I n the days after New Year’s Eve, many of us are processing a mix of feelings: euphoria and hope for a new year, resolve to change those ‘bad habits’ that held you back last year — and often, a fresh perspective on who where and where we see ourselves going.
We set goals. But not your friendly neighborhood diner type of goals. No, we set Michelin-star, crème-brûlée-boasting, so-fancy-they-serve-the-salad-with-the-baby-fork restaurant type of goals — aiming for perfection.
We’re going to work on that six pack every day of the week, write a bestselling novel, give up being the ‘always late’ coworker, save 80% of the money we’re making and call that long-distance friend everyday to check in.
While our ambition is one of the many amazing things that makes us human, unfortunately lofty New Year’s resolutions just aren’t sustainable.
When we set unrealistic, binary milestones for ourselves and subsequently struggle to reach them in a short timeframe, we crash and burn.
In fact, USA Today reported that by mid-February, eighty percent of resolutions fail.
There’s an antidote that is 100% within our control: setting goals with self-compassion.
In it’s simplest terms, self-compassion means being kind to ourselves when we feel inadequate or slip up. It’s been proven to lead to higher motivation, greater emotional wellbeing and is linked to less depression, anxiety and stress.
At Shine, we’ve exchanged tens of millions of messages with users — mostly millennial women — who say that they are tired of setting rigid goals and beating themselves up when they don’t hit them.
This year, we (and they) have had enough.
Which is why, we are excited to announce the launch of our campaign and messaging product, #ResolutionRealTalk — helping everyday people set and work on their goals, with compassion.
In addition to the daily Shine Texts, users can now get daily personalized content around an intention they set, track their progress and connect with likeminded Shine users who are working on the same goal. It’s like a wellbeing coach in your pocket that (most importantly) feels like a friend.
Psychologist and researcher, Dr. Kristen Neff, defines self-compassion in three abilities: self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.
Though apps and social platforms can get a bad wrap for making us feel disconnected from ourselves — when leveraged in the right way, technology can 10x each of these three attributes and significantly elevate one’s level of self-compassion.
…is about flipping the script and reserving judgement on ourselves (studies have shown that we are 3 times more likely to feel compassion for a total stranger than ourselves).
Technology’s role: It’s no question. Messaging is our culture’s go-to platform for personal communication (SMS has a 98% open rate and users check messaging apps over 9x per day) and is a private medium that we trust. For that reason, well-crafted, relatable triggers can be highly impactful to remind us to practice compassion when get in our heads. Habitual triggers coupled with tactical intentions help us recognize that we’re doing our best and empathize with ourselves when having an off day.
…is about realizing that we all are imperfect beings.
Recognizing that you’re not alone and that you will doubtlessly hit roadblocks along the way, can empower you to rely on community and support for others in moments of self-criticism. There is a 100% chance that someone else has felt exactly the way you do, whether you’re crushing it or struggling.
Technology’s role: While social media can facilitate community, we tend to show our ‘highlight reel’, only sharing a highly-curated view of our lives. To facilitate self-compassion leveraging technology — users need to feel that they are in a safe space to relate and process what they’re struggling with. This is why we created Community Notes, a feature of the bot that allows users to anonymously discuss their intentions with users who are working on the same intention, over our mobile website.
“Self compassion helps bridge the gap between who we feel we are and who we really are.”
…is about cultivating an awareness. We can’t be kind to ourselves or rely on the power in shared humanity if we don’t recognize when we’re being particularly hard ourselves.
As Dr. Anna Rowley, psychologist and millennial wellbeing expert says, “we can separate ourselves from our negative thinking or feelings of inadequacy. Your boss chews you out for a report she doesn’t like. You have a choice — dwell on what a failure you are or practice mindfulness and acknowledge the feedback and do better next time. By separating ourselves from the emotion — anger, frustration, or self pity — we are available to problem solve.”
Technology’s role: A good mindfulness practice can take many forms — meditation, yoga, long showers, walking to work. The challenge with mindfulness now, is that if you’re not “in the know” about the space (green juicing, meditating every morning, reading New York Time’s Well, watching TED Talks about awe) — you may never recognize a mindfulness practice that can work for your world. Technology, and messaging specifically is a great democratizer. Using SMS and messaging apps that are available globally, we can help break down complex mindfulness concepts with punchy copy and a great technology-driven user experience.
“Self compassion helps bridge the gap between who we feel we are and who we really are,” says Dr. Rowley.
“For most of us our default is to listen to our internal critic not the coach supporting our efforts and aspirations. Technology can remind us we have a coach as well as a critic and technology services like Shine or Headspace can gently and compassionately focus our attention on the ‘better angels of our nature’.
So as we work on our big goals this year, let’s remember to set them with a little compassion — and technology.
Need help setting compassionate goals for 2017? We got you. Just text head to www.ShineText.com to get started!
Originally published at medium.com