While these sessions are designed with nurse anesthetists and medical professionals in mind, the information, guidance, and resources they provide will benefit almost anyone interested in creating a more healthy and balanced life. We invite you to view any of the talks for free at the link above. In addition to the videos, the AANA has also provided resources for further exploration of the session topics. You can find a full list of upcoming and past sessions on the Support the FRONT website.
From Resolutions to Goals
In his January 4, 2021 session of the AANA/Support the Front Well-being for CRNAs & SRNAs series, Dr. Terry Harman, Ph.D., LCAC, LMHC, LMFT, Program Director at Parkdale Center for Professionals, offered a new way of thinking about New Year Resolutions. Dr. Harman spoke about the reasons so many of us can’t stick with our resolutions and offered suggestions on how to reframe them as smaller, realistic, achievable “goals.” His advice, while timely for the holidays, is valuable all year round. He began by telling us, “The word ‘resolution’ already has this baggage from all the past years, all the times we didn’t keep our resolutions. If we make a bite-sized goal, there’s more of a chance that we can do it.”
Before setting goals, however, Dr. Harman said we must look back with gratitude. 2020 was an incredibly stressful, difficult, and even traumatic year for most people, and it is easy to get fixated on what made us unhappy. However, we can all look back and appreciate the blessings in our lives. Dr. Harman urged us not to focus on our perceived “failures,” but instead on our successes, our relationships, our growth. By taking the time to appreciate our blessings, he said we will be more emotionally open to setting realistic goals for the future.
Set Realistic Goals and Plan for Success
Dr. Harman explained that when we have an area of our life we would like to change, we tend to make overly ambitious promises to ourselves that are difficult to sustain, for example: • I’m going to read 20 books this year. • I’m going to lose 50 pounds this year. • I’m going to stay off social media completely.
He pointed out that these kinds of sweeping changes will be exceedingly difficult to achieve without adequate planning and realistic benchmarks. Instead, Dr. Harman suggested creating smaller, more manageable goals, and realistic plans for how we’re going to reach them. He tells us to write our plans down. Create detailed timelines for reaching our goals. Start gradually with small, easily achievable outcomes. Then, we can and should build on our successes as we change our habits along the way.
“Reframe your choices,” he suggested. If you want to save money, make automatic deposits to your savings account. If you want to eat healthier, put healthier choices in easy reach. If you want to spend more time with friends and family, plan and put those times on your calendar. “It all starts in your head,” he said, “and sooner or later it’ll get in your heart.”.
Dr. Harman also stressed the importance of extending grace to ourselves as we make changes in our lives. He asked us to “have the courage to be imperfect... Be flexible with yourself.” If we don’t meet our goals this week, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up. “Make a plan for how and if you can make it up and move forward. Don’t get stuck on feeling like a ‘failure.’”
He also encourages us to reach out to others for support as we tackle changes in our lives. “The reason why I’ve made it [to more than 40 years of sobriety] is because I allowed myself to ask others for help, and I listened.”
Learn More and Grow
This is simply an overview of Dr. Harman’s inspiring talk. He also covered how smart, driven people can be especially hard on themselves and how to address that when setting our goals. He detailed strategies to help us succeed in meeting our personal goals and leading a full life, even in times of hardship. His endorsement of volunteerism as a means of personal growth is inspiring. To hear more of Dr. Harman’s insights and wisdom about setting realistic, achievable goals, his talk is available in its entirety here.