Today, we want to talk about you—about prioritizing YOU.

Sure, when we introduced this month’s series, “Creating Goals to Cultivate Balance” earlier this week, we shared the importance of setting balanced goals; goals that offered improvement and achievement across the five main areas in everyone’s life.

But if we were to offer one caveat to the whole idea of “balanced” goals, it would be this: even as you create goals across every important area of your life, it’s important to prioritize yourself—and the goals that best support your self-care—first. If the scales are tipped more in favor of you above every other life category . . . well, we’d let that one slide.

Because self-care is one of the most important tools in your “life” toolbelt. If you don’t first take care of yourself, how can you take care of anyone or anything else? And let’s be real—you aren’t likely to reach any of your goals if they aren’t first based on what you actually want and if you don’t have the energy to pursue them.

So, how can you set goals that support your self-care? It’s simple, really: have a conversation with yourself. Really tune in to exactly what it is that you want to pursue—or, more importantly, how you want to feel. Once you know that, you can come up with goals that get you back to that good-feeling place again and again.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got a few questions to guide your conversation. Turn to a blank page in your Day Designer and write down your answers to the following questions:

1. What were my favorite moments of last year? What made them so great? How did I feel in those moments?

Go through each of the months of the last year (feel free to pull out your old Day Designer for reference!) and jot down your favorite memories. How did you feel in those moments? Were you happy, grateful, peaceful, excited—or some other incredible feeling altogether? Review these happy moments and compile a list of your favorite feelings from each of them.

2. What habits, actions, and/or experiences would help me feel how I want to feel on a more consistent basis?

Now, imagine you could recreate those feelings. You likely can’t recreate the exact experiences, but if you wanted to feel more happy, grateful, peaceful, excited (or some other feeling) on a regular basis, what habits or experiences would support that? What could you do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis that would get you back to that feeling regularly?

3. Which 1-2 habits, actions, or experiences can I realistically implement in the next three months? Six months? Nine months? Year?

Now that you’ve got a good list of habits to choose from, set some goals to help you reach them throughout the year. What can you do in three months? Or six, or nine, or 12? What habits would you need to incrementally build to make sure you’re taking care of yourself and always coming back to a good-feeling place?

4. What potentially stands in the way of my being able to accomplish these goals and stick to these habits? How can I prepare to overcome those obstacles now?

Okay, so you know the goals you want to reach throughout the year. Now, think proactively: what are the very real life circumstances that might stand in the way of you reaching those goals? Creating a new habit or reaching a new accomplishment is no easy feat—and it simply makes you human if you run into obstacles. Think of what those might be now, and prepare a plan of attack to help yourself move past them.

5. How can I break these goals down into tiny, actionable daily habits that support my self-care?

You know how you want to feel, you know the big goals that will help you get there, and you’ve planned to overcome any obstacles well in advance. Now, let’s make the process of reaching your goals just a little bit easier on you—break them down into tiny, actionable daily habits (or steps towards implementing a new habit) that you can take to help you get there. Don’t overwhelm yourself at the start of the year! This is about feeling good, remember? And each of these steps will set you up for success as you work towards your new goals and towards feeling good in a life you’ve designed.

After all, your ultimate goal is to create habits and experiences that help you feel the way you want to feel on a daily basis. Sure, life can be unexpected and hard sometimes—but if you’ve set goals that prioritize your happiness (or however it is that you most want to feel regularly!), then you’ll be strong and supported enough to handle whatever comes your way!

Next we’ll share a few tips to help you build better relationships with the right goals! Read the next post here.

What goals can you set at the start of this new year to support your self-care? Go through the questions listed above and share some of your answers with us below!

Prioritize yourself on a daily basis with a 2018 daily planner.
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