But for those who like to go small, a simple plan can be even more successful.
Here are three ideas for uncomplicated, effective planning:
1. Choose a word of the year. Put that word everywhere and ask yourself how you’ll be true to it today. In 2022, my word was “current” and many days it helped me finish incomplete things, tend to the neglected, and undermine my tendency to put things off until “later.” (By the way, if you’ve been doing a word of the year for a while now, it can be fun to consider them as a string. Maybe they have a story to tell? Or maybe they’ll show you exactly what comes next.)
2. Think about something you love to do, that’s also good for you. And make a plan to do more of that. While you’re doing that thing is a great time to dream up your plan. For example, the very best time for me to plan a vacation is on vacation, when I’m soaking in the benefits. Otherwise I get back to real life and start thinking, “This is OK. I’m OK. I had a vacation last year. Everything is fine.”
3. If there’s something you want to stop, think about a way you can start something new instead. For example, classic weight loss advice involves giving up things you love. But I find it’s better to add things we also love, or could learn to love, and let them crowd the bad choices out. For example, we could make a point to start the day with enough fat and protein. This can have the effect of crowding out some donuts, but without deprivation—or friction. It’s the slow but steady approach. All these ideas are either small or simple—or both. All offer clarity, which a list of a dozen separate goals does not. And all are about moving toward something positive. So much easier on the motivation!
In the comments below, tell us something about your hopes for 2023. And may all your dreams come true!