Welcome to the Empowerment Module, Part Two!
Welcome to the second part of the Empowerment module and the last module for this course ! This week the focus is on putting the things you have learned into practice, to help you sustain these self-care practices after the course has ended. The format of this week’s module is slightly different, and structured around the task for the week. We’ll be focusing on theory and practice – Head and Hand.
First, you’ll learn about another theory related to empowerment and happiness, the Self-determination Theory. Then we’ll put it into practice by building on the values exercise we did last week.
Let’s start with a bit of theory…
Last module, you did a values affirmation exercise; it helped you to bring into focus some of the things that matter most to you. Orienting our lives around our core values increases our sense of well-being. This module, we’ll expand on this theme a little more, looking at ways of empowering you to put your values into action. Please read and watch the videos in this section before engaging in the activities for this module.
According to self-determination theory, we people have three fundamental psychological needs which underpin our motivation to change and grow. These three needs are autonomy, competence, and social connection. Please watch this brief video explanation of self-determination theory. If you’d like to learn more, I’ve included an article about self-determination and a video interview with one of its creators, Dr. Ed Deci, under ‘Further Resources’.
Identifying values that are important to you, and putting them into action, boosts your intrinsic motivation and enhances the feeling of having meaning and purpose in life, which as we saw in the module on positive psychology, contribute substantially to our sense of well-being and happiness. For our exercise this module, we’ll come up with specific ways of putting our values into action.
Before you embark on the exercise for this week, let’s learn about SMART GOALS:
The activity for this week is about making a doable and sustainable plan for your own self-care. Try to follow these steps:
Step 1. Remember one of the values you chose in the last module, or pick another one from this list. OR pick some of the practices you’ve learned in this course that you’d like to keep doing.
Step 2. To focus on putting that value or intention into action, come up with at least one SMART goal relating to it that you will complete within a week. . Remember the goal must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely (scroll down for some examples). Give yourself permission to have fun with this exercise, and choose something that you will find uplifting and pleasurable. For example, if one of your values is joy, then your smart goal should relate to finding an activity that gives you joy. Remember, a happy brain works better than a stressed or neutral one! Try to remember this if you’re prone to ‘feeling guilty’ for taking time out for yourself. You are just as worthy of happiness and care as anybody else!
Step 3. Make a record of your SMART goals, in a place where you can see them, and check them off as you complete them or at the end of the week. Consider coming up with a reward for yourself if you accomplish your SMART goals (actually, that could be a SMART goal in itself!).
Here are some examples of SMART goals, but choose your own that work for you:
Example 1. Value – gratitude
Goal: on Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week, at the end of the day I will write a gratitude journal where I describe three things that happened to me that day which I am grateful for, and reflect on how they made me feel.
Example 2. Well-being
Goal: One day this week I will go for a walk in the park, and try the mindfulness of five senses exercise. One day this week I will do something that gives me joy- visit my favorite coffee shop, get my favorite drink, and read a book I enjoy for an hour. One day this week I will take an hour to catch up with my friend. Every week day I will do a 5 minute meditation from Insight Timer.
Example 3. Kindness
Goal: By next Friday I will choose three acts of kindness for this list (or come up with my own) and carry them out.
Optional: Share your goals with others. Telling others about your SMART goals might help to keep you on track, and also may be inspiring to others. Consider sharing them with someone and checking in again at the end of the week about your progress. Better still, encourage them to do the same, and be buddies to each other! If you like, you can write down your goals – and support others attaining theirs – in the discussion area below.
Discussion area: SMART goals
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Reflecting Back, and Looking Forward
Congratulations! You have reached the end of this course. As you look back, what are the most helpful or important things you have learned? How might you sustain these things in your life? When you choose your SMART goals, see if you can make ones that integrate them into your life. Remember, change does not usually happen overnight or suddenly, but through many small steps, or ‘micro-habits’. Whatever you choose for your goals, remember that the way to attain them is in small, incremental steps. The video below might help to reinforce what that means. Remember you can continue to access this site as a resource. And take a little time right now to congratulate yourself on your efforts towards self-care. Keep up the great work!