Goal setting and reflection—two popular topics on the SMARTS blog—often come up around the New Year. How can you incorporate mindfulness practices when reflecting on the past year and setting goals for 2022?
Mindfulness and Goal Setting
When setting goals, it can help to define the what, why, and how of the goal to ensure that you know how to get started. There are a number of frameworks for goal setting (including CANDO goals in SMARTS, Unit 2) that help students set realistic goals that have built-in plans for reaching success.
We often fall short of the high expectations we set for our goals. Taking a mindful approach to goal setting can help us remain calm and not judge ourselves if we don’t reach our goals or if the process takes longer than expected.
Self-Compassion and Fresh Starts
Self-compassion is another key component of successful goal setting. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we must be perfect when we start fresh and that our progress is ruined if we fall back into old habits. Self-compassion means adopting a compassionate view towards oneself in difficult times through self-kindness and mindfulness.
Evidence indicates that the effects of mindfulness and self-compassion positively impact adolescents’ cognitive and affective outcomes. Results from this study support the use of contemplative practices (e.g., yoga and mindfulness) as a strategy to boost adolescents’ emotional regulation processes. Reminding ourselves that mistakes or failures don’t ruin our goals is an important aspect of self-compassion. Students and teachers can use this self-compassion strategy to remind themselves that it is okay to start again anytime.
Make Room for Mindfulness in 2022
The challenges of 2021 have left no one in our global community untouched. How can you enter the New Year in a more mindful and self-compassionate way?
- Caitlin Vanderberg, M.Ed., SMARTS Associate
SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum: smarts-ef.org
Research Institute for Learning and Development: researchild.org