A new year often brings a desire to start fresh, and a greater sense of resolve or hope for meeting one’s goals. Aside from the typical traps we try to avoid, (think: unattainable or unrealistic) here’s an approach to goal setting you may not have considered: compassion.
Setting goals with compassion in mind is about being kind to yourself and providing yourself with the encouragement you need to actually achieve these goals. It is likely no surprise to you to know that people learn and grow best when they are supported, where mistakes are accepted and learned from, and where shame is off the table.
Asking yourself why a particular goal is important to you and how it lines up with your mental well-being is a great place to start in setting goals with compassion. Do you want to prove others wrong, or make a change because it’s unfair to yourself to continue living in this way? When you find your reasoning, remind yourself of this regularly, and be sure to reject motivations that are unhealthy or lack compassion towards yourself.
Then look at the type of plan you are setting, is it gradual or abrupt and/or cold-turkey? Why or why not? Does this goal or plan leave room for lapses in progress? Could you respond to those lapses with acceptance, or a mindset to try again or adjust your expectations? Ultimately, cultivating compassion towards yourself and the reasoning behind your goals is likely to lead you to a more reasonable and palatable plan of action.
For some, cultivating compassion may be a goal in and of itself, with a curiosity or growing understanding of how much grace and support you might really need. Some of us have had experiences in our lives that took away from our ability to be kind, compassionate and forgiving towards ourselves, and if that’s you, you might be struggling with the consequences of that in your daily life. So whether it’s goal setting for any variety of life areas, or exploring whether self-compassion might be missing in your life, we are here to help.
Our therapists are passionate about helping people meet their goals and live life with grace and compassion in replace of what may limit, burden or hold them back.