Many think about resolutions at this time of year. We often make them, but do not stay interested in or committed to them after a few weeks. How are your resolutions doing today?

In Sanctuary, our trauma-informed care model at Counseling & Recovery, we ask staff and clients to create self-care plans. In 2014, I began to use my personal self-care plan to list goals, commitments and desires for the New Year.

Here is a copy of the plan for you to use:

To maintain physical health I will: (diet, eat healthy, yoga, run/exercise, sports, take my medication, proper diet & sleep, etc.)

To maintain psychological health I will: (therapy, balance, journal, fun activities, identify and manage response to triggers)
My resources and supports to maintain social health: (emotional support from family/colleagues, social activities, kids, pets, etc.)

The moral health components of my plan include: (identify your sense of meaning and purpose, adopt a religious or philosophical outlook, connect with sociopolitical and/or activism)

To maintain a healthy balance professionally, I will: (learn about trauma, vicarious trauma, and its effects, participate in supervision, study or book groups; have hope; take breaks during work day)

Organizational components of my self-care plan will include: (work in teams, create culture to counteract effects of trauma, establish a physical environment that is calm, soothing, safe, have clarity about roles, responsibilities, & expectations, obtain supervisory/management support, be solution-focused, identify and recognize stressors; etc.)

The social/political components of my self-care plan: (have a mission/purpose- become politically & socially engaged; participate/build coalitions; social/political action; transform trauma through arts/music, etc.)

The final and most important piece is my accountability. Who will hold me accountable for these goals?
As I work on 2016, I review 2015 to see where I succeeded and where I need to continue my work. After all, self-care is not a destination but a journey to make each of us the best that we can be.

Integrate self-care plan in daily life

1. Integrate change into your daily calendar

I have a friend who gets up every morning and exercises before she has breakfast or coffee. I’m not that dedicated, but I have integrated exercise into my self-care plan with a goal of three times a week. Do I hit it every week? No, but I do some weeks and that’s more than I achieved before. I celebrate these small victories. I have learned to say no to some things in order to get enough rest and to balance all the components in my life.

2. Set short term and long-term goals with action steps

At the start of 2015, I had 90 pounds to lose. I had the same weight to lose in 2014. In 2015, I lost half of it. The difference was building small, realistic steps into every aspect of my self-care plan. I plan to do the same in 2016. Have I slipped up over the past year? Yes, I have. But, I celebrate the commitments that I’ve kept.

3. Revisit the goals each week and look at how you’ve done

A self-care plan is only good if you use it. If there isn’t much progress, plan smaller steps and ask yourself what needs to change. Build those changes into your plan and daily calendar.

4. Set limits on people or things that drain your energy and sabotage goals

Make sure that energy boosting people and activities have time in your day.

5. What does your best day look like?

Identify what makes it great and include at least one aspect of your best day in every day.

6. Avoid self-criticism

Celebrate your small victories. Watch how you talk about yourself and your setbacks.

Here’s to a 2016 where each of us makes progress toward our best self.