Resolving to count spoons

Ah, resolutions.  Friend or enemy?  Are you a resolution maker, or a person that just says no to the ritual of extreme (and often unrealistic) goal setting and the eventual failure?

New Year’s resolutions can be both helpful and hurtful, depending on how we approach them.  Goals are good things to have, but it’s important not to get caught up in a whirlwind of goals that are too big or too many to work on at one time.  Once the whirlwind stops, we are unceremoniously dumped on the ground, often feeling worse than before we started.

So what’s the key to good goal setting?  Being honest with yourself, choosing realistic options and knowing how many spoons you have.  Yes, I said spoons. But not the ones in your kitchen drawer.

Spoon theory is about determining how much energy or time you have to give to your daily activities and tasks.  Each activity takes a spoon, and you need to make sure you don’t run out before your tasks are complete.  If you are a high energy person, you start out with more spoons that someone who is not. Understanding how many you have available helps you to know where to prioritize so that you don’t run yourself down.  It’s commonly used by people with chronic illness to help them manage their energy, but we can use it even if that is not the case with us.

I think it’s safe to say that just living with the pandemic in daily life uses up a spoon or two for most of us.  Dealing with remote learning for our children or working from home means we are using a lot more spoons just to get through a normal day.  The holidays take plenty of spoons as well, especially this year. Setting up Zoom family meetings, stressing on someone without a mask at the grocery store, keeping track of our own mask, keeping it clean, these things all claim our energy during the day. So when we decide to make a life change for the better, we need to know what we have in our energy reserves, and how to replenish them so that we can succeed.

So how do we replenish our spoons?  We replenish ourselves with rest, relaxation, or by doing something that recharges us, like taking a walk, maybe doing some yoga, or just taking a break. Taking the time you need to re-energize yourself is not doing nothing. It is taking care of yourself.

In the coming weeks, we’ll talk more about goal setting and not putting ourselves into a position to fail.  But for now, take a step back when you can. Settle down with a book or watch that movie you’ve had in your Netflix playlist for months.  Shut off all your devices and just rest, even for a short time.  Resolutions can wait. Gather up those spoons.  

Stressing about finances can use up a lot of spoons as well.  If you would like some help, the counselors at the Center for Financial Resources are happy to help. We can work to help you figure out where you want to be and what path to take to get there.  You can schedule an appointment by calling us at 1-888-258-2227 or by visiting our website at

Image credit: Facebook Marketplace

Written by Sylvia Selgestad, Financial Counselor and Educator

LSS Center for Financial Resources
Consumer Credit Counseling Service | Housing Resources | Sharpen Your Financial Focus| Financial Fitness Education
705 East 41st Street, Suite 100 |Sioux Falls SD 57105-6047
605-330-2700 or 888-258-2227
Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities

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